Winter percussion rises in rank

Photo courtesy of Noah Schaffer // Westhill's winter percussion ensemble participated in two competitions recently and placed highly in both.

Westhill’s Winter Percussion Ensemble participated in two competitions in the past few weeks and placed very highly in both.  The band headed up to Norwalk on March 5, to compete against Newtown, New Milford, and Stamford High. After practicing hard prior to the competition, all 43 members were looking forward to going out and impressing the judges as well as the crowd.

Their show this year is “The Athlete.”  Their show is broken into three main movements.  The first movement is music that symbolizes training.  The second is a ballad section, which is a bit slower.  It is intended to represent the pep talk from a coach.  The third movement represents playing in a game.  Throughout the show, the band continuously marches and their movements go along with the theme of each section.

In a recent competition, Westhill’s team ended up with the highest score amongst the high schools.  It was quite a showing and the percussion members really seemed to enjoy themselves and were proud of how the team came together. Noah Schaffer (’18), who plays the snare drum, thought that the energy of the crowd helped push the band to play at a very high level.  He said, “It was extremely high energy, and the crowd came alive, which really made a difference in how we performed.  It was the best performance we’ve had so far.”

The band’s first show in March was a great success and built confidence as they prepared to host a competition the following week.  The event was sponsored by U.S. Bands, and the same schools from the previous meet came out to participate.  Westhill did not actually compete against the other schools; traditionally the team that hosts the competition only performs an exhibition.  Again, the band came out with a lot of energy and put on another terrific performance.  They received a score of 89, which would have once again been the highest school amongst the schools had they actually been competing.

Senior captain Carolyn Houtz (’16) was overall very pleased with how well the band has been doing recently.  She said, “The band is doing great this season, we’ve gotten first in most of the competitions so far since we have a lot of members who truly want to be on winter percussion and work hard to get better everyday.  The band is really strong and experienced which makes the whole experience more fun, successful, and challenging.”

The percussion ensemble is looking to carry their momentum through April and towards a national competition in Dayton, Ohio after spring break.