By Mikey McGuire
And with that, WGI 2023 has officially come to a close. With the Percussion division celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, let’s take a look back at WGI 2013, A decade ago when the division was celebrating its 20th anniversary season. 2013 brought us some of the most visually and musically entrancing shows in WGI Percussion history, and we’ve highlighted a few in the spotlight below.
Matrix – “Covered”
“Covered” earned Matrix fourth place in PIW that year and featured some of the most memorable moments of the year. In terms of music, Matrix came to play, weaving together excellent ensemble moments while still showcasing the talents of the individual sections throughout the show. Visually, they didn’t falter at all. A purple and silver color pallet on both the uniforms and the tarp allowed the bright yellows and greens they brought out later to pop.
Matrix took the show’s theme to heart, constantly introducing different ways to cover things. The ensemble covered marimbas and quads during their features, as well as pulled a large purple tarp over the battery to reinforce the theme. The most memorable part of the show, however, was the paint. During the ballad, visual performers were painted with bright yellow paint by members of the battery, but they returned the favor later in the show by dumping buckets of the same paint over the quads during their final feature. The paint was also thrown around the tarp as the group hit the final notes of their show, leaving the crowd on their feet. “Covered” was a wholly unique show, and we may never see another like it.
Father Ryan HS – “Don’t Try This At Home”
Dressed in Evil Knievel-inspired jumpsuits and accompanied by large platforms, Father Ryan immediately grabbed the audience’s interest the moment they stepped onto the floor. Starting the show with a disclaimer to “Not try this at home”, the kids got right to the point and started performing their seemingly death-defying stunts. There is never a dull moment in this show, as kids are seen jumping off platforms out of sight while the snare line plays a feature between their legs, and that’s just one instance of the chaos of this show. The climax of the show sees the snare line strapped to circular moving platforms and rotated upside down while they play their feature to close out the show.
Overall, Father Ryan High School earned every bit of their fourth-place finish this year. The creativity in the show design was next level, and the performers flawlessly executed a difficult book while still fully committing to the wild character the show demands of them.
Rhythm X – “The Man in the Arena”
The PIW championship-winning show in 2013 was the Rhythm X classic “The Man in the Arena.” The ensemble took the floor with an oval-shaped tarp meant to represent a gladiator’s arena. With their red and black hooded uniforms, the ensemble wasted no time in captivating the audience’s attention with an out-of-this-world bass feature to start the show.
The famous Teddy Roosevelt “Man in the Arena” speech serves as the basis for the show and guides the performers through the journey of a gladiator as he prepares to fight in the arena. The climax of the show saw two marching performers have a slow-motion fight to the death in the center of the tarp. The brutality of the fight in the arena is juxtaposed to the beautiful ballad coming from the front ensemble at the same time. Both musically and visually, this show is almost flawless, and each performer came together to put on an incredibly memorable product that is still discussed to this day as a landmark show in WGI Percussion.
Aimachi – “Ninja: Shadow Warrior”
Hailing from Japan, Aimachi Indoor wowed audiences with their unique approach to the activity and netted themselves an impressive sixth place in PIW. They took the floor at UD without a tarp, but the show instead featured a few platforms that stretched the length of the floor. One platform between the front and back rows of the front ensemble, and one right at the back of the floor. The performers donned uniforms reminiscent of ninjas, complete with swords on the back.
One of the most unique elements of the show was how they moved around the floor with their drums. Instead of a traditional harness, Aimachi elected to mount their drums on stands with wheels that allowed them to roll smoothly around the tarp. The visual book of the show utilized this innovation heavily, with performers being able to launch their drums from one end of the floor to the other with ease. Aimachi also brought along a few performing color guard members, which gave even more variety to their visual package. As a whole, Aimachi provided one of the most unique shows of the year with their unique blend of acrobatics and stellar playing ability. They truly left it all on the floor and left us wanting more.
Minnesota Brass Indoor – “Dandelion”
“Dandelion” is one of the most beautifully weird shows to ever take the floor in Dayton. Minnesota Brass told the dramatic story of weeds vs. flowers for their 2013 program and finished 13th in PIW. To tell the tale, both the battery and front ensemble wore green uniforms and yellow hats to represent the dandelions, while a visual performer wore a vibrant pink and yellow flower costume. They marched on a tarp printed with a picture of grass and had six backdrops of the sky with grass at the back of the tarp.
On paper, this show sounds like it may not work too well, but the performers and designers executed it perfectly and made a genuinely comedic and engaging show out of it. The narrative arc of the show saw the flower fight against the dandelions with weed killer, but the dandelions remained resilient. In the end, the flower ran along the line with a weed wacker and took the yellow tops off the dandelions. Musically, the performers were able to execute a solid book while not waning at all in their performance. Each member bought into the weirdness of the show and made it one that audiences would not soon forget.
About the Author:
Mikey McGuire has marched 3 seasons of WGI percussion, First playing cymbals with Crystal Lake Thunder out of Crystal Lake, Illinois in 2018. He moved on to Pi Percussion out of Romeoville, Illinois in 2019 and 2020, also playing cymbals. Mikey also writes for Missedapexpodcast.com as well as his personal blog mikeymcguireF1.com.