“The arts” is an umbrella term with many subcategories, and one lesser known athletic art is indoor percussion.
Indoor percussion groups have been entertaining fans for decades but many are unaware of its existence.
Ohio Indoor Percussion Association (OIPA) has hosted events around Ohio for years. OIPA is an organization that hosts both winter guards and percussion groups across the state to compete and rise in the ranks.
A step up from OIPA is WGI (Winter Guard International) which hosts regional championship events for color guard, percussion ensembles, and small marching bands.
There are many groups across the country which present opportunities for high school and college students alike. In the college setting, there are more established percussion groups.
In regards to percussive arts the next big step would be to continue into Drum Corps International (DCI). In Canton, Ohio are the Bluecoats which are a world class competing group which have ranked an average of 4th place in the past decade out of the 17 groups in the United States.
Venues for OIPA usually take place in high school gyms but as the ranks climb we reach stadiums. Ticket prices vary depending on the event usually from $9-$13. However WGI State Finals can become quite pricey, the highest being $325 for VIP and $600 for a fan club package.
At competing events, energy is high and incredibly supportive as the community gathers to watch the progress and hard work of their favorite groups. Some shows have the intention of being fun and entertaining while others have a more serious tone with impactful messages.
Cap City member Macey Wolf explains, “The country is connected by this activity but it is mostly supported and sustained by itself. Most people who grow up to be fans of WGI are former marchers or family members. WGI is awesome but it is somewhat inaccessible to the average person.”
Instrumentalists, color guard and supporting staff work long, hard and dedicated hours to perform a show which will merely last minutes to perform but months to organize.
Macey states, “One of the biggest things I’ve learned from the activity is how to accept and respond to criticism. When you’re in this activity, every Rehearsal at Cap City requires maximum focus and participation. The staff has very high expectations for how we behave and rehearse. Every detail matters and we give these details the attention they need. We are expected to be fully engaged and focused at all times.”
She further elaborates, “We rehearse very intentionally. Everything you do is under a microscope. Someone is standing in front of you observing you and they’re going to tell you what they see. This can be really hard to hear if you aren’t in a mental place to accept that. It can be hard to make yourself so vulnerable but it teaches you how to open your mind.”
Second-Year Capital Student and past Matrix member Kyle Auth states, “No matter how I look on different experiences in there, whether they were good with the paper, bad or whether they were in the middle, that was what taught me how to be an adult and how to take care of myself. How to be responsible, how to take on different responsibilities at the same time and not put myself at the expectation that standards are going to lower with that.”
Kyle feels as though his mindset has changed, “I think as a society, we’re so locked into this thing when we get results fast, it uses our brain. And when the results come slower, our brains kind of want to shut off. Now I think we’ve kind of programmed ourselves as a society to experience that. And I think that that translates to everything we do.”
Like many activities, Indoor percussion can provide one with the skills necessary to grow and impactful experiences. However, Indoor percussion remains unknown to the vast majority of the public.
Macey states, “Getting the word out and bringing attention to the activity is very difficult. I definitely think the activity deserves more recognition. There are extremely talented and hardworking musicians that create compelling and entertaining shows. If people knew more about the activity, I believe there would be way more fans.”
Each WGI group mentioned has a website. Through the websites one can purchase application packets to audition. You can also see the schedule for shows and future endeavors on the OIPA and WGI websites.
Kyle states, “I’m very happy I did that because it really taught me how to not be okay with mediocre results in my life. They could really force me to be incredibly accountable.”