Reaching For The Stars: The Downingtown Area Indoor Drumline Shoot into a New Competition Season

The indoor drumline shoots for the stars in a recent performance.

Jimmeaha Mack

The indoor drumline shoots for the stars in a recent performance.

Jimmeaha Mack, Staff Reporter

With the endings of their own competitive marching seasons, the Downingtown East and West percussionists have come together yet for another season of indoor drumline. Under the direction of Mr. Ed Otto and Mr. Andrew German, this group of percussionists have moved up a division since the Mid-Atlantic Percussion Society (MAPS) circuit has seen them last; previously being in Scholastic A and now being in Scholastic Open, many new pressures are put upon this ensemble that weren’t there before. When asked about this change, center snare and battery section leader, Isaac Kramer (‘18) said, “Being in a new division will be interesting for us this year. On top of the standard improved skill level and difficulty of the show, there is the added challenge of creating a show that is more than just a basic idea and presenting it in a creative way that also gets the point across. Open class is much more challenging to do well in because of this, as the design becomes much more complex.”

This year’s show, titled “Stargazer,” features a scientist as he looks through a telescope and sees stars forming and follows them throughout their life cycle. In the first phase, the nebula is born and parts of the stars start shooting out and reforming. The constant reformation of the stars transitions into their final form, where they combine to form a gigantic supernova. With a single explosion of the supernova, a black hole emerges, which brings along with it the conclusion of the show on an ominous and intense note, with all revolving around the black hole. All in all, the show is a concept that Downingtown has yet to bring to the table and one which center marimba and front ensemble section leader Elaina Geiger (‘19) “can’t wait to see the crowds’ [reactions to] and the reactions we get from people. When I hear people applauding us after a really complicated part of the show, it gives me so much more confidence and motivation to do even better during the next part.”

Along with handling the change of being in a new division, the ensemble has had to adjust to a brand new indoor staff than they’ve had in previous years. Due to scheduling and other types of conflicts, new techs and students from the past have stepped up to the plate and filled in the shoes of their old teachers for this new generation of percussionists. Jon Welker (‘13) says of his return to Downingtown as a tech: “Coming back to teach at the same place that got me started in the marching activity has been a fantastic experience. It’s great seeing the program I helped to build continue to grow and it’s an honor to come back and be a part of the ongoing progress of the ensemble. I learned a lot from marching percussion when I was in high school. Not just as a musician and performer, but also how to be a better person. That is something that I strive to instill in the students the same way my techs instilled the passion and attitude necessary in order to be successful in the activity, as well as in the real world.”

Though they will not be making an appearance in Dayton, Ohio this season for the annual Winter Guard International (WGI) competition like they have in the previous six years of this ensemble’s history, the Downingtown Area Indoor Drumline will continue along their path of conquering the Mid-Atlantic Percussion Society circuit. Treating this season as more of a rebuilding season, due to changes in staffing and division, the ensemble has placed close to their competitors in second place and third place, with the highest score of their season being 76.60.  Already competing at North Penn and Unionville High School, these astronauts are ready to launch into orbit at Perkiomen Valley High School on March 24th, Springford High School on April 7th, and, finally, to round out their celestial season, at the championships at Coatesville High School on Saturday, April 14th.

Visit this link for a behind the scenes look at the drumline and their newest show. Good luck to those in the Downingtown Indoor Ensemble as they continue their stellar season!