WGI World Champs: A Class Finals Instant Recap

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SCHOLASTIC A

Kings (6:30 PM) — Four on the Floor

Kings has a pretty fun show, with plenty of recognizable music. "Stayin' Alive" by the Bee Gees is definitely one of the more memorable pieces from the show; its movement features a bass drum feature in which the ensemble's four basses are hung from bright blue scaffolding. 

Beavercreek (6:39 PM) — Sweet Dreams

Beavercreek takes the floor clad in black and white plaid pajamas with a bed and windows serving as their props. One member serves as the main character of the show, dressed in red plaid pajamas and sleeping on the bed prop. Throughout the show, members remove their outer pajama uniforms and replace them with haunting black-and-red costuming. Essentially, this show is designed to be one long nightmare, which makes for an entertaining, well-acted production.

West Bloomfield (6:48 PM) — Woven

You can tell from the get-go that this show has something to do with DNA, as the floor features a pair of "double-helix" shapes, and a handful of props that are built like staircase but resemble strands of DNA. The juxtaposition of bright pinks and blues gives this show a really eye-catching look. There's a lot of expressive movement in this show, which is executed really well by the battery members. This show definitely marked the first time I've seen a bass clarinet soloist in WGI percussion, so major props to West Bloomfield on that unique wrinkle. 

Sycamore (6:57 PM) — On and Off

This visual design has kind of a checkerboard feel to the back left portion of the floor, which transitions to an all-red right side. Sycamore's show opens with a really impressive battery break that really grabs your attention. Not long after that, in one of the cooler general effect moments of the show, the entire battery plays on its rims, so as to signify the "off" side of the theme. A snare feature with changing pitches and lights to signify which snare drummers are playing also serves as a really cool visual and musical effect.

Unionville (7:06 PM) — Jane

This is a pretty cool show with a lot of production value. The props are very well-designed tree trunks, and one large rock structure. The main character appears to be Jane from Tarzan, a role acted and performed well by one of Unionville's members. The strength of this group is quite honestly its level of visual performance; the group has some pretty eye-catching drill and executes it at a high level. Between a great design and a strong level of performance — not to mention a powerful closing movement of Rachel Platten's "Fight Song" — I particularly enjoyed this production. 

Dassel-Cakato (7:15 PM) — The Voices Within

This show's got a very golden visual design, with a floor the emulates an expansive desert, as well as backdrops and uniforms that portray an Egyptian vibe. Dassel-Cakato has a really full sound when playing all together as an ensemble, so that makes for a handful of very strong impact moments. Oh, and continuing the theme of unique woodwind solos, this show featured a beautiful flute solo during its ballad movement. 

Perry Meridian (7:24 PM) — Echo

Perry Meridian had one of the more unique floor designs I've seen; it doesn't fit the usual rectangle mold, but the bottom left corner or so curves up and allows for a pit setup in that part of the performance area. The tarp itself features a ripple in water. The show opens with a really cool, clean clapping feature, which starts with one member and ripples out to the rest of the battery and eventual sets up the front ensemble's initial entrance. Cool echo effects are utilized with the continuing ostinato melody of Steve Reich's "Electric Counterpoint," which serves as one of the more energetic moments of the show.

Vandebilt Catholic (7:45 PM) — The Bringers of Light

Vandebilt Catholic uses bright yellows very well in its show. Its floor design is really neat; the back right corner features a yellow area of the floor, with a handful of tall yellow props. Shooting from that yellow area are yellow streaks of what look somewhat like lightning or fire. The entire ensemble wears all black, except for three characters clothed in all yellow, so again, the color contrast in this show is a major part of its development. 

Dorman (7:54 PM) — Dying to Live

This group has a pretty interesting setup, with the front ensemble positioned in the front right and a handful of rocky props filling all other corners. The show opens with a really well-executed dance feature. Dorman moves very well; that's really the first thing I noticed about this show, this group's performance from a visual perspective is quite clean and in-sync. In that vein, one of the most memorable visual moments of Dorman's show was its ballad, in which a handful of cool-colored larger flags fill the floor, set to emotional music. 

Milford (8:03 PM) — The Wild

Milford's show has a lot of visual layers to it, and uses its props — an array of tall, thin pillars — very well in terms of its staging. The members do a really good job of getting into their roles in "The Wild" and selling the kind of aggressive emotions that go with that aesthetic. Musically speaking, there'a good amount of tribal-sounding music to help create the overall vibe of the show. The production's ending, which features the full battery breaking out from inside all of the aforementioned props, is full of energy and an impactful final sequence.

Kamiak (8:12 PM) — Mother

Kamiak's show opens with a really impressive dance feature; it's actually a good minute or so before a battery instrument is played. This show is pretty much a take on nature, its longevity and consistency, and how we as people treat it. This storyline is largely driven by voiceover narrations; a female voice meant to characterize "Mother Nature." 

Grand Blanc (8:21 PM) — MUTE

For starters, I was really impressed by the ability level and mature sound of this group's front ensemble, not to mention its tasteful use of electronic and synthesized sound effects. In general, this production was really simple yet effective, and very clean in doing so. One of the cooler moments was at the end of one of the first major impacts; the entire battery air-played a couple of notes, but the only thing audible during that sequence was low impacts on the synth. A good 15 seconds or so from there were also silent, and were followed by a brief front ensemble sequence, another bit of silence, and an impressive cymbal toss that drew the excitement of the crowd.

Hamilton Southeastern (8:30 PM) — Birds of a Feather

Hamilton Southeastern has a really pretty floor design, with bright white clouds fading into a bright blue portion of sky, and nine tall blue props positioned in an arc throughout the back half of the floor. The performers do a really good job of selling the bird motif, particularly in the way they move throughout the floor. This show has a really positive, joyful vibe to it, which makes it fun to watch; it's not a very deep or complex show concept, but it's very entertaining just in the way it brings all of the aspects of performance together into a happy and bright aesthetic.

Zionsville Community (8:39 PM) — The Missing Link

This group has a really clean design; its floor is all black with white markings, and its uniform and batter instruments are entirely white. The whole show is about the search for a missing link, which makes it interesting to see the front ensemble placed in three different areas throughout the outside the floor. While the theme isn't all that complex, the most entertaining part of this show is undoubtedly the music. Zionsville plays really well together, and plays some really catchy melodies. At the end of the show, battery members lay down to connect the previously-mentioned markings, and spell out the show's title across the floor.

E.D. White (8:48 PM) — Redwoods and Daisies

Its show named for Jason Upton's song of the same title, E.D. White has a really cool look to its floor — specifically its backdrop. Six very tall trees and a forest scene line the back-middle of the floor. The lyrics from the opening verse of Upton's song are spoken to open the show. I can certainly see why this group has been leading the pack; they've got such a mature sound and a really well-designed overall production. Musically in particular, E.D. White was really pleasing to listen to; the music never got to chaotic or anything, and the ensemble was quite clean to say the least. At the show's end, the forest backdrop splits open to reveal a bright sky backdrop, the light from which shines through the middle of the floor. 

INDEPENDENT A

Point Indoor Percussion (9:10 PM) — Bucket List

The overwhelming color for this show is pink; the floor and props — which are stools — both feature the color, as does a backdrop with a pink breast cancer ribbon. The entire ensemble, otherwise, wears black. The show's opener is "Kaleidoscope of Mathematics" from A Beautiful Mind, a piece that has started to become a staple in the marching arts. All in all, the show seems like a reflection on life — one with a lot of questions and changes in emotion — and that makes for a very expressive show concept. A live singer performs a very soulful arrangement of "See You Again" by Whiz Khalifa ft. Charlie Puth to close the show, which was a very memorable part of the performance.

Saints Percussion (9:19 PM) — Behind Blue Eyes

As you'd expect based on the title, the dominant color in Saints Percussion's show is blue. The idea of the show is essentially hiding emotions behind your eyes; keeping what you feel inside, as it were, and not letting your face show it. This is displayed visually, in a way, with an array of translucent front-sideline props, that slightly blur the performers as they march behind them. The show has a really emotional, expressive ballad, which I'd say was the most memorable moment of the performance from a musical standpoint.

Crystal Lake Thunder (9:28 PM) — Weight

The term "weight" as a title seems to be a reference to emotional weight. Crystal Lake Thunder's design features a very graffiti-like floor and backdrops, all with different words on them — things like "dream, courage, rejected, grief, sick," and so forth. There are some really beautiful passages of front ensemble music in particular that really caught my ear with this show, they did really well playing with rhythmic space, especially in the show's ballad, which was pretty empty musically. There's also a really vulnerable snare feature that I thought was a pretty cool moment in this show. 

RPT Percussion (9:37 PM) — The Magic Within

RPT's show opens with a rather youthful scene, with a couple of members jumping rope, and another trying to hide magician's items, such as a hat, before those items are stolen away. The show, overall, seems to tell the story of this young magician, who tries to hide his passion from the cynical "bullies" of the world. One of the cooler, more heartwarming moments of the show was the ballad, in which the magician is able to accomplish the rabbit-in-the-hat trick and really come into his own as a magician. From there, the show has a very energetic and uplifting vibe.

Shadow Indoor Percussion (9:46 PM) — The Center Cannot Hold

While I had a hard time connecting with what the overall theme of this show was, I still really enjoyed, especially from a visual perspective. The floor and props are entirely white; the props themselves are kind of like arches, and they do a really good job of breaking up the floor for staging purposes. Musically speaking, Shadow had a lot of really memorable and well-executed front ensemble passages, the most notable of which involving quick shifts in emotion and dynamics.

Fusion Percussion (9:55 PM) — The Radio Chronciles

I really liked Fusion's floor design; the lone props are an old-school radio in the center of the floor and two radio towers, and stemming from the radio itself on the floor is a set of echoing waves, kind of like two side-by-side wi-fi signals. This show had some really memorable moments, including the playing of "Amazing Grace" while old-time radio broadcasts of important wartime news updates played from the speakers. "Stars and Stripes Forever," however, rang in after the news update from the United States' victory in Japan in World War II. This show did a really good job of connecting music, real-world stories and visual cues, all under a creative guise, which I liked a lot.

Nomad Indoor (10:04 PM) — Breaking Free

This show has a pretty literal interpretation of its title; a handful of cage walls serve as the show's main props, and are often used to box performers into specific parts of the floor. A solid amount of this show — the majority of the ballad movement, set to Eric Whitacre’s “Fly to Paradise” — is spent with the full battery confined to the bottom right portion of the floor. This movement also provided, to me the highlight of “Breaking Free," as members broke out of their entrapment at the impact of Whitacre's piece, which is one of my favorites.

G2 (10:25 PM) — Caged

G2's show honestly follows a very similar emotional pattern and storyline to Nomad's, but with a much different motif driving the thematic concept. To display the idea of "Caged," G2 uses a bird inside of a bird cage as opposed to the kinds of cages that appeared in Nomad's production. All in all, though, G2's interpretation of the concept of being trapped was very well-designed, and had a handful of really memorable musical moments.

Huron Valley Percussion (10:34 PM) — Ring!

Huron Valley's show has a pretty upbeat feel to it; its floor invokes feelings of joy, with different shades and sizes of blue circles positioned throughout the tarp. A lot of the music has a similar vibe to it, especially in the opening movement; a driving 4/4 drum set beat carries the first movement through a variety of high and low dynamics. The ballad movement was really memorable, too; it was really just a simply, very pretty arrangement, which stuck with me. The final impact was also really strong.

Impact Percussion UT (10:43 PM) — The War at Home

Impact had a really simple visual design — no props or anything — but a really stunning color of blue filling its floor with a soft texture on it. This show's pretty vague, in a good way, in the sense that it makes you think. Lyrics from the song, "Soldier," by Fleurie, is used as a common musical motif to drive the concept. I was most impressed by how this group moved; like I mentioned, there were no props or anything, so the floor was pretty empty, but this group did a great job of filling the floor and performing its drill with a high level of precision.

Modulation Z (10:52 PM) — More Than a Man

Modulation Z has a really eye-catching visual layout, with an array of props filling the entire back sideline to display a full city skyline. Seriously, there are tons of prop pieces that come together to make what looks like a pretty accurate, black-and-white interpretation of the New York skyline. the floor itself is white, as well, so you really get the full black-and-white vibe. Several of those props light up, as well, so that backdrop was one of the more memorable prop setups I saw out of this Friday night. Don't get me wrong, though, this ensemble was really polished from a performance standpoint as well, especially in terms of its music effort. I really enjoyed several of the front ensemble passages. 

Paradigm Percussion (11:01 PM) — CATtitude 

Okay, this show is... wild. It's everything you'd expect. There's a scratching post in the back left corner, pictures of cats in the back left corner, and there's even a reference to the theme song from the "Meow Mix" commercials. There's Pink Panther music... this show has everything. The show is exactly what it's meant to be — entertaining, light-hearted and funny — and the group does a really good job of selling that package while also performing at a high level.

STRYKE Percussion 2 (11:10 PM) — Behind Closed Doors

As you'd expect, one door is the main prop for this show, and it's positioned near the back left corner with a handful of other backdrops. The floor itself features black and white lightning, which is certainly an interesting look to say the least. The members themselves are also dressed in dark neutrals, but one member, essentially the show's main character, wears a shade of red that matches the door. Especially from a music perspective, STRYKE 2 was really, really impressive. The battery, in particular, was really strong. 

Railmen Indoor Percussion (11:19 PM) — A Hero's Promise

I have to say, I really enjoyed this show concept. Railmen has a a really cool setup; with two ramps, one in the back right and one in the front right. The full front ensemble is positioned in the front left of the floor. The tarp itself features cracked ground, with white, orange and red hues, toward the back, which fades to black in the front. The production opens with a reference to the Oath of Enlistment for Military Service, which ends up laying the groundwork the show's theme; other sounds reference the concept of soldiers in the armed forces. This concept really allows for an array of different musical and visual effects. I'd say the most memorable moment was the snare feature, which was played really cleanly, utilizing brushes to recreate the sound of military snare drums.

Unity Percussion (11:28 PM) — Scenes from an Italian Restaurant 

Unity's design is really something I don't think I've seen before; not that this is surprising given the title, but it really looks like an Italian restaurant. It's got tables with red and white tablecloths, and an orange brick floor, with a green door and a few other props and what looks like a bar positioned to the right. I honestly had a lot of fun watching this show; the members do a really good job of selling the concept, and they also perform at a very high level, especially musically. I really liked some of the more upbeat passages from the front ensemble. Oh, and the entire ensemble sings a verse of Dean Martin's "That's Amoré." So, that was fun.

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