Today kicked off the 2017-2018 competition schedule for the Decatur Central High School Winter Percussion Ensemble (WPE). The 20-student ensemble—along with the Winter Indoor Winds group—traveled to Pendleton Heights after a quick morning practice. There, they competed against six other schools in their class and came away with a well-deserved first place victory.
I started taking photographs of the band last year when my step-daughter joined the program as a freshman. Since I was already on the sidelines for football games, it was natural for me to stick around and capture the halftime show and share it with the other parents. Things just blossomed from there.
Admittedly, during the winter season, I focus on the percussion group more since that is what my step-daughter participates in. But if I can get to an event in time to catch the winds group compete, I will photograph them as well since they are normally in the same contest. I don’t get many changed to photograph the winter guard since they are generally at a different venue.
Given what is asked of each parent who has a child int he band program, this is my little way of saying “thank you” for their dedication and sacrifice.
Not all of the excitement at a band contest takes place on the performance floor. (The basketball court, in the case of WPE and indoor winds.) Quite a bit of activity can be found in the stands as students interact with one another during breaks between performances.
Case in point: the DCHS winds group joined up with at least one other school prior to WPE competing to dance the Macarena in the stands.
Then there is the competition. These students work during the school day, at least three nights a week, and on Saturdays to perfect their show. All for the love of their art. That is something I can appreciate and respect. They leave it all on the court—just like basketball players—but in the span of a couple of minutes.
February 24, 2018, update
The Mooresville-Decatur Times published my story and photo submission from the Pendleton Heights contest on their Web site and in today’s newspaper (on page A3). Unfortunately, online access is only available to subscribers.