2016 saw our program build on the experience and success of the prior season. With many returning percussionists, this was the year to grow and develop further, all while preparing for the World Percussion Championships in April.
“We’re All Mad Here” found our students in Wonderland, being conducted by the Mad Hatter. A whimsical show filled with comical expressions and jaw-dropping gymnastics, the show was a fan favorite at every competition. In fact, we not only overtook Homestead High School at NCPA finals, winning second place in our division, but we took first place in the visual caption. This fueled the fire and boosted confidence for what came next.
Our ensemble traveled to Dayton, Ohio in April, where we competed at the WGI World Championships in the World Class division for the first time. As newcomers to the highest division of competition, our students were playing against the big names in the sport. We competed against groups twice as large as ours, with both years of experience and elaborate props. Our 28 students faced them with 2 tables, a hat, and a chair.
Fighting jet lag and nerves, our students gave it their all with each run through. Prelims were a breeze, with 20 out of 21 schools advancing. Semi-finals turned up the heat a notch, but Leigh was one of the 15 schools to make it through. With the goal of reaching finals reached, our students had the performance of the season, pulling out all the stops as they performed their beloved show one last time. At the end of the evening came the highlight of the trip: an awards ceremony in full uniform, complete with ticker tape and confetti. To stand on the floor and be recognized as one of the best of the best, 14th in the nation, was something our students and staff will never forget.
Donations to PAPA’s Winter Percussion Fund support the Winter Percussion program at Leigh High School.