Saints Percussion Finishes 14th In World Championship Competition

The 14th best indoor drumline in the world resides at Limestone College. The group known as Saints Percussion recently made its fifth consecutive appearance at Winter Guard International (WGI) World Championships in Dayton, OH. The ensemble managed its three best performances of the season, posted a finals score of 83.76, and earned the No.14-ranking in the world. “Our scores increased every round of the competition, which is always the goal,” said Saints Percussion Director Jonan Keeny. “When you look at the age of our ensemble, which is very young, and you compare it to our typically much older competition, we have a lot to be proud of. To be 14th in the world at anything is a major accomplishment, and for us to do it with an average age around 18 years old is awesome. “We proved that, by making finals two years in a row, Saints Percussion is a rock-solid ensemble that has it together,” he continued. “This is another season on which we can start building something special for next year." The World Championships contest consisted of preliminary, semifinal, and final rounds. The 2019 production, “Behind Blue Eyes,” featuring music by The Who, was a crowd-pleaser all season, according to Keeny. The production included moveable props that created the illusion of seeing the ensemble through blue eyes and a realistic blue eye on the back of each performer's costume. “The result at the World Championships speaks volumes about the ensemble’s members, staff, and about the entire organization's commitment to one another,” Keeny noted. “Within the program, there is a great dedication to the overall commitment to music education, and that has resulted in a recipe for student success that is tough to find in the activity. While acquiring shiny trophies, medals, and plaques is exciting, the Saints Percussion belief is that the journey takes precedence over all else.” Saints Percussion made its 2019 debut on January 26 at the Carolina Winter Ensemble Association Premiere West held at Dorman High School and presented approximately half of its program. It posted a score of 71.70, a 10-point increase of a prior score from its charter season in 2014. Continuing its 2019 season, the ensemble competed at the WGI Spartanburg Regional at Dorman High School on March 2 and performed its show in its entirety. Saints Percussion finished in third place with a score of 72.65, an 11-point increase of a prior score from the ensemble’s charter season. The group also competed on March 16 at the Carolina Winter Ensemble Association contest held at Rock Hill High School and finished in second place with a score of 75.5. “Throughout the season, the whole ensemble had its ups and downs, but it was all worth it in the end,” expressed second-year member Skyler Williamson. “Words can't describe the love I have for the whole ensemble.” Dr. Andrea Roberts Bandfield, a parent of a Saints Percussion member, noted that for her daughter, Saints Percussion has been about hard work and challenging yourself to go beyond what you thought you could do, and forging unforgettable bonds with others who share that unique passion for percussion. “These kids are incredible, and what they've been able to accomplish is extraordinary,” she said. “I am so thankful to Limestone, Mr. Keeny, and all of the caring, top-notch staff for offering this opportunity to her. The Director and the instructors of this group have impressed me not only with their talent in teaching percussion, but with their genuine investment in the growth of these students. Because of the awesome Saints Percussion staff, these students have been challenged to bring their best selves to the practice, to the show, and to everything else they do.”