Kamiak Winter Percussion Ensemble takes 5th at World Championships

By Brandon Gustafson | Apr 24, 2019
Courtesy of: Toby Bathurst The Kamiak Winter Percussion Ensemble performs at the Winter Guard International World Championships in Dayton, Ohio, over the school’s spring break. Kamiak took fifth place in the A-class.

While many Mukilteo students spent their spring break on vacation, catching up on sleep and/or homework, or even just doing nothing, Kamiak’s Winter Percussion Ensemble spent the week in Dayton, Ohio, for the Winter Guard International World Championships.

“We had 47 schools in our division, the A-class, and we were finalists,” said Toby Bathurst, Kamiak’s band director. “Our goal was to make it to the competition finals, which is top 15, and we ended up finishing fifth.”

The planning to get the students to the competition takes roughly a year, Bathurst said, and a lot of time, effort, and fundraising went in to making the trip a possibility.

To qualify for the competition, the school had to participate in a regional competition. Kamiak’s competition was in Portland, where the school took first place.

The world championship isn’t new to Kamiak, as this was the third time the winter percussion ensemble participated.

The group last went in 2016, where they competed in the Open Class and finished in the middle of the pack. Kamiak first went in 2014, where they finished second in the A-class.

The competition took up the entirety of the students’ spring break, Bathurst said.

“We flew out on Monday (April 8) and competed Wednesday through Friday. We flew back on Sunday (April 14),” Bathurst said. “The kids loved it. They were looking forward to it all school year.”

What made the trip even more special was that this year’s seniors went to the competition for the first time since they were freshman.

“(The seniors) were really excited to go back,” Bathurst said. “The event has to line up with spring break for us to go and hasn’t the last few years. We want to go every two years, but had to wait a little longer this time.”

Bathurst said he was incredibly proud of how the performers behaved on the trip.

“It was all business, since it’s a competition. It’s very possible you compete just once and are done,” he said. “To make it to the finals, you perform three times.”

By making it to the finals, Kamiak got to take part in the competition’s award ceremony, which Bathurst described as “Olympic-style.”

“That was a really special experience.”

The competition marked the end of the winter percussion ensemble’s season, and the end of the line for its seniors.

“The season began in late November and lasted until mid-April. It’s a long season,” Bathurst said. “It’s a lot of time commitment with late practices, some weekends, and they gave up part of their midwinter break.

“It was so cool to work with these kids with a common goal. They were focused, they didn’t get in any trouble on the trip, and we never heard any complaints. They worked really hard.”

To learn more about the Winter Guard International World Championships and to see Kamiak’s scores, visit wgi.org.




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