2022 PIA Class Finalist Recaps

By: Kellie Finch

Congratulations to all of our 2022 Independent A class finalists! View a recap of their productions below in order of Finals placement.

Matrix A (95.325) 1st

Matrix A pulled the audience through history with their show, “The Times They Are a Changin’.” Historical panels provided the backdrop for the show, with images like a plane and a computer to reflect on how time has changed over the years. A ticking of a clock was utilized throughout the entire performance combined with back-and-forth visuals to mimic the audio. As the ensemble moved closer to modern history, the pit produced more of an electronic feel, while the battery was featured different sections at a time. As the timeline drew near to the end, one of the panels flipped to reveal modern times and happy, smiling faces, as a follow the leader formation pulled the battery back to the focal point of the show, the clock. 


Modulation Z (94.200) 2nd

“Energy” and “power” are two words that can be used to describe Modulation Z in their 2022 program, “Spark.” In a journey to create electricity, performers faced failures and strife before learning to push through. Each of the sections were properly featured in a way that showed off their strengths, including a cymbal feature like no other. The pit added color and texture to the performance and a sense of hope and perseverance to light up the arena. Intensity built as the battery circled the light pole, eventually producing hard-earned electricity and sending sparks flying.

St. Martin Independent (92.300) 3rd

The heaviness and emotion of the tomb of the unknown soldier were the foci of “21 Steps,” St. Martin Independent‘s 2022 program. The show opened with the tomb’s guard beginning their steps and an impactful salute by the rest of the ensemble. Guard members added grace and humility to the performance, combined with a crisp and clean battery and pit to produce a solid show. The performance may have hit close to home for some as the group took a moment to recognize the families of soldiers that never came home with an emotional performance. A serious subject was portrayed tactfully and respectfully, finishing out softly with the tomb’s guard ending and one more final salute. 

Mt. Juliet Independent (91.013) 4th

Mt. Juliet Independent made quite the splash in their 2022 production “Like Water.” The performance explored everything that water is and incorporated that theme into each part of the show design. The uniforms, tarp, and props’ various hues of blue matched the musical selection, featuring “Ocean Eyes” by Billie Eilish. Performers exhibited grace and beauty like a babbling brook while also contrasting with strength and power, like a breaking wave. A bass drum feature wowed the audience, and the show came to a close with a wave that passed over the entire ensemble.

Groove Pursuit (87.950) 5th

Perseverance and hope were two themes evident for Groove Pursuit in “The Wizard of Menlo Park.” Performers used their imaginations to team up with Thomas Edison to create the lightbulb, the focal point of the show. “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work,” a quote from Thomas Edison, was printed on the group’s tarp. This quote became a lesson for both the performers and the audience as the show progressed. The pit worked to foster each transition as the battery fed off of the excitement, eventually producing a working lightbulb and an overall very “electric” show.

PI Percussion Inc. (86.975) 6th

Pi Percussion Inc taught the audience to become more aware of the present throughout their 2022 production. Beginning with a soft meditation section backed by the pit, the show preached about listening and the “eternal now.” As the show progressed, the battery built with tempo shifts that created contrast and tension. The show ended with a change in mood, where audience members expected a huge hit and release. The ensemble instead finished calm and peaceful, the lasting lesson to be more present.

Lake Effect Percussion (86.938) 7th

UD Arena turned into a construction site when Lake Effect Percussion took the floor during “Under Construction.” From scaffolding to hard hats, this construction crew thought of everything to make their performance come to life. The battery drummed on a work bench and trash cans, combining with drill and hammer sound effects from the pit to form an enthusiastic, high-energy performance. The attention to detail made every aspect of the show cohesive, leaving no concept undefined. 

Ascension Percussion (85.350) 8th

“Relic” by Ascension Percussion carried the audience to ancient times, evident by the cracked stone tarp and moss growth on the relic itself, the focal point of the performance. A sacred ritual took place by members of the ensemble, surrounding the artifact in prayer. The relic was then stolen and broken into two pieces, creating a level of chaos and tension. The excitement in UD Arena never wavered as each section was featured. Eventually the relic was placed back together as the show came to a close with a powerful and strong ending. 

Charles Town Percussion (83.175) 9th

Charles Towne Percussion pulled spectators right into the heart of New York City in their show “City Nights!”. Featuring “Empire State of Mind” by Jay-Z and Alicia Keys and a stellar trumpet soloist, the city that never sleeps certainly wasn’t sleeping in UD Arena. The performance provided a bit of jazz and snapping that Bob Fosse would be proud of, and two dancers accompanied the soloist around the big city throughout the show. Eye contact from the pit encapsulated the audience into an incredibly detailed story against the New York City skyline. 

North Star Independent (82.900) 10th

North Star Independent was anything but lost when they found themselves in Independent A finals. Their show, “LOST,” presented intensity and excitement from start to finish. The bass line and gong worked to build from the bottom, going back and forth from strong to calm in the blink of an eye. Intricate marimba work showed off the performers’ skills, proving the ensemble may have been lost in theme, but never in skill. The use of breath control added effect and the group ended the show together, leaving their mark on the audience.

Nomad Indoor (82.413) 11th

Nomad Indoor brought the audience into the virtual world with “A Day at the Arcade!”. Players were booted up, then moved throughout many different games, playing with colored cubes, rings, and even a bouncy ball. Different levels allowed performers to show off their acting skills, with a fun and exciting performance full of Mario jumps and high scores. The pit and battery worked together to create a fantasy world full of whimsy and entertainment, sure to pull out the video game lover in all of us. 

Huron Valley Percussion (80.438) 12th

Huron Valley Percussion brought UD Arena into a Mad World during their program, “Censored.” In this dystopian world, performers were told to “listen and obey” and not to question authority. Cameras followed the performers as they moved across the floor, cloth masking their faces and drums during an exciting bass drum feature. Excerpts from “Mad World” by Michael Andrews and MLK’s “I have a dream” speech progressed the story along. The mood then shifted and the story became uncensored, stripping the performers of their masks and grey uniforms to reveal a bright and colorful underneath and a free world.

St. Ambrose University Indoor Percussion (79.850) 13th

“Don’t be afraid to fall or you’ll never fly” was the heartwarming lesson that St. Ambrose University Indoor Percussion isolated on in “If I Tried to Fly.” A children’s book at heart, the performance followed two kites, one that was afraid to fail and the other that was used to the open air. The pit truly captured the feeling of flying to the clouds and connected with the audience, drawing spectators into the story. The performance concluded with the little kite flying high into the sky, realizing maybe some things weren’t so scary after all. 

Quad City Percussion (77.425) 14th

Something was left to be feared in “Project Fear” from Quad City percussion. A dark and eerie show theme was nicely contrasted with the colorful tarp and uniforms. Performers hid throughout the show, covering their eyes and ears to escape from the inevitable. The battery crescendoed and faded out while the pit built on repetition and ambiance to lead spectators throughout the performance. “It’s coming soon” was repeated throughout the show, backed by a countdown, building anxiety. At 1, there was a drum hit and the battery moved across the floor and the show concluded with looks of fear from all members of the ensemble.

Shockwave (72.775) 15th

Shockwave really proved that less is more in their program “Simple.” With a minimalistic approach and the reminder to “think simply,” this show taught the audience to appreciate “the beauty of simplicity.” Different instruments were featured across the floor and the use of staggered movements brought contrast from one side of the tarp to the other. Peace and serenity were evident themes, though not without the occasional energetic groove from members of the pit. Hand movements and visuals allowed performers to have fun while thinking simple, leading to a “simply fun” performance.