Downey musicians prepare for big season

DOWNEY - Downey High School is known for many of its great programs and activities, but one that doesn't get enough attention is the phenomenal percussion ensemble, which is starting 2011 off with a promising season ahead.The percussion ensemble is a group that fuses various percussion instruments to create a visual and auditory experience for their audience. Downey's percussion ensemble has competed in the World division, and attended world championships in Dayton, Ohio. With a new season approaching, the group has their sights set on their new 2011 show. "This year's show is entitled 'The Earth, The Stars and The Land of Dreams,' written by Mike Nevin," said Downey percussion ensemble instructor Alexis Masingill. "This piece is a whimsical journey to the stars in a child's dreams filled with excitement, anticipation, danger and, ultimately, a triumphant return. Inspired by the composer's own fantastical dreams as a child, 'The Earth, The Stars and The Land of Dreams' will challenge all of the players in the ensemble, and involve them on the highest levels. The audience should expect some high moments of showcased performers and some moments of surprise towards the end." With the group having such a demanding show ahead, the performers have a lot to do in preparation. The group requires around eight hours a week outside of school for practice time, along with the students maintaining a specific grade point average. While it is a lot for the students to take on, everyone's doing their part to ensure that the group is as prepared as it can be. "As an instructor, I am anxious to see what these fine musicians, especially our very large freshmen class, can pull off this season," said Masingill. "The mix of students involved all have very different personalities and should make for an awesome transition from the marching band season. The new circuit should be an interesting challenge for them, but I know that they are up for the task. I will be enforcing discipline through not having cell phones at rehearsals, practice logs, and checking that they're doing their school work." While all of the necessary steps are being taken to keep the group on track and proactive, there are many seniors in the group who look forward to their final season, and see a lot of growth since their start in the group. "The percussion ensemble show for my sophomore year was by far the hardest, most exciting, and most stimulating show I've done," said percussion ensemble senior performer Diana Cho. "The group has improved, but I feel that we are stuck on a plateau. This group is capable of achieving so much more as long as the members are willing to put forth the amount of effort that is going to be required. I really hope for a successful and fun-filled season this year, and I know that in the end we will succeed." If you're looking for entertainment this spring and want to support Downey High School, check out the amazing percussion ensemble, and visit to track the group's upcoming performance and competition dates.

********** Published: January 6, 2011 - Volume 9 - Issue 38