The student news site of Whitney High School in Rocklin, Calif.

Whitney Update

The student news site of Whitney High School in Rocklin, Calif.

Whitney Update

The student news site of Whitney High School in Rocklin, Calif.

Whitney Update

Winter percussion members start their season, and connect through their competitions

After accepting the Second Place trophy, winter percussion members Isaac Zuniga, Jabez Lim, Declan Kingery, Jacob Hillman, Richard Chang, Ryan Rau, Annika Hubbard, Edson Menjivar, Deepika Vijayan, Rhea Verma and Shruti Rajesh pose for a photo. Photo by Jana Kingery.

Winter percussion involves the students participating to stay on count for their movements, keep their instruments in time and think about the judges and audience watching them. By definition, winter percussion is a program where students get to compete and perform using both their musical instruments and their formation marching. 

“We [have to] learn drill, which is basically our positions of how we move around the floor and how we march,” Annika Hubbard said. “We have to have it all memorized and everything, so there’s a lot of practice and muscle memory that goes into it.”

For students previously involved in marching band, this is a way to participate and keep practicing during the off season. 

“I joined [winter percussion] my second year [of high school] because it’s essentially an extension of marching band,” Ryan Rau said. “I’ve been doing marching band for four years.”

Winter percussion and marching band are essentially the same program other than a few differences such as their instruments and where they perform.

“In winter percussion, there’s the ensemble and battery but there’s no wind instruments,” Rau said. “It’s also indoors so it’s going to be shrunk down so we can fit in a gymnasium versus a football field.”

The winter percussion team had its first competition Feb. 17 at Del Oro where they received First Place out of five teams. 

“I think we did really well,” Shruti Rajesh said. “We definitely need to work on some things, like music was a big thing for us, but our show concept and our show performance were really great during the performance.”

To prepare for their competitions, the team has practices every Monday and Wednesday from 6-9 p.m. as well as day-long practices called Super Saturdays. They hold Super Saturday practices as often as they can, at least once a month.

“We just spend the whole day repping out and working on things that need to be practiced, and it’s very good for team bonding,” Declan Kingery said. 

Winter percussion, similar to any other sport, is dependent on their team connection since they need to be able to work together to create the best show possible.

“The thing with percussion is you need to practice together to figure out what’s working and what’s not working,” Rau said. “[During our practices,] we make sure everyone’s getting what they need done [so that] we’re on track.”

This season, the theme is called “Left Brain Right Brain,” so the team has to design its show performances to match with that theme. 

“Essentially, we are scientists separating the brains; we kind of split it up where the front ensemble wears lab coats and are the scientists and the people in the back are our test subjects,” Rau said. “That’s the main part of the show.”

Winter percussion typically consists of a variety of instruments, like the marimba, tenor quad, etc. This year there are a total of 10 instruments, five in the ensemble and five in the battery. The ensemble includes the marimba, oxapercussion, xylophone, synthesizer, and a drum set while the battery includes the snare, tenor quad and three bass drums.

“I play the marching bass drum,” Hubbard said. “The way that it works is the parts are split up among the different people, so one person will only be playing part of the notes.”

Winter percussion has helped with more than just the team’s music career, like with their mental health and leadership.

“[Winter percussion] has helped me with my leadership skills,” Rajesh said. “I noticed that most of the basses from last year have referred to me because I know the drill counts and I know the music pretty darn well, plus I’m not someone who is phased easily by the stress of a competition.”

Winter percussion also helps them improve in their school dedication and goal achievement. Their competitions make them strive to be the best performer they can be since they are being evaluated by judges.

“There’s a lot of work that goes into it, but I think the dedication that it takes and the kind of discipline to practice and remember everything has definitely helped me,” Hubbard said.

Most of the percussion members are going to be continuing with Winter Percussion all four years because of how much they have grown to become a family and create memories that will last longer than high school. 

“Oh yeah definitely, so many stories came out of [this season], the things we had to do,” Rau said. “We’ve had to eat dinner in [the instrument trailer], all like cramped in this small space, but it’s so nice to have this group.”

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