Last week I saw a pie chart on Twitter that was getting shared quite a bit from @DCIJunkie. I’ve followed DCI for more than a decade now, but I had never really spent much time thinking about which groups had won DCI Finals the most. I was blown away by the fact that the Blue Devils have 17 championships, and I had no idea that the Cadets were in second place with 10 championships. With 44 years of history, there’s obviously quite a bit that happened before I ever knew about DCI.
This got me to thinking about what the equivalent charts and data for WGI PIW would look like. I’ve been following that activity much more closely for over a decade as well, but for me personally, I really didn’t know the history of what had happened prior to about 2003-ish. So I started doing a little research and set off on an Excel spreadsheet adventure, followed by nerding out over some charts and graphs for the past few days.
What I Learned
Independent groups were added in 1994, which was the 2nd year of WGI Percussion Finals. There were only four groups for Independent in that first year: Blue Knights (1st), Wheaters (2nd), Mandarins (3rd), and the mighty University of Toledo (4th). Since then, the number of Independent groups has grown quite a bit obviously. According to WGI’s website, there are currently 45 active groups in PIW alone. Over the past 22 years though, one group has ended on top more often that anyone else…
Today’s post is an interview with Eric Carr, the man behind the Drum Battle YouTube videos that many of you in the marching percussion world have probably seen. Leading up to the election back in November, I remember being at a drumline rehearsal and one of the other staff members showing us a video of a Trump vs Hillary drumline battle. We all thought it was hilarious seeing Trump playing a quad solo and some bass split parts, but the longer I watched it, the more I realized how much time it must have taken to film the whole thing! As you watch you can see that each part is being played by one person, and all of the different parts are layered over each other.
Interview with Eric Carr
What is your background and how long have you been drumming?
I have been playing percussion for 17 years, starting in elementary school band. I went on to major in music performance at Rowan University in Glassboro, NJ and later got my masters at the University of Delaware. I marched 4 years of drum corps with Carolina Crown 2010, Jersey Surf 08-09, and Bushwackers 2007. I also marched 4 years of WGI with United Percussion 08-11.
Yesterday on Facebook, Josh Torres, Director of Percussion at Center Grove High School, posted a video tour of their newly renovated and expanded percussion facilities. Center Grove is my alma mater and I moved back home to that part of town almost a year ago. I was at Center Grove a few different times in the fall for marching band contests and have seen the construction progress over the past year or so.
“Here is a tour of our new percussion room! Thanks so much to the Center Grove Board of Trustees and Administration for making the renovation a reality!
Also, thanks to decades worth of students, alumni, and teachers that built the PROGRAM that made this room a reality!”
The 2016-2017 NFL season comes to an end tonight in Houston for Super Bowl 51. A couple days after I posted about NFL teams with drumlines having better records than teams without drumlines, Rolling Stone released a pretty cool piece on the Falcons Drumline. The Falcons obviously had a great year and have made it to the Super Bowl. The Patriots, as usual, had another great year and are back in the Super Bowl for the 400th time. As a Colts fan, it’s going to be hard for me to write many nice things about the Patriots, but you can’t argue with results.
In my post, I argue that teams with a drumline do better statistically than teams without. When you look at wins and losses, points scored, etc. the argument only works if you remove the outliers. The outliers, in this case, are the teams at both ends of the spectrum – very few wins with a drumline (Browns – 1-15) and many wins without a drumline (Patriots 14-2).
So what’s it going to be? A great team with a great drumline? Or a great team without a drumline? We’ll have to wait and see who wins tonight. It’s too bad the Falcons Drumline does not get to travel with the team to Houston.
In the meantime, we can watch this awesome video of the Falcons players and Patriots players doing their own drum battle.
One of my favorite things about Indoor Percussion is how fast paced things can be. As a percussionist, rehearsals seem to go by faster when you’re involved in just about every rep and don’t have to wait on the winds or color guard. With a smaller stage to perform on the drill can feel like you’re flying around the tarp. The indoor season isn’t much shorter than the marching band season, but it always seems to go by much faster to me.
We’re still early in the 2017 Indoor Percussion season, but contests all over the country are up and running this weekend. I was originally thinking it seemed a bit early to do this, but when you look at a calendar, I think now is an appropriate time to start a countdown to Dayton. There are only 11 weeks between now and April 22nd. With every group still learning music, drill and adding on to their show, these 11 weeks are going to go by quickly. For those of you graduating or aging out, enjoy them while they last!
Here’s a breakdown of what’s going on around the country this weekend. It’s impossible to follow every group performing throughout the season, but I will try to keep tabs on the more notable PSW and PIW group as the season progresses. Check back here each week for scores and recaps.
In alphabetical order by circuit:
FFCC (Florida Federation of Colorguards Circuit) starts their Indoor Percussion season this weekend at Oviedo HS just outside of Orlando. This is a pretty big lineup and features Infinity Percussion going on last to wrap things up. Schedule and details are here.
GIPA (Georgia Indoor Percussion Association) has their first show at North Gwinnett HS. It’s interesting to me that the lineup of this show has prelims and a finals round. That seems unusual to me for the first show of the year, but maybe every GIPA operates under this format. You can see PSW finalist Milton HS and PIW finalist Atlanta Quest there this weekend.
IPA (Indiana Percussion Association) – no shows this weekend due to the Indiana Solo & Ensemble competitions. IPA will get started next weekend on February 11th with two different shows. This will be the first time we get to see Indiana’s only PIW group, Legacy, as well as PSW groups like Goshen HS and Center Grove HS.
Side note – check out IPA’s new website. It looks great and it sounds like the guys on the IPA board put a ton of time into improving it.