Union County High School will host an indoor percussion and color guard competition on Feb. 12, which will be sponsored by the Carolina Indoor Performance Association (CIPA). UCHS assistant band director Travis Waters – who has six years of experience with CIPA – says this is the first competition of its kind to take place in Union.
“This is something a lot of people in Union have rarely experienced,” Waters said. “It’s hard work but well worth it. We’re looking forward to a really exciting experience.”
This is Union’s fourth year of competition through CIPA. Competitions are held throughout the year, leading up to the championships. In 2009 and 2010, Union groups won silver medals at the championship competitions, which were held at Western Carolina University.
As of Friday, 42 groups have entered the competition, which will take place in the UCHS gym. Groups will be given 4-6 minutes for performance and two minutes for setup. Each group will have props and a mat displaying a design fitting the theme of its particular show.
Three groups from UCHS – JV guard, varsity guard and percussion – will compete. Blake Fowler – a Union senior who will play snare drum and djembe in the competition – says he has enjoyed participating in indoor percussion since his freshman year.
“It’s a lot faster than marching band,” Fowler said, adding that he finds the indoor group more exciting. “You get to play a whole lot more, and you get to practice more because it’s indoors.”
Fowler also said the group combines his two favorite high school activities.
“We put theatre and music together, and that’s what I like about it because I’m involved in both of those.”
The Union group’s show is called “Four,” and will feature all instruments such as snares, tenors, marimbas, metallic instruments and synthesizers in groups of four.
“It starts with a series of four notes and leads to another series of four notes,” Fowler said. “Through the entire show, you can hear something in fours going on. And our mat also has a large ‘4’ on it.”
Percussion groups will be judged by a panel of three judges while winter guard groups will be judged by a panel of six. Winter guard will include flag teams and rifle teams performing to pre-recorded music. All groups will receive a CD of comments recorded by judges during their performances.
Some groups performing will not be associated with any school. These independent groups are formed by an open-audition process and made of performers who are 22 years of age or younger.
“A lot of these students are college students who have marched in drum corps or marching band students who want to keep refining their skills during the off season,” said UCHS band director Buddy Wilkes. “They are really entertaining to watch.”
CIPA works hand-in-hand with Winter Guard International (WGI), which sponsors competitions on a national level. Union students will compete in their first WGI regional competition in Chattanooga, TN in March.
For more information about CIPA, visit www.cipaonline.org, and for more information about WGI, visit www.wgi.org.