The Indoor Drumline: Medusa’s Transformation

This image resembles and image of Medusa before and after the curse was placed on her by Athena.

This image resembles and image of Medusa before and after the curse was placed on her by Athena.

Lany Campbell, Staff Writer

The North Forsyth Indoor Drumline is preparing for their 2015-2016 show based on Medusa’s transformation from beauty to the image we know her as, with snakes for hair and the ability to turn innocent lives to stone.

To pull off this wonderful idea, they have combined with West for the second time; the first time was for the production of Big, Bad and Red. They also chose to join forces based on how the members enjoyed the new minds and fresh ideas, along with another group to share their passions with.

The set for the show will consist of a floor with the appearance of stone, a wig of snakes for the lead role to costume change, a life-sized model, or larger, of Athena, the one who initially turned Medusa, with a set of steps leading up to the statue, and Greek-styled columns to present an impression of traveling through Greece during the time of her transformation. The other costumes will consist of a half royal blue-half stone fabric to convey them as innocent lives undergoing the transformation to stone. At the beginning of the show, the outfits will be more royal blue than marble, but as the lead changes to evil, they will begin to take on a stony appearance.

Staring as Medusa is Senior Eden Dunford. She has also had the lead roles of Little Red Riding Hood and Tinker Bell the previous two shows based on her “exceptional acting and her ability to add life to every character she plays,” says Mr. Nelson, the visual director for the Indoor Drumline. He also stated that they have worked together with her to make her senior show one she is most proud of. Dunford will also undergo a costume change to go from the human Medusa, to the more grotesque and commonly known version.

The music portion consists of a full-range percussion ensemble. This arrangement includes: quads, tenors, bases and snares as well as a cymbal line, five marimbas, five vibraphones, one xylophone and glockenspiel, one synthesizer (can also be used as a keyboard), electric base, auxiliary percussion, sound effects, and, for the first time, a flub line (a tenor-like instrument). The added the flub line due to the amount of new faces that decided to join. The sound effects consist of snake sounds for the transformation along with other creative fillers that can be added in later to add a certain depth to engage the audience.

Mr. Kenney was also asked about his inspiration of the music he wrote for the production and stated that “other music based on the concept and emotion” of the production help him to come up with the style he writes in. For example, he states that “if the show is on a more dark level then I experiment with a darker style along with some classical pieces.” He also stated that each character has a motive, and whatever character they are closest to, the drummers will then portray that motive in the piece. Bases are added for drama, snares for intensity, tenors for the bridge of two musical ideas, and the pit is utilized for a consistent, melodic sound throughout, although, they all share the melody. Other key points to focus on are what is happening on the floor. If Medusa was being killed, the music is typically not fast and upbeat, and vise versa. Constant communication is the key to a successful presentation. “Pit is the story through song; floor is the story through visuals and intensities,” says Kenney. “I can write a visual show about Medusa, and you can infer what it is about. I cannot write enough music for you to understand a story without the visual.”

Along with the music, there is always the visual aspect as well. Dance and body work is used more often as competitiveness increases and as position increases in rank. Due to this increase, body work is a must, and they will be scored down for anyone standing.

The showing of the production will be staged in January of this year along with their championship beginning April second at the Georgia Indoor Percussion Association (GIPA).

GIPA is designed specifically designed for percussion ensembles and drumlines. It is also geared towards education for both the instructors and students themselves. Judges, pro-designers, and people from around the country host clinics after performances to further one’s knowledge for future performance. Members last year were taught how they were scored in each of the following sections the judges will grade: Visual, Music, and General Effect, which is divided into Visual Effect and Musical Effect.

Overall, their goal is to move the program to the Winter Guard International, and national level. As they become more experienced, the closer they are to reaching this goal. Exposure to the international level prepares them for programs outside of the high school level like Atlanta Quest (run by Mr. Kenney- musical writer for the drumline) and Pal Metto (run by Mr. Nelson- the visual director).

The aforementioned programs are considered independent groups, but they attend similar if not the same competitions as the drumline for the high school. All of the members know the instructors overall hope is for this program as well as their hope for their individual careers, so they are 100% devoted to this group and enjoy every minute of the practices they have.