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Plymouth Drumline Earns State Runner-Up Title

March 19, 2014


On Saturday, March 15th, the Plymouth High School Band Department sent their Winter Drumline competition ensemble to the Indiana Percussion Association’s State Prelims event held at Avon High School.

After a season of losing a tremendous amount of rehearsal time due to weather issues and school cancellations, the drumline still managed to end their regular season competitions ranked as the number one group in the state.   The privilege for being ranked at the top earned the group the opportunity to perform last at the state competition.

This season, the drumline’s show was titled “Stage 5” and based on the fifth cycle of REM sleep in which the body can dream or have nightmares.  The show is designed with all props and costuming having an absence of color to highlight the theory that humans dream in black and white.  The show featured unique costumes designed to enhance the theme of nightmares.

Drumline section leader and sophomore member of the ensemble Will Houser commented, “at the beginning of the season, we were faced with a huge obstacle to overcome.  We had to completely train a whole new drumline from the ground up.  As the season went on and people were getting the hang of marching and playing, we realized we really had something going this season and that feeling was just amplified after we won the Warsaw competition.”

Another student leader in the program, sophomore Sarah Tanner, also spoke of her experiences from the season.  “The majority of us were first year members who had never marched or played these instruments before.  On top of that, many of our rehearsals were cancelled due to bad weather.  Although this could have held us back, we worked as a team.  With dedication and perseverance we came out on top and finished the season placing second in our class.   We made history this marching band season and now we did it again during drumline season!”

After winning the Warsaw competition the weekend before the state prelims, the IPA seated Plymouth as the number one ranked group allowing the drumline to perform last at the preliminary event.

At the state prelims, ten state finalists were chosen to move into the evening championship event.  Plymouth narrowly missed winning the prelims event and placed second.  “The top two groups were far above the other eight finalists.  Plymouth fell only two tenths of a point behind first place.  We were so close and knew that the championship was going to come down to whichever school had the best performance that evening,” said band director Bryan Ames.  “We went into the championship performance with the attitude that we were going to walk off the floor having given it our absolute best shot.  We told the kids to focus on beating themselves, and not the competition.  We had to make sure that each student gave their personal best performance of the season.”

At the championship event, all state finalists are announced in ranking order, but the top three schools receive medals in gold, silver or bronze to distinguish those groups as a “medalist” ensemble.   “Plymouth has never been a medalist in this activity.  So, when they announced fourth place and our name had not been called, we knew we had just made history for our program.  Unfortunately, we fell just short of winning the championship, but we were more than excited to be announced as the state champion runner-up and silver medalist.   I couldn’t be more proud of these kids and how far they progressed as a team from the beginning of the season.   They were a great group to work with and their dedication to their team will make them stronger when they return for the fall marching season!”

Staff members for the ensemble included:   Bryan Ames, director.  Kent Arnsbarger, percussion instructor, and Patrick Gouverneur, percussion instructor.

Student performers included:   Snares:  Will Houser and Tyler Petzke.  Tenors:  Brandon Knepper and Patrick Houser.  Bass drums:  Josh Hildebrand, Sophia Smith, Shawnee Buchert, Gabe Celmer, and Jared Thieling.  Cymbals:  Isaias Frias, Leticia Torres, Jessica Beagle, Eric Burch, and Kevin Bachman. Front ensemble:  Sarah Tanner, Austin Dixon, Anthony Boener, Allie Tharp, Autumn Wilson, Caleb Isom, Callie Burch, Claire Peters, Ivy Johnson, Bee Yongkul, Justin Russell, Taylor Scott, and Seth Grimmett.  Auxiliary performers:  Ira Tillman, Jessica Celmer, and Colleen Scarborough.

Summing up the season and her senior year, cymbal line leader Jessica Beagle said, “We worked so hard this year and it all paid off!  We made history this fall with the marching band, and now we did it again with our drumline show.  It just felt incredible.”

Congratulations to the all of the students and staff involved in this record-breaking season.