Drumroll, please: Indoor percussion snares semifinals spot at virtual competition

This article appeared in the Dartmouth Week by Kate Robinson – editor@dartmouthweek.net – Mar 7, 2021 . To view the original article, please click here.

Dartmouth High School indoor percussion performing “The Web”

Dartmouth High School indoor percussion performance 2

Dartmouth High School’s gym — home to sports victories and defeats, and even the last town-run Covid vaccine clinics — rang out on Sunday afternoon to rolling drums and crashing cymbals.

The winter indoor percussion season is in full swing, and Dartmouth’s world-class group has already made it to the semifinals to compete against six other schools in their division from across the US.

“These kids look like professionals,” noted percussion instructor and Assistant Band Director Tom Aungst. “They’re highly motivated — that’s the most impressive thing.”

Although the band normally travels to compete before massive audiences in stadiums all over the country, this year everything is a little bit different, with tournaments held virtually.

The percussion ensemble tapes their performances to send to competitions at the national and international level in three different circuits, including one based in the Netherlands.

So far they’ve made it to the semifinals of the Winter Guard International competition.

On March 7, the kids were taping a performance of “The Web,” a spider- and technology-filled show with sparkly costumes and glimmering lights, for a US Bands competition that sees more than 500 ensembles competing across 20 states.

Show Coordinator Darcie Aungst explained the theme as a double entendre.

“I just thought it would be cool, that play on the web — it’s the interweb, and also a spider’s web. You get kind of stuck to both,” she noted. “Like getting addicted to your phones…It’s very relevant now, I think.”

Aside from the empty stands, Tom said that not much else has changed.

“Basically, we’re doing exactly what we normally would do,” he said. “Except we’re not performing in person, and we’re not going anywhere. Everything is virtual.”

Students all wear masks and maintain social distancing during practices and performances, and they seem to have adapted well to safety precautions and other Covid-related issues.

“It’s going better than I thought it would,” said the percussion instructor. “We’ve had kids in and out because of Covid, but we just kept going. Kept focused.”

“We’re getting better each week,” he added. “It’s a good group. Really talented!”

Results from the semifinal rounds are expected by April 10, when the group will learn if it has moved on to the finals.

With virtual concerts, DHS band proves the show can go on

This article appeared in the Dartmouth Week on September 20, 2020, by Christopher Shea. To view the original article, please click here.

Despite the postponement of Dartmouth football to February, Memorial Stadium is once again in-use. 

This weekend saw the first two socially distanced shows put on by Dartmouth High’s marching band as part of its fall season of virtual concerts. 

“It’s great to be able to do something like this,” percussion director Tom Aungst said. “The kids were really excited about the season.”

To prepare, the band has been having regular rehearsals via Zoom, Google classroom, and — in since August — in person.

The band is taking many physical precautions when it comes to Covid-19 safety. Students remain socially distant — six feet apart for regular instruments, and thirteen feet for wind instruments — and masks are required for all except those who need their breath to play.

“Six feet is pretty normal distancing for the drumline,” band director Ian Flint said. “Wind is a whole nother story.” 

To meet those regulations, shows were split into different days, with wind playing on Sept. 18  and percussion on Sept. 20. 

At the wind show, the band played a couple of jazz songs. At the percussion performance, the band played two songs about masks — “The Mask of Zorro” and the theme to “Phantom of the Opera.” 

“This music was actually something we did in 2001,” Flint said. “We weren’t sure if the competitive season would happen, so we chose something that would work for this season.”

Normally, the band would play these songs in-front of a judge where they can immediately get outside feedback on how they did. 

Since the concerts are done virtually, the band instead records its shows and uploads them online where judges will watch the submitted videos and rank the bands.

While this can take multiple takes, Flint said his students try their best to perform the song once.

“Our goal is always consistency,” Flint said. 

Aungst agreed, adding that, if anything, going virtual is “even more of a motivation” for the band.

Moving forward, Flint said he hopes to find a way to get parents watching the shows beyond standing by the fence. 

“We’re taking baby steps with this whole thing,” he said. “But I think at some point we can spread people out. But we still need to take things one week at a time.”

“It’s a lot different season than normal,” Flint added.

Congrats to our Winter Guard and Indoor Percussion groups for their WGI performances!

The DSMA would like to congratulate all of our students for their excellent performances at WGI World Championships in Dayton, OH!

Our Winter Guard competed from April 3-6, 2019 in the Scholastic Open Class, finishing in 12th place with a score of 86.600! Our guard also received the coveted Fan Favorite Award for their captivating performance!

Our Indoor Percussion group competed from April 11-13, 2019 in the Scholastic World Class, finishing in 4th place with a score of 94.888, just barely missing out on medalling! Their show also won Fan Favorite as well.

Congratulations to all of you for your hard work and dedication all season long. We also would like to thank the staff members who worked with the students all season long, as well as the parent volunteers who chaperoned, built and moved props, and selflessly gave up their time to help our kids!

 

Itinerary for MetLife, mattress sale & raffle calendar info, parent meeting, and more!

This week’s itinerary was sent out to band & guard families via email today, and can also be found at this link. Please be sure to download it, print it, and post it in a prominent place!

MetLife parent meeting

We’ll be having a parent meeting to go over the MetLife itinerary and details on Tuesday, November 6 at 8:30pm. All parents should plan to be there to speak with your child’s assigned chaperone and exchange contact details. We’ll also have information on activities the following day. 

Mattress fundraiser

Our mattress fundraiser is back for another year! A fundraising representative will be at our parent meeting on 11/06 to discuss the fundraiser in detail, and the DSMA will receive $10 for every family that signs in when they arrive at the meeting! With 115 kids in the band/guard, that should be some easy funds to raise. A referral flyer for the mattress sale can be found on our Fundraising page.

Chance calendar fundraiser

This month our students can sell chance calendars for $10, which will draw winners throughout the month of December. For more information, and to download calendars to sell, please visit our Fundraising page.

Itinerary for 10/31 – 11/3 – football, Danbury show, & NESBA Finals

An updated itinerary for the remainder of the week went out today to all of our marching band & guard families, and can also be downloaded by clicking here. Here’s a quick rundown!

Football – the game originally scheduled for Friday has been moved to Thursday night at 7pm due to weather concerns. If you are available to volunteer in our concession stand, please email davemeatty@dsmahome.org!

Competitions – on Saturday our band & guard will be performing at US Bands regional championships in Danbury CT, and on Sunday we’ll be in Lawrence for NESBA finals. Performance times are listed on the itinerary, and tickets for Danbury are still available for $15 from the DSMA. Tickets will be available at the Thursday football game as well as during dropoff on Saturday morning. Due to some weather-related rescheduling, we had some chaperones who aren’t able to help on Sunday so if you have a CORI on file and you would like to help chaperone NESBA Finals, please email russbenoit@dsmahome.org.

MetLife meeting – the plan is to have a parent meeting on Tuesday November 6, time TBD to go over US Bands Nationals at MetLife. We’ll also have a representative on-hand to go over the upcoming mattress fundraiser and the company will donate $10 for every family that attends the meeting! 

Finally, we wanted to extend our thanks to all of the parents who traveled with the band to New Britain on Tuesday, or met us in the lot there to help out with the props and pit. Due to the mid-week show, an extremely rare occurrence, we did not have a number of staff and parents available to build our trees and help move our pit equipment. Our kids, our staff, and the DSMA board greatly appreciate you taking the time to help make sure our kids had a successful show!

UPDATED ITINERARY – NE States show rescheduled to 10/30

All families should have received an UPDATED itinerary via email tonight… yes it’s an update to the updated itinerary that went out earlier today. 

You can find the update to the update by clicking this link!

Our band & guard kids will be rehearsing at the stadium from 12-2:30 on Tuesday, with the special event taking place from 9:30-11. Middle school kids will be included in the special event – BK and Mr Sousa are still working out the logistics for that due to last-minute schedule change with the special event in the morning. The band will depart for CT at 3:15 from the stadium and are still due to return around midnight. 

If you have any questions, please feel free to email russbenoit@dsmahome.org!

Itinerary for Week of October 22 – US Bands NE States show (New Britain)

This week’s itinerary has been emailed out to families, and can be downloaded by clicking this link. This Saturday will be our first of two shows in Connecticut as the season ramps up to Nationals at MetLife Stadium! Our online Google calendar has been updated to reflect the rehearsal, performance, and return times as well.

The DSMA has tickets on sale for both shows for $15 each. US Bands requires us to sell 90 tickets for the New Britain show, so buy your tickets from us and save $5 on each ticket! You can pay in person, or you can easily pay online by clicking this link.

Don’t forget about our wreaths and poinsettia fundraiser! This is always one of our most popular fundraisers, and is a hit at the holidays.