Percussion keeps its beat as the season winds down


Photo courtesy of Joslynne Blasdel

Percussion Ensemble placed first in the Concert World Division at the Western States Championships on March 22.

After winning the WGI western championship on March 22, the percussionists’ had to face one last competition on April 4 before the group part ways for the year. The group’s final competition involves many sentimental feelings, knowing that half of the members are seniors and will not be here next year.

One can distinguish their performance from other musical performances not only by the punchy and bouncy music they produce but also by the way they move in sync. They sway their bodies and bob their heads back and forth together to help each other hit the notes on time and to keep the dynamic of the music consistent within the group.

They took home second place in their last competition at California State University, San Bernardino. The group members said they felt bittersweet about the season ending. According to the members, they have a lot of weekend rehearsals and each usually lasts over nine hours.

“We’re pretty much together 24/7,” junior Chihiro Ichikawa said. “We always go out and have lunch and dinner together.”

Senior Carolyn Ho proudly admits that she spends more time with the group than she does completing homework.

“We have a very close relationship with each other,” Ho said. “It’s much like a family.”

“Everyone is really welcoming and it was really easy for me to adapt to high school because of them,” freshman Jenna Jang gratefully said.

Despite winning various competitions and setting a record-breaking score of 99.6 in 2012 in the Southern California Percussion Alliance world championship, members agree that Woodbridge percussion ensemble is getting underwhelming attention from the students. Some students confuse percussion ensemble players with the percussionists in symphonic band and wind ensemble.

“The percussion ensemble is a lot more detailed in hitting the notes exactly at the same time, and it requires a lot of movement and pulsing for the players, and there is generally far greater sound being produced,” junior Ryan Kamkar explained.

“I think people should acknowledge percussion more,” Jang added. “[The other members] work so hard, and we put so much of time into it.”

After this final rehearsal, the percussionists can choose a solo and work on it weekly in private lessons with Woodbridge percussion alumni. Others can also practice smaller chamber pieces for one final concert on May 5 in the theater.