Impulse receives honors
By KAREN KANTNER
Assistant Managing Editor
After being promoted to a higher class at the beginning of the season, Wapakoneta’s Impulse Drumline went on to receive a bronze honor in the state in that more difficult division.
“It’s what we strive for, not just competing against other drumlines, but getting better ourselves,” Impulse Instructor Steve Wimmers said.
After being in the regional A Division of drumlines competing in the Ohio Indoor Performance Association (OIPA), Impulse moved up a notch to the regular A Division when all three judges in an early season competition decided they were worthy of a promotion. It was the first time in five years, they received such an honor.
“It’s based on score and all three judges had to decide
we were of a higher caliber than the division we were in,” Wimmers said.
Wimmers said next year he plans to start the seasoned drumline in the higher division as their membership of approximately 30 students is expected to remain stable with only three seniors graduating. Unique to the
See IMPULSE, Page 5A
Wapakoneta group, which represents less than one-third of the Wapakoneta band, is a majority of its members are female.
Impulse also earned “Most Improved Drumline” honors from OIPA with Amy Wiles, on the snare, earning “Performer of the Year” honors.
Overall the group finished third in the state, which Wimmers said was quite an accomplishment after having been promoted a division.
In addition to competing with the state organization, Impulse also competed in the national Winter Guard International competition in Dayton against 60 teams from around the country.
“The whole program isn’t just to compete, but to help improve the marching band’s percussion section,” Wimmers said of how the idea for a drumline at Wapakoneta High School began five years ago.
Through it, he has seen students develop camaraderie as they travel throughout the state competing and honing their skills. With four staff members working with its members, ranging in age from eighth-graders to seniors, Impulse also allows time for more individualized instrumental instruction.
Added to Impulse this year was a guard and backdrop, which enhanced the general effect score for their “Pieces” show.
“It describes the three things that bring the drumline together — friends, family and teachers,” Wimmers said of the theme.
In season, which extends through winter months, Impulse practices at least once a week for four hours after school. It’s all beyond what the students, all members of the high school band, do during their regular classes and is a time commitment on their part.
Approximately one-half of the drumline’s members are percussionists, while the others play other instruments in marching, concert or symphonic band.
“It gives them the opportunity to try something else,” Wimmers said.
Brendan Fry, a junior, has been a member of Impulse since he was in eighth-grade, starting on the bass drum, then snare before settling on the tenor.
He said he enjoys the competitive aspect of the drumline, being able to have fun and working toward a goal.
“It’s a commitment you have to make and teaches a lot you need for life,” Fry said.
Jessica Logan, a freshman in her second year of Impulse, plays the vibes, and has been playing percussion since she was in the sixth-grade. Having taken piano lessons when she was younger, her musical background extends even further back.
“I thought it would be something I’d like to do and I’ve met a lot of different people, made a lot of friends,” Logan said.
Auditions for the group, which features approximately 10 different types of percussion instruments, are held after practices in October. Pieces distributed during a clinic need to be played shortly after for the auditions.
Once selected as members of the drumline, the students practice 60 to 70 hours throughout the season as well as at home on their own. Parts must be memorized and perfected before they are put to movement during the 5 1/2 minute performance show.
Ashley Craig, a sophomore and first-year member of Impulse, joined the color guard based on recommendations by her friends.
She said it is a lot more work than marching band color guard, but also a lot more in-depth.
“It’s harder,” Craig said. “You have to be more devoted. It’s more exciting and more constructive.”
She said the color guard’s role with Impulse not only uses flags, but also body movement to convey the show’s theme.
Junior Brad Severt has played the snare drum throughout his three years in Impulse.
The performances are what he enjoys about the group.
“It’s fun to feed off the crowd,” Severt said.
“I like being in front of them and tearing it up,” said Severt, who is already considering ways to keep performing with drumlines into his mid-20s. “It’s something I love to do.”
Fry said he would like to find a way to keep playing after he graduates, too.
“It’s a good time, if you’ve never seen a drumline perform, you need to,” Fry said. “It’s not what people expect.”