Students compete in percussion, guard show

February 13, 2005|by RICHARD F. BELISLE

Angelina Comerci was winter and Laurel Helman was summer as they took on their roles as seasons Saturday at North Hagerstown High School's annual Indoor Percussion & Guard Show.

Comerci and Helman, both 15 and students at Waynesboro (Pa.) Area Senior High School, were among nearly 300 high school students from Maryland and Pennsylvania competing in the event, said Jeremy Karacz, band director at North High.

The high school has been hosting the event since 1984, Karacz said.

The show is an offshoot of the outdoor summer marching and performing season. It's held indoors in the school gym every winter "for die-hard kids who want to keep performing year-round," Karacz said. "It gives them another opportunity to perform."


Saturday's precision drill teams marched to recorded music in the gym rather than the live band music they perform to in outdoor events.

Music from the percussion ensembles, lacking the wide-open acoustics of the outdoors, bounced off the gym walls in an ear-splitting staccato.

"The kids like it because they can make a lot of noise," said Sam Forney, band director at Greencastle-Antrim High School in Greencastle, Pa. "It also helps them musically because most of the students are not percussionists. They play other instruments. This helps them with their rhythm skills."

Saturday's competition was judged by members of the Keystone Indoor Drill Association.

Parents did their part selling "grams" - critter, flower, balloon and candy.

A "Crittergram" is a small stuffed animal with a tag on which buyers write messages to the recipient. Balloon, flower and candygrams work the same way.

"They're delivered to the students at the end of the performance," said Donna Gelwind, who was selling crittergrams. "Parents, boyfriends and girlfriends buy them. Flowers are the most popular." Gelwind and other women with her at the sale tables are North High alumnae.

Cindy Hinkle and Shawn Grove graduated from the school in 1975. They were arranging flowergrams. Both said they had daughters in Saturday's competition.

Hinkle's daughter, Tracy, is senior captain in the guard. Grove's daughter, Lindsey, is in the drum line.

Of the 15 schools competing Saturday, 11 sent guard teams and four sent percussion ensembles, Karacz said. North High students performed exhibitions.

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