Percussion tour around the country


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Movement, expression and color are all a huge part of indoor percussion.

Ian Humphreys, Staff Writer

High School music programs can only take someone so far into their career. Professional touring bands provide a larger opportunity for students in the future. Blake Wylie, a junior at Edmond Memorial High School (EMHS), is a part of the drumline and concert percussion group. To further his skills, Wylie auditioned for a Winter Guard International (WGI or an indoor percussion) group called Resistance which is based out of Tulsa and has a high-quality reputation. Due to his hard work, Wylie made their crash cymbal line.

I would practice almost every day, send videos to the caption heads to get feedback and I think that my enthusiasm to rehearse, my dedication, and how quickly I could apply changes led to my success,” Wylie said.

While EMHS’s program is notoriously educational and well known, there are other higher class percussion opportunities including Drum Corps International (DCI): a full marching band and drumline that tours the country over the summer performing. WGI is considered an off-season for DCI. Indoor drumlines performing a show themselves without the rest of the band provides a clear way for players to prepare for their DCI season.

“Many high school students attend audition camps for both DCI and WGI and aren’t able to make it,” senior percussionist Blaine Pullen said. “Blake making it is a big deal for him and our program.”

The experiences WGI or DCI have to offer are unmatched. Life long friends and lessons that participants will carry with them for the rest of their lives.

“They all pushed me way outside of my comfort zone and taught me how to systematically improve to accomplish a goal,” former Cavaliers snare and EMHS percussion instructor Kevin Mcdonald said. “I still to this day, if something is difficult, compare it to what I managed to accomplish marching DCI.”

These lessons do not come with ease. A rigorous rehearsal and tour schedule leaves very little time for any personal or school life.

A season with Resistance will involve rehearsals in Collinsville every weekend, multiple shows spanning from Tulsa to Dallas to championships in Dayton, O.H., and just a lot of commitment to the organization,” Wylie said.

A single show normally lasts around seven to eight minutes and includes a wide variety of drumming, keyboard percussion and visual tricks. Custom uniforms, props and dancing are just some of the things involved in the WGI experience.

Wylie is one of few high school students moving on to this side of percussion and can extend his experience to his peers at Memorial. Come see Wylie perform at different events posted on various websites including the WGI homepage or the Resistance social media accounts.

Contact Ian Humphreys at [email protected]