I don’t really need to re-iterate how difficult of a year our activity has had.

It goes without saying that each person who participated in the 2021 winter season should be applauded and appreciated for pushing through a difficult situation!

This winter saw the birth of some new creative opportunities and allowed fans to experience the activity like never before.

Here are just a few takeaways from my observations over the last few months:

01

Designers can be very creative when they shift their priorities

In many ways, competition and rule structures force designers to be creative but there are obviously drawbacks to that process.  I definitely enjoyed the video editing and all of the things that you can’t pull off in a live environment, but the most enjoyable aspect of this season for me was seeing shows that CONNECTED to the members and the audience.

Success was measured a more by social media sharing which I think pushed groups to want to stand out and create a buzz.  This same attitude an approach goes a long way in a normal competitive season, and I hope to see more of it in 2022!

02

Performance opportunities are the best motivators

With the high schoolers, I noticed that morale was always highest leading up to and coming down from a performance. Not every group did live shows, but this held true to “recording sessions” as well.

It’s tough to work hard for weeks without getting affirmation from an audience and it’s hard to keep the pedal to the metal without having major benchmarks throughout the season to measure your progress.

This is why I always encourage groups to perform as much as possible.  Sure it’s nice to have rehearsal days on weekends, and you should, but performing takes practice as well.

Your final performance will be better for all of the full, in-uniform runs you have done prior.  And rehearsals will be more productive working towards big moments throughout the year.

Not to mention, it’s nice to get commentary as much as possible!

03

The fall program is incredibly important in developing skills

The high school groups I saw this winter were physically hanging on for dear life.

We really missed all of that band camp skill building time!

04

Bigger snare intervals = dirtier snare lines

Sorry, but it’s true.  We had a socially distanced excuse this winter, but I hope we can get back to good listening environments for battery percussion!

05

Nothing beats a live audience at UD Arena on finals night!

There are so many ways we are enriched by participating in this activity. There are so many gifts we receive as a reward for hard work, but nothing comes close to the emotional pay-off of performing a show one last time with your friends in front of a crowd who loves every second of it.

I can’t wait to experience that energy again!

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