2022 Winds A Class Finalist Recaps

By: Kevin Gamin

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

Scholastic A

Corinth Holders (92.775) 1st

Instead of using a full floor tarp, Corinth Holders utilized a combination of small tarps, ladders, and scrims to create a wintery mountain landscape depicting “A Winter’s Daydream”. This group also made sure to use the back of the stage, with performers facing back to reflect their sound off the curtains to great effect. The ladders also came into play from the very start of the show, with performers standing and sitting on them to create a three-dimensional soundscape. It was fitting that this wintery theme featured Vivaldi’s “Winter” from The Four Seasons, which really gives the winds a chance to show off their dexterity with the incredible 16th note runs they played. Frank Tichelli’s Earth Song featured a wonderful euphonium soloist while the members created a snowfall from the mountains. Of course, with all this snow, you have to have a snowball fight, all to the strains of the Troika from the Lt. Kije Suitę.

 

Dartmouth HS (89.775) 2nd

Dartmouth’s design is minimal, with only a few gear props that also serve as small platforms for soloists to stand on. The visual and music combine to give a very “Mechanized” feel, as the show theme befits. This show was almost pure winds, with just a bass player in the back who doubled as sound engineer to trigger any click tracks underlying the musicians. The winds did an excellent job with the intricate musical passages in their book, and the soloists were all strong when featured. Dartmouth’s program was a great demonstration of doing a lot with minimal design, allowing the technique and emotion of the performers to take center stage.

Bellevue West HS (88.500) 3rd

Bellevue West went without a full floor tarp this season, utilizing large props such as a fountain pen, paint roller, and a giant paint brush. The group themselves start covered in black shrouds, hiding their “True Colors” to start the program. The group then showed how these props work, pulling the fountain pen across the floor, “painting” it with red by unrolling a tarp out from underneath while moving across. Impressively, the musicians started playing their instruments under their shrouds, with the music very dark to match. Once the shrouds were pulled back to become capes, the music “colored” as well, with Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue”. A killer sax soloist transitioned the group into Coldplay’s “Yellow”, which also featured an excellent flute duet. The song “True Colors” appeared throughout the show, tying the musical part of the theme together, especially during the closer.

Bellevue East HS (87.000) 4th

It’s hard to depict “A Million Dreams” in less than 10 minutes, But Bellevue East did just that. Cloud props that lit up with many colors lined the perimeter of the tarp, which also displayed a night sky full of stars and clouds. The music went from dreamy with a baritone soloist intro to zany, much like a dream can do without warning. The cloud props turned red and were wheeled onto the tarp as the low brass gave us evil sounds leading into “Night On Bald Mountain”, this dream turning quickly into a nightmare. A minor lullaby transitioned the group into the closer and a saxophone soloist before the alarm clock woke us up from our dreams.

Joshua HS (86.925) 5th

Joshua’s visual design is one which Neil Gaiman would appreciate, with greens and purples and magician/wizard style outfits for the performers. Three excellent soloists opened the show with a brief intro that led into “I Put A Spell On You”, which is the inspiration for their 2022 show title. Two featured performers, one dressed in a voodoo style outfit and the other a flute player in a green outfit, danced around the floor and through the group throughout the show. The low brass featured an incredible ensemble sound when they were featured, filling the arena. The show closes with the flute player shrouded as a spell is put on her.

Valley Christian HS (86.525) 6th

The show theme of “Flip” comes into play before the show even starts, with the show theme displayed on four TVs, flipping around and upside down. The music and visual also demonstrate the theme early on as the group reverses their opening statement and drill. The show also utilized music tracks in between the group performing to great effect. Valley Christian pulled out all the stops, utilizing a stage in the back, a guard, a pit percussion section, and even lighting effects coordinated with the TV screens. They ended the show with a cute “post credit” moment featuring…a flipping banana???

Elk River Combined Schools (83.150) 7th

You’re definitely making a statement when someone dies at the beginning of your show, which is exactly what Elk River did to open their 2022 production “Flatline”. A featured trumpet player and vocalist dressed in white represented the deceased’s soul as they left their body and began their journey. They weren’t ready to go, though, as the group opened with Evanescence’s Bring Me To Life. As “paramedics” worked on trying to revive the victim, moments from her life appeared and flashed before our eyes. Singing “Nearer My God To Thee”, the victim tried to fight to stay alive before finally let go and heading to the light as the group collapsed to the floor and her body was draped with a sheet.

Hardin Valley Academy (79.800) 8th

Hardin Valley makes great use of the back curtains with their sound, playing away from the stands multiple times for the ambient musical effect. The color scheme of the members in dark red hues and black contrasts with the white, gold, and black of the tarp and chandelier prop. A featured flute soloist in a cream colored dress leads the group into Berlioz’s Symphony Fantastique. As the chandelier lights up with ominous red lights, the group finishes with a flourish.

Sequoyah HS (75.525) 9th

Two wonderfully designed train engine props made “The Tale Of The Great Locomotive Chase” immediately clear as Sequoyah took the floor. The group utilizes soloists very effectively throughout the show, showcasing these members’ skills. The music is suspenseful, as a chase would be, and the winds players utilize the full floor with their visual program. The mallet percussionists showed great technique, visible even from the top of the stands.

Independent A

LSM Winds (87.300) 1st

‘80s video game sound effects underlaid the performance, adding to the already incredible sound of LSM winds in their 2022 production of “In the Game”. Ladders in the back of the floor also lit up to draw attention to soloists performing while standing on these props. The horns did a great job of playing to all four sides of the performing area to open the third movement of their show, while a mellophone soloist literally lit up with LED colored lights on their uniform. For the closer, all the performers lit up with green LEDs, forming a grid of lights on the floor before forming a corridor for the winner of the video game to run through before running out of the arena.

Evidence From William Carey University (87.075) 2nd

Evidence looked at what it would be like if we could “Storyboard” our lives. An excellent clarinet soloist with trombone backing really lit the show on fire from the start. Evidence also featured a group of four color guard performers with a solo rifle moment to end the opener. “Falling Slowly” showed our newly graduated protagonist falling in love, getting married, and having a child, but then tragedy strikes as things don’t always go the way we planned. The musical ensemble really shined throughout the show, hitting the crowd in the stands with incredible emotion in their performance. The show ended with our protagonist, now at the end of her life, crossing over and joining her husband in heaven as her now grown children celebrate her life.

Vortex Indoor Winds (78.225) 3rd

A color palette of stark white and black is presented by Vortex, with broken columns lying on the tarp depicting “Future Ruins”. The only other color is a small border of purple in one corner and a featured performer in a purple and gray outfit. With only 9 players on the floor, the winds in this group do a great job of projecting their sound up to the top of the stands. During the second movement of the show, the members don hoods as they depict their travels away from the monument they were building, which eventually crumbles. Our featured performer also serves as a mellophone soloist throughout the show. The show closes with an old school company front before the winds form a V for Vortex.

Empyrean Winds (73.600) 4th

“Notes From The Underground” gave us anarchy, revolution, and chaos. It also gave us a brass only winds group, which was a unique musical sound palette for today’s event. A baritone soloist opened the second movement of the show, leading to an excellent trombone solo before the rest of the horns joined back in. The sounds of police sirens pierced through the music during the close of the show as Empyrean began the revolution to take back the city.