NUTLEY, NJ - This past Saturday, the NHS Indoor Percussion Ensemble performed in their first competition of the 2020 Season: WGI Trumbull Regional in Trumbull, Connecticut. The event consisted of two performances, prelims and finals, with groups competing twice and receiving a score for each performance. The group competed against 13 ensembles in prelims, and 12 in finals. NHS performed their prelims show at 11:42, and had some downtime before beginning their warmup for the finals performance.

The show this season, The Graveyard Game, tells the story of three young girls awakening spirits, played by the drum line and the pit. In director Julia Wehrer’s words, “think Jumanji, but in a graveyard.” The show contains voice-overs to explain this storyline to the audience. 

Unfortunately, the prelims run of the show was accompanied by some technical difficulties, which made the performance difficult for the judges to understand. The voice overs were not present in the first performance. Wehrer told TAPinto that the problem was caused by “the device that sends the sound to the speakers. It wouldn’t turn on for some reason… But over all, the kids handled a bad situation very well and got through it.” The prelims performance earned the ensemble 9th place, with a score of 72.225. Despite the technical difficulties, the group was less than a point behind the ensemble in 8th place--Salem High School from Salem, New Hampshire--whose performance earned a 72.625.

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Wehrer said that the judges were “pretty understanding,” adding that “these technical issues can happen to anyone.”

However, the problem was solved in time for the finals performance, and the group bounced back. Wehrer told TAPinto Everything worked the second time around and we had a much better show. We actually jumped up 3 places!” Their second performance earned 6th place, with a score of 75.450.

This is going to be a very big year for the program, which has grown to nearly 30 students since its inception four years ago. The group is going to Dayton, Ohio in April, to compete in the WGI World Championships. Wehrer said of the competition, “We’re really excited to go out to Dayton, Ohio for WGI World Championships. It’s the biggest indoor competition in the world, and the fact that we’re even able to go is a huge honor.”

Pit tech and composer Nick Peters also spoke on that point, saying that “it’s a big year for the group, but it wouldn’t be possible without the previous members,” to which Drum tech and composer Connor Horwath added, “and the parents!”

WGI Championships take place from April 15 through the 18. The group is performing a send-off show on April 11, at Nutley High School.

The group’s next competition is USBands Indoor: Raritan. The event takes place Saturday, March 7, at Raritan High School.

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