Percussion Scores Fourth Place in Competition

Percussion competes in their very first percussion-only competition at Timberland


Photo submitted by Zachary Geisler

Percussion warms up before competition at TImberland High School.

Anumitha Vaka, Reporter

Band’s percussion students rose to the occasion taking fourth place at their very first percussion-only competition on Aug. 27 at Timberland High School. They competed against other percussion groups in the district and across the state. In total, the group of students who participated in the competition consisted of 12 members. 

The event itself was separated into different divisions in which different schools competed in. They performed movement 1 of “Pandora’s Box” for the competition which they performed at the football game on Aug. 26. The competition consisted of a clinic where they performed in front of a judge who then gave them critiques. From there, there was the actual performance on the field, once again in front of judges. 

Percussion bass players practice at Liberty. (Photo submitted by Zachary Geisler)

While practicing for the competition, they were helped by their band directors and drum tech.

“They helped us know if we weren’t getting it, they would make sure we know what we are doing,” Jared Houston, a junior, who plays third bass explained. “Also if we needed to go over certain parts of the piece we would do it. As they always tell us, ‘we love reps.’”

Logan Gannon, a sophomore who plays the snare drum when asked the same question answered, “Our drum tech Jayden Jaeger, he’s taught everything we know and basically helped us this whole entire journey since last year.” 

When asked about their initial impressions when finding out that Liberty was selected to compete in its first percussion-only band competition, many expressed feelings of excitement, enthusiasm and nerves.

Sophomore Helayna Hobbs plays the tenor (quads) said she was a little nervous but mostly excited.

“I’ve haven’t seen any other drum lines before,” Hobbs said. “If I see them, it’s at a band competition and we’re usually busy or I just can’t hear or see them over the band. So it was nice to get to see them. But it was also a little nerve racking to know that everyone there was also percussion so they would know what they are talking about.”

Freshman Zachary Geisler who plays the marimba answered, “I thought it seemed really cool because it was just percussion so we would be able to compare to other percussion groups and we would be able to see how good we were.”   

This competition had a lot of significance to Liberty’s band, but it had an even bigger impact on the percussion players themselves. Houston expressed the importance of the event.

“I feel like our way, we percussion in particular work really hard so we can be able to get it right. Actually recently we have been doing full rehearsals with the full band but the percussion would have to come in a couple hours early. So I think it felt really nice that we got our own competition,” Houston said.

When also asked about the importance of the event, Geisler commented, “I feel like it’s important because then percussion can learn their stuff and they have their own judges. So then we know what we need to work on in the future to play with the whole band together and in future competitions.”

Liberty percussion group practicing their piece for the competition. (Photo submitted by Zachary Geisler)

Percussion is usually overlooked and under-appreciated. 

“You know people like to say a lot about percussion, but if I’m honest with you we have the most rehearsals and we work the most,” Gannon said. “So I think it’s fun when we get to show what we’ve been doing and not have the band be the main part.”

Hobbs talked about how rewarding it felt to get to participate in a percussion-only competition.

“I try to practice like two hours a day and that also counts being in band so that one hour in the morning. So we get up early in the morning to practice marching and stuff, and sometimes there’s another practice after school. So it is rewarding very much because it feels like the drumline gets a little underplayed when the rest of the band is there. As we are outnumbered so it’s only natural. So it was very nice getting to have our own little thing,” Hobbs explained. 

Along with Liberty, many other schools like Timberland, North Point, Marquette, and many other school’s drum lines performed. All of this added to the unique experience for Liberty’s percussion group. Gannon talked about his appreciation for the experience.

“It was very fun,” he said. “A lot of them were very skilled because we are a newer school compared to them and they have a little bit more under their belt. So it was nice seeing some really good players.”

In the end, the group finished fourth place in their division. “It shows that we are improving little by little,” Houston explained. 

Hobbs was a little disappointed with their finish. “I thought we did well but it’s just the beginning of the season. I’m sure there will be other competitions so I’m also excited for later because I hope we do a lot better.”