MHS Winter Corps to be Hawaii’s First Indoor Wind Ensemble


By Maiya Ezawa
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(Timothy Won | Trojan Times) With two practices a week, the new Indoor Wind Ensemble focuses on improving their flexibility, body movement and show rehearsal.

MHS expanded its Marching Band program in December to include an Indoor Wind Ensemble, officially named the Winter Corps—the first of its kind in the state of Hawaii. This will be the fifth marching group to be implemented at the school, joining Marching Band, Winterguard A, Winterguard B and Winterline. The new program is comprised of the best students from each instrumental section and aims to take the classic marching show, tweaking it to work well on a smaller, indoor scale.

“My goals for this program (are) to make sure that it continues on, (gets) more students (interested) in joining, go to competitions in the mainland, encourage other students to join the program, (and) see improvement in music and performance quality,” stated trumpet player Junior Kayla-Nicole Tamayo. “If I could look back 20 years from now, I want to see the (MHS Indoor Wind Ensemble) be the first band to travel to WGI (Winter Guard International) and placing (as) finalists.”

Since MHS will be the first school in Hawaii to implement such a program, the pressure is on the shoulders of its participants to set the standard and represent the rest of the state. “A huge part about putting on a show is the actual show itself. Designing a show that’s fresh and that interests people is really what we aim for. In a typical field season, our (director) is responsible for designing the show. Our marching band stands out from other schools because of the way we move and our incorporation of body movement,” explained trumpet section leader Junior Adrian Pulido. Baritone trombone player Junior Trent Nakasato also added, “(I expect the program) will basically be experimental and trying to do more body movement than the marching season and probably more students run.”

The inspiration for starting the Winter Corps came from observing schools on the mainland with similar indoor programs. “Along with Indoor Color Guard and Indoor Percussion, Indoor Winds is a natural extension and a way for students to experience high quality performance,” said Tamayo. Pulido elaborated, “This program can be expected to look like a normal marching show, but on a smaller indoor scale. This would of course mean that our normal routine wouldn’t change too much.”

Many of its members hope to see it expand across the state in the future. “Hopefully our lead will encourage other schools to expand their music programs as well. Everyone should have the opportunity to perform in different music groups and experience new things. An indoor winds group is pretty new to the music world in general, so it would be interesting and fun to see what other schools would do,” explained Pulido.

While Music Director Derek Kaapana guides the group, the Winter Corps is expected to be more student oriented. “Members of the program aren’t selected, students choose to be there. (Students have to be) able to accept any challenges, open to new teaching styles and want to improve their music and performing skills,” stated Tamayo. “(Kaapana’s) goal in this program is to give the Marching Band students the chance to better their skills. Of course he’s responsible for teaching us and putting the show together, however, students have more input in what the show is and what we want to do,” added Pulido.

MHS’ marching band program is known to be rigorous and prestigious; as a result, its members have found their own reasons to push through the struggle and continue forward. “(My motivation is) to be part of the marching band and help support and improve the program and have a good time with friends,” stated Nakasato. “I was in eighth grade and my band director, Mrs.(Lorriane) Ujimori, suggested that we should support the Mililani Marching Band by watching their show at Bandfest,” described Tamayo. “The show that I watched was Joan of Arc and as I was watching it, I saw that marching band wasn’t just about playing pep music at football games or marching across the field like toy soldiers. There was more to it. These students are capable of marching and playing at the same time, doing some body movement, telling a story and having a high level of performance quality.”

In addition to being its own program, Winter Corps allows marchers to get additional practice during the off season for the larger outdoor show during their regular regular marching schedule. “Any of the Marching Band students are allowed to join the group, which makes it a great opportunity for us to get better before the next marching field season,” stated Pulido.

As it is only in its initial stages, MHS Winter Corps expects all participants to be dedicated and prepared to spend hours in practice and planning. While they may not be able to compete at the state level, they hope to compete nationally at Bands of America come November 2018, and set the standard for Hawaii’s first Indoor Winds Ensemble.