Music gives the soul a chance to sing, dance, fly or cry. It moves us, it distracts us ordinary life, and it gives us inspiration and strength. Music is a creation of man and anyone can partake in joining a musical group to enjoy this natural splendor. Of all the choices you have for making music, there is one field of percussion that is unique to other musical ensembles: indoor marching percussion theater.
Indoor marching percussion theaters are popular in the United States and in a few other countries such as Japan and Brazil. A single percussion theater will consist of anywhere from 20 to 30 members who each have one or more instruments to play during the show. Members choose to play in the pit or auxiliary which consists of marimbas, xylophones, vibraphones, African djembe drums, tambourines, chimes, synthesizer pianos, cymbals, wood-blocks, drum sets, and electric guitars. Or, members may choose to play in the drum-line which consists of snare drums, bass drums, tenor drums, and cymbals.
The pit is stationary and provides the melodies for the show while the drum-line marches to an intricate choreography to create a captivating performance of musical and physical precision. Generally, a percussion theater will follow a theme by using marching drill and melody to change the mood. It is not unheard of for an ensemble to have a narrator explaining the story-line as the show progresses. While most groups will portray a theme, some groups perform solely for the sake of pure music and do not incorporate costumes and plots into their show.
Indoor marching percussion theaters perform indoors, typically in a gymnasium or an arena during competitions. The groups will practice for several months during the winter season before a competition. The members of each group dedicate an enormous amount of time and patience towards perfecting the show. Most groups practice five to six hours on Friday nights and all day Saturday. Preparing for a competition is an intensive process that sometimes requires members to perform outside in harsh conditions before competitions. Winter Guard International (WGI) hosts competitions all across the South East with the World Championships being held in areas such as Dayton, Ohio.
Joining a marching percussion theater can be a life-changing and memorable experience. Many of the groups teach values such as patience, perseverance, perfection, and audience appeal. Becoming a member of a percussion theater can be a great opportunity to share your love for music with other passionate musicians.