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Percussion Group Drums Up Global Appreciation

BU’s Winter Percussion Ensemble places 10th at world championships


The Winter Percussion Ensemble at the WGI Championships in Dayton, Ohio. Photo courtesy of Hale Ozemek (SMG’11)

From itsappearance on the TV show Wheel ofFortune to placing 10th in a worldwide competition, BU’s Winter PercussionEnsemble is putting itself on the map.

“Placing 10thin our class in the world at the Winter Guard International (WGI)World Championships is a feeling that we cannot even explain,” says Hale Ozemek(SMG’11), section leader of the front ensemble.

The championshipswere held April 15 to 17. The competitioninvolved 178 percussion ensembles, performing in three different “class”levels; each class is broken down into two categories — independent andscholastic. After a preliminary round, each round’s top 12 ensembles qualifyfor their respective classes and perform in the finals competition thefollowing day.

Ensembles are judged on the overall effect of the program, theirtechnique, how they approach the instruments, and how well the ensemble moveswith the program they are attempting. The BUgroup had 25 members this season. For the drum line, the instruments includesnare, tenor, and bass drums. Other ensemble instruments are marimba, vibraphone,xylophone, synthesizer, and bass guitar.

How do ensemblemembers prepare for such a large competition? Besides rehearsing three times aweek, including Saturdays, from November to April, Ozemek says, it takes acertain mentality.

“We are alldevoted to and passionate about the ensemble,” he says. “We all love what wedo.”

The groupplaced first in all of their competitions at the beginning of the season,including the WGI Regional in Trumbull, Conn., which bumped them up to thePercussion Independent Open Class.

Earlier in theyear, the Winter Percussion Ensemble had another unforgettable experience, thisone on national television for an audience of millions. From November 9 to 13,the ensemble performed with the BU Marching Band on Wheel of Fortune during its college week special.

Althoughperforming on Wheel of Fortune wasfun and memorable, Ozemek says that all the hours spent practicing and becominga tight-knit team and competing in a worldwide event are experiences that “willstay with us forever and motivate us to only become better from here on.”

More information on the Winter PercussionEnsemble is available here.

Tom Vellner can be reached attvellner@bu.edu; follow him on Twitter at @tomgvellner.


5 Comments on Percussion Group Drums Up Global Appreciation

  • Anonymous on 06.02.2010 at 10:03 am

    BU drums rock my world. 

  • Anonymous on 06.02.2010 at 11:04 am

    get it BU

  • Anonymous on 06.02.2010 at 2:59 pm

    My family and I saw your performance in Dartmouth, MA, and it was great! They had me on the edge of my seat.


  • Anonymous on 06.02.2010 at 5:32 pm

    BU Winter Percussion Ensemble

    Congra to BU Percussion Ensemble members. Awesome show. World Class Percussion group.

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