By JENNIFER MEIER
INDIANAPOLIS — It sounds like a plot for a movie: Twin brothers, each band directors, meet head-to-head at the Winter Percussion State Finals.
Fortunately it was a happy ending for both.
Tim Cox with his Decatur Central ensemble placed first while brother Tom Cox and his Goshen High School ensemble — under the direction of Derrick Shannon — placed second Saturday at Ben Davis High School. With 87.225 points Goshen was just 1.595 points behind Decatur Central.
“It was a great day,” Tom said. “It was our first time in the movement class. Usually when you are put into a new class you start at the bottom. We moved all the way up to first runner up at state. Who could ask for more?
“The movement class was all new for our 35 kids and I think they had a great time,” Tom said. “And this is Shannon’s first year teaching. We are all very proud of him.”
Third place went to Ben Davis, followed by Greenwood, Greenfield Central, Richmond, East Noble, Pike, Carroll and Columbus East.
Several other local schools participated in Saturday’s state finals.
It was a banner year for the NorthWood Winter Percussion ensemble that not only moved up in class, but finished the season with an outstanding performance at the state finals in the Percussion Scholastic Concert Open (PSCO) class.
“This is only the second year we’ve had winter percussion,” said Director Jacob Grable, a Bethel College student. “And we ended up placing fourth at state out of 13 competitors.”
NorthWood began the year in Class A and placed first at both the Franklin Central and New Palestine Invitationals. The judges then moved the group into open class before the Warsaw Invitational on March 9.
“There, we placed fourth out of seven, so we had our work cut out for us,” Grable said. “We began competing against schools double our size and we were doing really, really well.”
The ensemble performed a stock arrangement titled “Compound Autonomy” by Jim Casella.
Before state finals Grable said he reminded the kids that they had already put all the work in and they just had to trust in themselves. After the fourth place finish, Grable said he was incredibly proud of the students.
“What a great job. I told them that their work did pay off,” Grable said. “We all were really pushing them to the next level and they did it.”
Fairfield Winter Percussion Director Ryan Johnson was happy with the ensemble’s eleventh place finish in the PSCO class.
“We’ve had a winter percussion group at Fairfield only sporadically,” Johnson said. “And our group of 17 is made up of seventh- to 12th-graders. We are a pretty young team this year.”
Moving into the open class meant competing against more established groups and with more difficult music.
“We started out in Scholastic Concert A class and placed second at the New Palestine Invitational,” Johnson said. “To balance things out, we were moved up to a new class.”
In the new class, the ensemble placed sixth out of the seven groups competing.
“Despite getting a late start in the season, the kids did a great job,” Johnson said. “Every week they looked and sounded like an entirely new group — and that’s a good thing.”
The ensemble performed “Stream of Consciousness” by Dream Theater. Johnson described the piece as “all over the place with some fun sections with a Latin feel.”
“All in all, despite some scheduling conflicts, I think the students handled it very well,” Johnson said. “They improved every week. I think it ended up being a great day.”
Warsaw placed first in the PSCO class followed by Union County and Whiteland. Northwood was fourth with 88.800 points, Elkhart Central 10th with 73.700 and Fairfield 11th with 73,600.