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Band Indoor Programs Defy Expectations
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Band Indoor Programs Defy Expectations

The Notre Dame College Band ended its 2012 indoor season in grand style. Both the indoor colorguard and the indoor percussion ensemble defied expectations and finished the season with championship performances.

Both groups competed in the Mid-East Performance Association (MEPA) Championships at the Nutter Center of Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio, during the weekend of March 31. They traveled there after a successful Friday night performance for friends and family at the Murphy Gymnasium in NDC’s Keller Center. Both ensembles enjoyed their best performances to date. The percussion ensemble and its production “UnPlugged” won gold with a score of 89.00; the colorguard and its program “There is Always…” earned the silver medal with a score of 75.70. Both units left Dayton ready for two more weeks of practice in preparation for the next round of championships.

The Indoor Colorguard
The Indoor Colorguard performs "There is Always..."

After Easter weekend, both units competed in the Winter Guard International (WGI) Championships in Dayton. Held over two weekends, the WGI Championships represent the culmination of various national and international competitions throughout the winter. Hundreds of units descend upon Dayton annually to participate in the largest and only international competition for indoor pageantry in the marching arts. Performing units hail from all over the United States, Europe and Japan. Performance at the WGI Championships is seen as the pinnacle of achievement in the indoor marching arts.

The WGI Colorguard Championships were held from April 12 to April 14 throughout multiple venues in Dayton. The Notre Dame College Indoor Colorguard participated for the first time. It exceeded expectations scoring a 74.70 and besting over 10 other colorguards in their preliminary round of competition.

“The performance was the best to date and an amazing testament to the effort, energy, and perseverance of the 2012 NDCICG members and staff,” Director of Bands William Neater said. “The performance of ‘There is Always…’ touched the hearts of the crowd and the judging community. We have set ourselves up for success in upcoming seasons.”

Having performed in the WGI preliminary rounds in 2011, the NDC Indoor Percussion Ensemble prepared for the 2012 championships on the weekend of April 19 with a sense of determination, especially after its gold medal appearance at MEPA Championships.

Last year, the ensemble had narrowly missed the finals by a slim margin of 2.5 points. This season, the ensemble was declared the WGI Percussion Dayton Regional Independent A Class Champion in February. For the WGI Championships, it learned an entirely new ending, changed props and integrated new roles for performers into its final presentation of “UnPlugged.”

The NDC Indoor Percussion Ensemble scored an 88.475, placing fourth out of 13 ensembles, earning the eighth seed in the coveted Friday night “A” Class Finals.

Following 30 hours of intense preparation between prelims and finals, including rehearsing in a Sam’s Club parking lot and an indoor soccer facility, the ensemble arrived at the University of Dayton Arena for its first performance at the WGI Finals. In front of the largest crowd of the season, the NDC students had an emotionally charged performance. Defying expectations, Notre Dame’s indoor percussion ensemble tied for fourth place overall with a season high score of 89.125.

Both ensembles put a tremendous amount of work and effort into their performances throughout the season, each putting in between 20 to 30 hours of rehearsal time every week since the beginning of December.

“It is difficult to put into words the appreciation and respect that I have for these young performers,” Neater said. “Both groups defied expectations and the individuals therein represent the absolute very best that this institution and the marching arts have to offer.”

The NDC Band Indoor Programs represent an outgrowth of the burgeoning Department of Bands. Both ensembles are comprised of members from Notre Dame College and members from the community/region that successfully audition for the ensembles. Members in the 2012 programs came from Akron to Ashtabula and everywhere in-between. The staff and membership look forward to positively impacting the marching arts in the Northeast Ohio Region as they continue to offer educational, challenging and rewarding experiences for performers.

“The 2012 season was exciting, emotional, and amazing,” Neater said. “I can’t wait to begin planning the next offering of the NDC Band Indoor Programs.”

This is what some of the students had to say about the season:

NDC Student Breana Comer (NDIPE):

"You could see our family like chemistry on the floor as well as off the floor. NDIPE means family."

NDC Student Dylan Brown (NDIPE):

"The end of the season was probably one of the most difficult parts of the season to face, and I'm not just talking about WGI. Having to close the book on this season was just a depressing feeling. This group of people, some I knew before, some were complete strangers, are now like family to me. Throughout this season I have gained so many memories and life experiences that nothing can take away from me."

Kent High School Student Sarah Wilkinson (NDCICG):

"I have made friendships that I would never have created outside this program. I got to know everyone for who they are and I would never give this program or these people up. It’s a once-in-a-life-time chance, and I'm glad I found it."

NDC Student Abbie King (NDCICG):

"Without this season of winter guard that my life would be very different. It was the one thing in my life that I could count on, and that was because of the people involved. I loved everyone I had the chance to create relationships with. I know that even though it was a rough season, it was definitely worth it. The best part was being able to see Aimachi from Japan perform and being a part of the WGI family. It was an amazing experience!"

West Geauga High School Student Cameron Starrett (NDIPE):

"Someone like me, who thought he could play, march and all that, got here and got my mind blown by the techs and fellow marchers who helped me reach my full potential this season. You guys taught me everything I know. I am not quite yet an NDIPE success story, but you guys have given me EVERYTHING I need to know to become one."