The marching season may have ended in the fall for Chapin High School band students, but that doesn’t mean the drum corps is sitting idle.
Chapin is the only high school with a winter guard percussion team, and the squad is already making waves in regional competitions.
The team competed in the Winter Guard Arizona championships last week and earned second place, missing the top spot by fractions of a point.
This is the first year the team competes so it was a great honor for assistant band director Christopher Lawhorne and all his students.
“The kids worked hard. I worked hard. They truly earned that award,” said Christopher Lawhorne, the assistant band director at Chapin and the coach of the percussion team. “Since this is our first year we just wanted to get our feet wet.”
Another special attribute of the Chapin winter guard percussion team is that it is not just a Chapin team.
“I extended the invitation to all the El Paso Independent School District band directors,” Lawhorne said. “We have two students from Coronado and one from El Paso High performing with us.”
The team competed in Arizona since the winter guard circuit in El Paso does not have a percussion event. To compete at state teams have to compete in four prior competitions inside the circuit, but since Chapin is a Texas team they only had to perform at the Winter Guard International Regional in Phoenix to qualify.
That competition allowed the Chapin team to fine tune their show for the state championships.
“We took those judges comments and improved the show. We changed some of the third movement to really enhance the visual effect of the show,” Lawhorne said.
Winter guard percussion teams have to have a custom written show and drill, which the drummers perform in front of judges in a span of five minutes.
“The show can be grueling at times. It’s hard work. They perform it to the best of their abilities and get rated for it,” Lawhorne said. “It really is a way to keep the drum line alive through the winter months.”
To prepare for competition the team practiced 14 to 15 hours every weekend starting at the beginning of the year.
“It’s really demanding, but we pushed each other to produce a great product. It was all worth it. I can’t wait to compete next year,” sophomore Josh Procell said. “I am section leader so it was very interesting learning to collaborate with the other sections. I really gained some great lead