Yamaha Ensembles Win One Third of All Medals at 2016 Winter Guard International Championships

Mike Lawson • News • April 30, 2016

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WGI 2016 Pulse Percussion BannerAt the 2016 Winter Guard International (WGI) Indoor Percussion World Championships, six of all 18 awards for marching percussion were awarded to groups using Yamaha instruments exclusively. Since 1998, ensembles using Yamaha marching percussion instruments have captured 111 medals.

On April 14-17, more than 12,000 participants from more than 32 states and around the globe convened for the WGI Championships, commonly called “The Sport of the Arts” due to its highly choreographed artistic and theatrical elements. Indoor percussion ensembles or indoor drumlines consist of the marching percussion and front ensemble of a marching band or drum corps.

Top WGI Championship honors are given to competitors in both scholastic and independent categories. The 2016 WGI Gold medal winners in Independent World, Pulse Percussion (Calif.), accepted the Gold medal, its third top honor since 2010. The Silver medal in Scholastic World went to Chino Hills High School (Calif.), and three more Silver medals were awarded to Infinity 2 (Fla.), Norwalk High School (Conn.) and Spirit Winter Percussion (Mass.). Arcadia High School (Calif.) received a Bronze medal in the Scholastic World division. In WGI’s newest field of competition – wind players performing as part of a marching band ensemble – Yamaha wind instruments were well represented by Avon High School (Calif.), which took home the Gold medal in the WGI scholastic division.

The largest and most spectacular indoor percussion competition is the culmination of months of rigorous practice for both scholastic and independent ensembles. Participants bring their topmost levels of musical talent, theatrical expression and choreographed movement to the WGI Championships.

            “Yamaha is the only company that has all the instruments and products that these performing groups need to compete at the highest level – from drum sets, marching percussion and wind instruments to mixers, PA systems, sampling and arranging products,” said Troy C. Wollwage, percussion marketing manager, Band & Orchestral division, Yamaha Corporation of America. “Competing at WGI is akin to playing in the major leagues. Additionally, there are more than 50 regional circuits around the country that are considered to be the minor leagues of this activity, where more than 1,500 ensembles and 50,000-plus kids participate each year. The numbers of young performers and their musicianship levels keep rising, and many of these young people will become the music educators of the future.”

             The involvement of Yamaha Performing Artists is further evidence of the company’s commitment to music education. This year, more than 30 Yamaha Performing Artists served as instructors, judges, ensemble directors and fans during the events, including John Mapes and Ian Grom who work with both of the top winners, Pulse Percussion and Chino Hills High School. Yamaha artists teach young people how to be better musicians, but also emphasize the value of focusing on crucial life skills such as teamwork to achieve a common goal.      

            For more than a decade, to further its unwavering support of music education, Yamaha has awarded a $1,000 scholarship to one deserving member of the WGI at the Indoor Percussion World Championship Finals. The 2016 Yamaha/Dennis DeLucia Scholarship recipient is Mia Thompson from Edwardsville High School in Illinois. The scholarship is given as homage to DeLucia, an acclaimed teacher, arranger and clinician who continues to make deep contributions to marching music. 

Additional information about Yamaha Corporation of America is available at http://4wrd.it/YAMAHAUSA

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