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Young musicians will take to a stadium-size stage

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Emma Baker is one of 27 local students playing at the Drum Corps International world championships today at Lucas Oil Stadium.

(Noelle M. Steele / Daily Reporter)
Emma Baker is one of 27 local students playing at the Drum Corps International world championships today at Lucas Oil Stadium. (Noelle M. Steele / Daily Reporter)

GREENFIELD — A group of Greenfield-Central music students will have the opportunity of a lifetime this weekend to play during the opening ceremonies of an event at Lucas Oil Stadium.

Twenty-seven local junior high and high school students will join a mass band made up of 250 young musicians from throughout the state today to open the Drum Corps International World Championship contest.

Students are invited to apply to perform with the INpact band, which features seventh- through ninth-grade students, and then the final group of performers is selected by a committee of band directors.

It’s an honor to be chosen and an unusual opportunity to perform before such a sizeable crowd, said Dave Poncar, director of band at Greenfield Central Junior High School. G-C has been participating since the program’s inception three years ago.

“It’s a tremendous opportunity,” Poncar said. “The kids are very excited.”

The students will perform three songs; “The Final Countdown,” “America the Beautiful” and Pharrell Williams’ hit pop song, “Happy.”

Emma Baker, 13, an eighth-grader at Greenfield Central Junior High School, said she was nervous when turning in her application to join the mass band.

The good news that she had made the cut came as a welcome surprise.

“There were a lot of people that applied for it, and I just wasn’t sure that I was gonna get it,” she said. “I was very excited.”

Emma, a second-year band member, plays the flute, an instrument whose light weight she’ll be grateful for this weekend when walking to and from the stadium in downtown Indianapolis.

Adrian Keith, on the other hand, will be hauling a bassoon.

Adrian, 13, also an eighth-grader, is in his first year of band. But he says he is undaunted by the task ahead.

“I personally think that it’s an honor because we got selected by INpact to perform at Lucas Oil Stadium,” he said.

Adrian already has his eye on a future in the music business. He plans to study music in college and sees this weekend’s performance as a good resume-booster.

“I figured this would be a good start, playing at a well-known area,” he said.

Wyatt Donofrio, 13, said he’s actually comforted by the size of the group that is performing. Wyatt will be one of a number of tenor sax players.

“I only get stage fright when I’m by myself, so knowing I’ll be there with some of my friends, it’ll be a lot of fun,” he said.

With 250 musicians, a few bobbles here and there shouldn’t stand out, but that’s no reason not to be prepared, said Anna Scott, 12, a third-year band member.

“If you don’t know the music at all, then you’re probably in trouble,” she said.

Anna, who plays the French horn, said she expects the musicians to learn from others around them.

“Hearing other people in your section play might trigger something in your mind to help you play better,” she said. “It’s a great opportunity.”

The students are invited to watch the drum corps finals after their performance. The finals will feature the contest’s top 12 marching bands.

Poncar said he hopes that exposure will keep the young players interested in pursuing music throughout their high school career.

“That’s one of my big goals here, to keep them continuing in music,” he said.

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