Percussion ensemble breaks out of its box at show

Apr 14, 2018

Dartmouth High’s indoor percussion ensemble is stepping out of the box as members prep for its biggest performance of the year.

But before that, the ensemble showed off its Outside the Box show at the annual Percussion Night performances on April 13.

This year’s show is set inside a model toy store, with dancers taking on the roles of dolls that spring to life after hours. The show starts off with a young girl sampling the “toys” – costumed dancers and band members standing motionless inside their “boxes.”

But everything changes when the toy store closes, as the performers spring to life.

“It’s creepy at first as they become alive and are able to move,” said dancer Valrie Paynton, noting at the beginning of the show the performers’ movements are animated and toy-like.

As the show goes on, familiar toy brands like Barbie and Ken take to the stage, but the show takes an unexpected turn as the Joker starts making trouble, meaning Batman has to come out and save the day. That doesn’t happen, however, as before the two adversaries battle, the store re-opens and the toys go back to lifelessness.

“It’s sort of suspense,” said Nick Pineau, who played Batman. “It keeps the audience guessing.”

It was the idea of Darcie Aungst, who said the show is meant to symbolize breaking out of one’s shell.

“It was inspired by a song [Viceology by Kaneholler] I heard in the car,” Aungst said. “It sounded to me like dolls coming to life.”

It’s the final performance of Out of the Box before the ensemble heads to Dayton, Ohio for the Winter Guard International Percussion World Championships from April 19-21.

“It’s a little hectic but we’re excited,” Paynton said.

The Night of Percussion also included performances by middle and high school ensembles, soloists, and duets. Students performed everything from classics to tunes from Super Mario 64.

Pablo Medeiros, Luke Canniff, Charlie Fairfax, and Aaron Monast were among the members of the select percussion ensemble who performed classical music alongside their high school peers.

“It’s fun playing alongside our older peers,” Fairfax said.