2023 Percussion Scholastic Open Class Finalist Review

2023 Percussion Scholastic Open Class Finalist Review

By Mikey McGuire

Congratulations to all of our 2023 Scholastic Open class finalists!  Review their productions below in order of Finals placement.

Clover HS

(97.863) 1st

Clover HS brought the house down with their 2023 production “Nevermore” inspired by Edgar Allan Poe and his struggles with mental health. Clover HS dips into Poe’s works and does a fantastic job of breathing new and exciting life into the story of Poe and his Raven. The show ends with Poe leaving his desk and coming back as the raven. Clover HS performed the absolute brakes off this show, they did not once let up and from the very first note, the audience was hanging on by their every move. As subsections, the performers shine just as brightly as they do when they are with the full ensemble, and each note is played with the utmost confidence. 

Union HS

(96.775) 2nd

Union HS turned some heads with their 2023 production “Born of Sand and Fire”. Centered around the ideas of stained-glass and how beautiful things come from destructive elements like fire, Union HS leaned heavily into the themes. Blurring the lines between battery and front ensemble, Union HS unique approach to pit setup saw four vibraphones moving in the tarp on top of the already sprawling pit setup at the front of the tarp. The performers change from white lab coats to bright stained-glass style tops part way through the program and let loose from there. A fantastic musical program accompanied the already solid visual package and the performers truly put their heart and soul into it, finishing the run with a gorgeous closer, laden with all the metallic textures that the show became comfortable with. 

Brownsburg HS

(96.300) 3rd

Brownsburg HS got us all in the feels with their 2023 program “The Mystic”. Exploring the mystic qualities of human feelings and emotions, “The Mystic” approached the topic with a very delicate touch. That touch translates to each aspect of the show, musically the performers handled everything with care and asked the audience to examine their own feelings in the process. With light-up, horseshoe shaped ramps around the floor, the visual package was simplistic but effective when paired with the musicality showcased by each performer.

Zionsville HS

(96.125) 4th

Zionsville Community HS brought the sparkle with their 2023 production “From the Beyond”. Setting the stage with a bright tarp and backdrops depicting the universe and all the vibrant purples and blues that come with it. On a bed of deep synth waves, the journey through the cosmos begins. As we travel with the performers we get multiple showcases of their small ensemble prowess as well as their effectiveness as a whole ensemble to dish out heavy impacts and perk the ears up. “From the Beyond” is a stellar combination of show design and commitment to the theme, and it certainly sticks the landing.

Victor J. Andrew HS

(94.200) 5th

Victor J. Andrew HS hit the floor with a deep red tarp, and the contrasting light blue uniforms for their 2023 production “Wave”. A concept show in its truest form, “Wave” was an incredibly immersive and captivating experience from the get-go. With six moving platforms in play for the whole show, there was always something extraordinary to look at. “Wave” featured some truly stellar section showcases and ensemble hits, with a wonderful blend throughout the whole ensemble. Victor J. Andrew came to play with “Wave” and definitely made themselves heard. 

Kettering Fairmont HS

(93.050) 6th

Kettering Fairmont took us back to ancient Greece in their 2023 production “Let Me Out”. On a marble tarp, surrounded by Greek-style columns, Kettering Fairmont tells the story of two performers fighting over the key to Pandora’s box. The latter half of the program shows the aftermath of opening the box. With a smooth transition between ensemble impacts and section showcases, the performers captivated with their performance and left it all on the floor. 

Plainfield HS

(92.313) 7th

Plainfield HS took the floor with their nostalgic 2023 production “Streetlights”. Plainfield HS asks the audience to look towards the past and reflect on those moments that fall in the rearview as life moves on. Scattered streetlights adorned the tarp and provided a wonderful bit of symbolism to help serve the theme. Musically, the interplay between the front and battery was fantastic and the small ensemble features were electric. “Streetlights” is a beautiful show about humans and their relationship with the last, and it is in expert hands with the Plainfield HS percussion ensemble.

Kamiak HS

(91.300) 8th

With their 2023 production “Feel The Rain” Kamiak HS cultivated an icy and cold vibe with their baby blue tarp and backdrops as well as their white uniforms. They leaned into the rain themes with a visual ensemble equipped with umbrellas and hooks to hang them on. The performers’ talent was on full display with numerous small ensemble moments helping build to incredibly satisfying releases time after time. 

Greenfield-Central HS

(91.075) 9th

Greenfield-Central HS explored the infinite possibilities of paper in their 2023 production “The Art of Paper”. With a massive origami crane on wheels, a paper airplane, and newspaper props, the paper theme plays heavily. Musically the show is very delicate when it needs to be but really packs an effective punch when the show calls for it. The performers are full of childlike whimsy that really helps solidify the themes while still maintaining a high level of musical proficiency.

Ravenwood HS

(90.575) 10th

Ravenwood HS took the floor with their incredibly vibrant tarp for their 2023 production “Terminus: Countdown to Extinction”.  Driven by Frank Sinatra’s “My Way”, Ravenwood HS takes the audience one step closer to extinction with every passing second. With the ever-present ticking of a clock looking, Ravenwood HS drums their way to the end, and they drum with power. The louder dynamic moments hold so much weight and the awesome power of the collective ensemble sound is the highlight of the show.

Pace HS

(88.713) 11th

Pace HS rolled out their bright tarp and showed the world their 2023 production “Seeing is Being Seen”. Adorning their tarp are five window props that are covered and uncovered throughout the show to fit with the theme of building up and breaking down barriers. Musically the performers were locked in from the start and their energy was palpable in the arena. 

Decatur Central HS

(88.500) 12th

Decatur Central HS took the floor with their 2023 production “Phoenix”. Using the classic story of the Phoenix, Decatur Central showcases ideas of coming back after hardship and self-growth. With a solid musical book and eye-catching visual package, Decatur Central took the floor with the utmost confidence, and they did not disappoint. 

Ninety Six HS

(87.575) 13th

Ninety Six took the floor with a working-class attitude and a working-class show with their 2023 program “Work”. With the focus on a stuffy corporate boss learning to get his hands dirty and work with his team, “Work” is a super charming production all the way around. The working-class performer’s costumes work perfectly, and the floor was littered with plywood boxes to further set the scene. Musically the performers are throwing down some serious notes and doing so with clear confidence. Overall “Work” is a stellar showcase of detailed show design and confident performance from each member on the floor. 

Hernando HS

(87.313) 14th

Hernando HS took us to the stars with their 2023 production “To Look Into The Stars”. With a simple black tarp, a few constellation backdrops, and poles with LED lights on them, they let the music speak for them, and spoke it did. The performers effortlessly showcased their dynamic range throughout the ensemble, setting the scene with delicate and soft moments and grabbing your attention with powerful impacts. The blend between the Front Ensemble and Battery was brilliant and visually, the marching performers shone like the stars. 

Franklin Community HS

(86.825) 15th

Franklin Community brought us back to colonial America with their show “Trial by Fire”. Telling the story of accused witch Elizabeth Howe, Franklin Community brought an incredibly solid musical package to the floor. With the through line of Alanis Morissette’s The Uninvited, FCHS transported the audience with immersive soundscapes and rock-solid alignment between Front Ensemble and Battery. The show ended with the accused witch being convicted and burned by the other performers.