In consideration of the incredible continued growth of the indoor marching arts, WGI Sport of the Arts will introduce a new World Championships format to debut in April of 2019. In this new configuration, Color Guard and Percussion A Classes will start preliminary competition on Wednesday, and their finals will be held Friday evening.
“We intentionally designed the new format so that groups could keep their trips limited to three days if they wish, as their class of competition would complete the process within a three-day span,” explained WGI Director of Operations, Bart Woodley. “We understand the cost associated with bringing a group to the world championships and made a huge effort not to impact the bottom line for the participants.”
This new arrangement of events will allow additional groups to compete in the preliminary rounds of competition in all classes. Continued expansion of the indoor marching arts is important to WGI, and it is in that spirit the decision was made by the board of directors.
WGI Board of Directors President, Ed Devlin, stated, “As a board, we have been exploring every route possible to serve all groups who wish to compete in WGI World Championships. We do not want to tell anyone ‘NO’.”
Additionally, the new order of competition allows all classes to have only one competition per day. This past May, the Color Guard Advisory Board discussed in great length how only one performance per day provided a much more enjoyable and rewarding experience for their participants. Pressure on A Class percussion ensembles to make such a frantic turn-around from their semi-finals into finals performance, which currently are being held the same day, will also be alleviated.
Don Click, a member of the WGI Board of Directors stated, “One performance per day allows you to have time to make sure your performers are well rested and mentally ready to enjoy their WGI finals experience.”
For the Color Guard division, this revised format has the added goal of attempting to finish all other competitions before A Finals begin. Audience size at A Finals has also been the topic of much discussion since the move to Wright State University’s Nutter Center in 2016.
Other considerations in adopting this new championship timetable were the increasing challenges of travel for groups to Cincinnati and Kentucky, as well as the availability of venues in and around Dayton. Last year, the Cintas Center was under renovation. This year, Millett Hall at Miami University will be unavailable for both color guard and percussion, leaving a serious gap in the list of available contest sites for both weekends. This year, color guard will return to the Cintas Center at Xavier University. For percussion, Hobart Arena will join University of Dayton Arena, Nutter Center at Wright State University, and BB&T Arena at Northern Kentucky University as competition venues for the 2018 championships.
“As much cooperation as WGI receives with all the arenas in southwest Ohio and northern Kentucky, we must accept that there will be unexpected interruptions in availability due to renovations or other university activities. We have a unique relationship with UD Arena as they have planned their renovation around their basketball schedule as well as our event. We are very fortunate that our primary championship site considered WGI as they made their renovation plans,” said Ron Nankervis, Executive Director. “In addition to venue availability, the time and distances some groups are having to travel to participate is a major consideration in the quality of their experience. All our internal surveys reinforce that the more we can do to centralize events closer to Dayton, the more it should lower costs and stress on participating groups. This new format achieves some of those goals.”
This new format also shifts WGI’s newest division, Winds, to holding preliminary competitions on Friday and their finals event on Saturday during the week of the Percussion and Winds World Championships. This will allow both their Prelims and Finals events to be held at Wright State University’s Nutter Center. Housing this musical competition in the same venue both days was a desire expressed by the Winds Advisory Board to help groups fine tune adjustments to the building acoustics after their preliminary performances.
WGI is looking forward to this change in 2019 and is excited to experience continued growth of the Sport of the Arts!