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New Equipment Promises to Boost Performance of All-City Percussion Ensemble

All-City Percussion Ensemble sounds distinctly sharper, thanks to a recent infusion of new equipment from Yamaha.

The Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS) All-City Percussion Ensemble sounds distinctly sharper, thanks to a recent infusion of new equipment from Yamaha.

The band added new marimbas, vibraphones, xylophones, and cymbals as a result of the purchase from the company, which is known for supplying the best marching band musical equipment in the nation.

In its inaugural season, the Indianapolis Public Schools All-City Percussion Ensemble is led by Daniel Dorsett, Harshman Middle School band director and proud IPS graduate.

The percussion ensemble is comprised of students from four high schools in the district:  Arsenal Technical, Crispus Attucks, George Washington, and Shortridge. 

The ensemble recently performed at the Indiana Percussion Association Invitational hosted at Noblesville High School and will perform again at the Center Grove High School Invitational on March 11.

Along with the new instruments, students are also performing a new piece of music from Dutch percussionist and composer, Dirkjan van Groningen.

 “It is very fitting to have a world premiere by a new ensemble using new equipment,” Dorsett said. “It demonstrates the vision of our administration and educators to revitalize the performing arts.”

According to Josh Goodman, the music teacher at Arsenal Tech, the new equipment, purchased through Indianapolis-based Paige’s Music, the local Yamaha supplier, should level the field with similar high school musical groups and marching bands.

He anticipates other bands receiving new equipment this spring and summer.

In his role, Goodman oversees many of the school’s musical groups, including the marching band.

“The upgrade was a huge need for our marching bands,” Goodman said. “Our mallet instruments did not have field frames so they would break frequently when going to the rehearsal field for all city band. The new carriers for the drum line will be much safer and ergonomic for our students, allowing them to focus more on playing and less of the stress of carrying the instrument.”

The new equipment also fits into the district’s Rebuilding Stronger initiative, which calls for expansion of musical program, he said.

“This purchase will also allow us to send instruments to the member high schools.,” Goodman said. “The bands at George Washington High School have mallet instruments from the ’80s and ’90s that do not work anymore. This will allow his students to play on great quality instruments.”

IPS bands are also receiving new cymbals, and new drum line and carriers for the drums. The instruments began arriving in early February, but due to logistic and shipping delays, the full order will not be in until the beginning of marching band season in late July.

Goodman believes participating in a marching band not only exercises the mind and body, but also encourages friendships, cultivates creativity, and provides students with a special opportunity to grow as individuals.