Hilliard Northwest News

Bradley drumline wants to show it has the beat

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Thirty-two members of the Hilliard Bradley Indoor Percussion Line will begin competition April 10 at the 2014 Winter Guard International World Championship in Dayton.

The group, most of whom are members of the percussion section of Bradley High School's marching band, formed in October.

In their first year together, they won the Ohio championship March 29 at the Ohio Indoor Performance Association in Wapakoneta, besting seven other indoor lines in their division.

Bradley's line competed in the Scholastic A class, reserved for those lines with the least experience. As teams accrue points and qualify in Scholastic A competitions, lines can move up to open class, and lastly, world class.

"It's kind of like drum line meets theater," said Mark Reynolds, director of the Hilliard Bradley Indoor Percussion Line.

Groups perform on a gymnasium floor and use props created by students, parents and boosters.

"We started in October and practice three hours, two days a week, as well as entering competitions ... to prepare for the world championship," said Reynolds, who in 2003 directed an indoor percussion line at Thomas Worthington High School to a world championship in the open class at Winter Guard International.

He and his family moved to Wisconsin shortly thereafter but recently returned to central Ohio. Reynolds now works at Rettig Music, a retail music store in Dublin.

He also composes for an indoor percussion line at Olentangy Liberty High School.

Mark Oppenheimer, director of Bradley High School's marching band, solicited Reynolds to direct the school's indoor percussion line when interest arose.

Among the students who expressed interest was sophomore Matt Bickley, who helped establish the cymbal line.

The line is composed of snare drums, bass drums, marching toms, cymbals and keyboard instruments.

"It's much more personal and we connect with the audience more," Bickley said, when comparing performances with the 32-member percussion line with a marching band that numbers nearly 200.

Bickley said he is excited about the competition in Dayton.

The competition begins April 10 with four blocks in Bradley's Scholastic A division. Within Bradley's block are teams from 13 schools, three of which will advance to a semifinal competition April 11. The finals will be April 12.

A full schedule of events is available at wgi.org/contents/World-Championships-Schedules.html.

Reynolds composed the music for Bradley's performance set, an adaptation of New World Symphony by Antonin Dvorak.

"I rearrange the music (made for strings and a full orchestra) into the percussion idiom," Reynolds said.

The five-minute performance also includes floor movements similar to those of a color guard that accompany the percussionists.

"We've been working all year for this (and) look forward to the experience," Reynolds said.

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