Winter Percussion Drums Headfirst into New Season

Josh Click, Photography Editor

   There are a multitude of extracurricular activities at UC High, with one group continuously representing the school at a variety of competitions. Often heard on campus, and in some cases in the UC neighborhood, they are Winter Percussion. Winter Percussion teams play independently and perform indoors on a smaller scale. With the majority of practice taking place in the late hours of the evening, Winter Percussion members are dedicated to their art.

According to Cornell University’s Winter Percussion website, “This section is comprised of snare drums, bass drums, and tenors, and is responsible for generating the majority of the rhythmic interest of the music. Members of the battery must meet the demanding simultaneous responsibilities of marching and playing at the same time, staying in form, and maintaining an overall high level of performance quality” (cuindoordrumline. com). UC High’s Winter Percussion program started back in 2016 as the new kids on the block in terms of competitive teams. That first year they did not compete but did create a show.

   Through exhaustive practices, Winter Percussion works to perfect their show. With the majority of the season’s work happening months before facing any judges, the season is almost over by the time the first competitions roll around. The entire official season lasts a little less than three months, with finals rolling around at the end of April. Winter Percussion spends over eight hours practicing together every week, which does not of course include at-home practice time.

Winter Percussion Member Senior Cadence Adams said, “Winter Percussion has always been my favorite season each school year. It gives percussionists the spotlight with the entirety of the performance focused on us. Being a part of this group has made me form deep friendships and bonds with many people. With only a handful of people in our Winter Percussion, our individuality shines through as well as our self-expression as a whole. It’s less uniform than Marching Band season.”

   UC High Percussion Coach Jacob Llewellyn said, “I teach the percussion program to give back to the activity that has given me so much. I have traveled the world and met many amazing people, so this is the least I can do. Since my day job is in engineering, this is an incredible creative outlet. Personally, I have been drumming since I was a year old, and I was in the Marching Band from middle school through college. I now play professionally for multiple sports teams such as the Chargers and the Kings.”

   Although it sounds like the drumline is carrying the weight of Winter Percussion alone, they are only a third of the whole spectacle. Whilst the drumline is marching, the melody is given to the talented Front Ensemble. The staccato (a short, and often loud impact or note) instruments can only bring so much of the musicality, so to fill that gaps, the front ensemble steps in and provides a further recognizable tune and story. The final third of the group is the visual ensemble. Without any instruments other than their dance and acting, the members bring the remaining piece of the puzzle to glue together a thoughtful and orchestrated narrative. These stories range from an upbeat melody to a dark, borderline horror story performance. The latter is where most of UC High’s winter percussion themes generally fall.

   From their intensive training to the tough competitions, the skill and dedication Winter Percussion has for their performances and craft are undeniable.