After spring break, while many students returned to school, Arcadia Percussion brought home the bronze in the prestigious WGI (Winter Guard International) Percussion World Championships on April 14 to 16 in Dayton, Ohio.
Arcadia Percussion consists of three groups – A-line, Open Line, and World Line. These past months, they competed in the Southern California Percussion Alliance against local groups, winning accolades and building up ranking. They managed to rank in the top 15 in the nation, qualifying them to the WGI Championships to close off the season.
However, such an achievement only came with hard work and dedication, practicing three to four times per week in order to fully master their indoor season. Practices took place after school and occasionally weekends, with sessions lasting up to 9 p.m. Indeed, Percussion is notorious for its long rehearsals.
Despite the long hours, “I really enjoy this program,” said World Line member senior Ethan Chen. “Because it does not only just teach me musicianship, but also work ethic, organization, responsibility, and other life skills.”
Similarly, current World Line member senior Jessica Repko states that the whole crew has “been working hard to load, prepare and compete in the future, to prepare for Dayton, Ohio and the culmination of such has proved to be grand as to the main scheme of the entirety.”
For the championships, Arcadia Percussion performed an indoor performance titled “The Dream.” Percussion season, as opposed to marching band percussion, takes place mainly indoors, which allows percussion to be more fluid, bringing together exemplary percussive and musical skills in a show that demonstrates all 30 to 40 members. Similarly, the indoor season focuses more on the front ensemble, also known as the Pit, and the marching drummers, also known as the Battery .
The concept behind The Dream is rather abstract.
“I think it’s basically a mother telling a story about an astronaut mixed in with the child’s imagination of becoming an astronaut,” said World Line member senior Selena Chow, but she noted how even for the members themselves, the message is up to interpretation.
Regardless of the message, the competition was huge, composed of prelims, semifinals, and finals.
“Prelims is more for getting a feel of the arena and preparing for finals,” said Chow, but even then, it did not prepare them for a full stadium, loud cheers, and multiple cameras that documented their performance on TV.
“There were like thousands of people in there,” she said.
Chen recounts his experience as they “announced Arcadia as the Bronze Medalists, they were all ecstatic and appreciative of all the staff members” who brought them to the elevated prize medal that they won. He states that despite their win, they are all very grateful and appreciative, as none expected the win to happen.
Ultimately, by winning bronze, Arcadia Percussion now ranks 3rd in the nation. But even more than that, this is the first time Arcadia has won medals on the national level in at least five years and the second time in Arcadia High history.
Medal or no medal, win or loss, “we had a fantastic last performance,” said Repko, “and I am incredibly proud of the hard work each and every one of us put in.”