Zionsville Community High School senior Hydra Ressler was inititally frustrated when she heard the Zionsville Indoor Percussion was being promoted from Scholastic A Class to Scholastic Open Class just two days before the state finals began.
“We were all looking forward to having a gold medal around our necks and a state champion title in our hands,” said Ressler, who performs in the cymbal line. “We pushed ourselves harder than ever after the promotion, however, and it paid off. The students, staff and parents alike were astonished and inspired when it was announced that first place went to Zionsville. The ZIP ensemble made history that day, and we used our passion to continue on to be a national finalist.”
The ZIP team captured the Scholastic Open Class title March 27 at the Indiana Percussion Association state finals at Ben Davis High School.
“There ended up being no placements awarded for the (Winter Guard International) world championship virtual event this year, but Zionsville Indoor Percussion as well as our Winter Guard were both recognized as being world championship finalists,” said Tom Landrum, ZCHS director of bands.
ZIP had previously participated in the Scholastic A Class, winning state titles in 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2019. The 2020 season did not finish because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“When we submitted our video for a WGI virtual regional event, the WGI judges determined that ZIP needed to be promoted to the Scholastic Open Class, which is much more challenging and involves more difficult musical and visual skills,” Landrum said. “In following their rules, this change in the WGI circuit also resulted in the corresponding promotion to Open Class in the IPA circuit. With the addition of Zionsville, there were a total of eight percussion groups in the Scholastic Open Class. No one had any idea of how Zionsville would finish.
“At the end of the day, ZIP became the first group in the 25-year history of IPA to win the state championship after being promoted to a higher class in the same season. This was an amazing accomplishment, and I have to say that I am still proudly in shock.”
Alex Fulkerson, who plays quad drums, said winning state felt different for many reasons.
“Getting the group to the next class up was a dream come true in itself,” Fulkerson said. “Coming out at the top of that class was the icing on the cake and was a really special thing for the group and the seniors this year.”
The ZIP competition show was called “As the Crow Flies” about an evolving relationship between crows and scarecrows.
“During the first half of the show, the scarecrows were clearly in charge and were fearless toward the crows,” Landrum said. “As the show went on, the crows gained confidence and eventually took over the territory with the last scarecrow being demolished. This was a very cool illusion that was fun for the students and very exciting for the audience. All of the judges throughout the season absolutely loved this show.”
The music included “If I Only Had a Brain” from “The Wizard of Oz” and “Blackbird” by The Beatles.
Landrum said ZIP was made up of 42 students, which include many percussionists as well as several woodwind/brass band students who also learn to perform on percussion instruments or are on the visual team.
Orion Avery serves as the ZIP director. Other staff members working with ZIP are Sam Beckom, Jacob Sleek, Brianna Rude, Jack Doerges, Colton King, Stephan Garber, Michael Rennaker and Jack Akard. Jeff King, the winter program coordinator, handled logistics, among other essentials behind the scenes tasks. The music was written by Don Barrett, and visual design was done by Jack Pursifull.