By David Humphrey
For The Herald Bulletin
---- — PENDLETON — Spring is in the air and smiles are returning to the faces. But throughout the cold and dreary winter months, the Pendleton Heights Indoor Percussion group has been playing in competitions across the state and winning.
Last Saturday, Pendleton Heights placed first at the Indiana Percussion Association state preliminaries held at Decatur High School. The young musicians competed in the PSCA division of the contest and earned a score of 89.30. The victory allows Pendleton Heights to advance to the Indiana Percussion Association state finals today at Ben Davis High School in Indianapolis. The number one seeded percussion group performs at 11:57 AM. Pendleton Heights Indoor Percussion member Curtis Silvey is happy for himself and his band of friends. But the 18-year-old senior was at a loss for words after Pendleton Heights finished first at the state preliminaries.
"It's very overwhelming," Silvey said. "I cannot find enough adjectives to explain how I feel. We have a great group of musicians who are all good freinds and that has a lot to do with our success. We just have to keep doing what we have been doing and see how well we do at the state finals."
"Our scores improve each and every week," Curtis Silvey said. "We have outscored some of the bigger schools and that is really cool."
During the 2014 Indoor Percussion season, Pendleton Heights has placed first at competitions held at Franklin Central, Greenfield Central, North Putman, and Decatur Central. The group also had a second place finish at the Pendleton Heights Indoor Percussion Invitational.
Members of the Pendleton Heights Indoor Percussion include Curtis Silvey, Payne Hannah, Andrew Weinert, Madison Rich, Justin Hatfield, Ethan Callen, Nick Knowles, Dylan Alder, Damian Hyde, Chris Nixon, Will Westbrook, Beau Mabrey, Tammy Hong, and Neeli Kasdorf. Pendleton Heights Middle school students Garrett Lilly, Evan Humphrey, and Katye McDole round out the percussion ensemble. The percussionists are led by director Adam Brosman and his assistant Elliot Fogo. The soft spoken Brosman is looking forward to the upcoming state finals and says that a good time is guaranteed for all.
"I'm absolutely looking to have a good time at state finals," Brosman said. "The kids are playing their hearts out and turning some heads in the audience at the same time."
Prior to the Indoor Percussion season, Brosman acknowledged that a change was needed in this year's format. Brosman switched the group to the Percussion Scholastic Class A division..
"We changed to the PSCA class for many reasons," Brosman said. "We lost rehearsal time in the high school gym before the season started and the band program had also been going through tough financial times as well. The concert class requires little to no gym time and a much lower operating cost to still be successful. We also felt that we had strong players that could easily adapt to a different season."
The music played by the Pendleton Heights Indoor Percussion ensemble was written by Jim Casella. "Joaquin on Sunshine" has a festive, soulful Afro-Cuban flavor, with a Latin rhythm section of drums, bass guitar, congas, bongos, and shekere. The front ensemble has the audience dancing in their seats to the sounds of the marimba, xylophone, and Glockenspiel.
"We didn't know at first if the music would work well for the ensemble, but we chose it because it sounded fun, challenging, and exciting to listen to," Brosman said. "As the students started learning the program it became something that everyone enjoyed playing and getting into, which made my job easier."
"I'm extremely proud of all the kids this season," Brosman added. "They've risen to the challenge of learning a bunch of new instruments and a new style of music."