Pioneering percussion

Ensemble chosen to perform at TMEA convention


Photo submitted by Paul Garceau

Percussion begins their concert on Feb. 13 at the Texas Music Educators Association convention with their first ensemble “Toccata” by Jacob Remmington.

This was the 100th year of the Texas Music Educators Association being held and the first time an honor percussion has ever been invited. Percussion teachers have been advocating for the inclusion of this honor for years. The percussion ensemble performed at the convention in San Antonio on Feb. 13.

Over 35 schools sent in tapes to be reviewed in May of 2019 and Marcus’ tapes were chosen anonymously by a judging panel. Performers, teachers and students from across Texas are all encouraged to come to TMEA. The state bands, choirs, orchestras and other performers play concerts, and many teachers give clinics.

Performing at competitions and band concerts is a common occurrence for the ensemble. Last year, they were chosen to perform as an honor percussion at the Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic in Chicago.

“Not everyone gets the chance to go to two conventions in their high school career as their section, so it shows how good we are,” senior section leader Milo Garceau said.
Percussion began preparing for the concert in October. They practiced after school for around two or three hours each day. As it got closer to the concert date, they began to do hour long concert runs every day.

“You get to this breaking point and you’re like, ‘I want to quit,’ but then you think of the big moment and you know you love what you’re doing and that you don’t mind putting in the hard work,” junior front ensemble co-section leader Corinne Worthington said.

Not everyone gets the chance to go to two conventions in their high school career as their section, so it shows how good we are.”

— Milo Garceau, 12

Being chosen for TMEA didn’t exclude the ensemble from their normal band duties. The percussionists still had to worry about the marching band show, their region music, next semester’s band placements, solos and new ensembles.

“Having good time management was the biggest key part in day-to-day life,” Worthington said. “Getting fussed at for not knowing your part and then having to go home after staying up at school until 6:30 p.m. and practicing for another hour and a half.”

On Feb. 13 the percussionists arrived at the convention center around 10 a.m. and began unloading equipment from under their bus and Penske trucks. The group ate lunch outside of the ballroom while the first ensemble warmed up with sticks on the ground. After a short video, the percussionists began with the first piece, “Toccata,” before quickly resetting for the next pieces. They played “Shepherds Hey” second, and their concert continued with “Fandango 13,” “Gravity,” “Phylogeny” and four more ensembles before the concert ended.

There are still a few band concerts and the percussion ensemble concert on March 9, but for many students this was their last big performance. They believe it has made an impact on the band and percussion program now, as well as those who come after them.

“We hope that everyone that follows will strive for excellence,” Worthington said.