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    Thursday, February 02, 2023

    Percussion ensemble comes to life in Groton

    Members of the Robert E. Fitch High School Winter Guard perform an exhibition for friends and family Friday, March 11, 2022, at Ella T. Grasso Southeastern Technical High School in Groton. The Winter Guard and South Eastern Connecticut Percussion ensemble, formed of students from Fitch, Grasso Tech and the Marine Science Magnet High School, compete in the Musical Arts Conference for color guards and percussion ensembles. Competitions are all in the New Haven and Fairfield counties areas, so the exhibition performance was scheduled to accommodate the friends and family members who couldn't travel. (Sean D. Elliot/The Day)
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    When the fall season ended, so did the high school marching band and the color guard season.

    Many students at Robert E. Fitch High School, Ella Grasso Technical High School, the Marine Magnet High School and even the Groton Middle School were discouraged. They passionately wanted to continue with the musicianship, dance and theater skills they had learned.

    Students, along with the Music Boosters organization and its president Larry Grundy, school administrators and staff created the Southeastern Connecticut Percussion Ensemble and the Winter Guard.

    The percussion ensemble is made up of students from the four Groton schools. Students from Fitch make up the winter guard.

    They practiced three hours a day after school five days a week and seven hours on Saturdays.

    Their flawless choreographed movements and performance at a recent competition demonstrated their hard work and proved that every band member was a vital piece.

    Along with Dave Brush, the band director at Grasso Tech, Andrea Shabazian, director of the Fitch High School Band, helped with directing the Southeastern Connecticut Percussion Ensemble or SEC. Triston Pool was the frontline director and Aaron Maddox was the battery director.

    The band and percussion ensemble are: On Mallets, which consisted of three marimbas, two xylophones and others: Millie Hilario, Yash Tandon, Nae-King Wise, Jacob Fields, Isaiah Quinones and Jewels Walker. Nathan Sylvester, who was dressed as a navy seaman, played the drum set. Ted Allen was on piano.

    The cello was played by Cavan Grundy, who was made the spectacle throughout the performance. On the guitar were Owen Carter and Gino Milas.

    Auxilary was Hari Suresh. Alex Goins, Nick Lubrano, Tal Millas and Conner Post all played the snare drum. On the tenor drums were Jacob Lalomondier and LJ Higgins. And on bass drum were Cooper Heard, Chase Harraka, Justin Cohoon, James Panciera and Jaydin Lomandier.

    Jacob Lalundier, who played tenor drums and is graduating from Grasso this year, expressed how everybody in the percussion ensemble was dedicated 100%. He said that it was the only way that they could have achieved the success they had.

    “We’re like a family looking out for each other so we can be the best we can be.”

    Other members of the SEC Percussion who are graduating this year are; Alex Goins (Fitch), Nick Lubrano (Fitch), James Panciera (Fitch), Millie Hilario (Fitch), Cooper Heard (MSMHS), Jacob Lalumdier (Grasso) and Jewels Walker (Grasso).

    The Winter Guard put on a captivating show with choregraphed dancing and other movements along with some minor tumbling. Somehow, they managed to flip, twirl, and throw black and gold flags on three- or four-foot poles and plastic swords in time with the music they were performing to.

    The Fitch Winter Guard directors are Haley Hubbel (Color Guard instructor) and Andrea Shabazian (Fitch’s band director). The performers are Elizabeth Herrera, Stephen Lee, Joslyn Koitz, Amanda Stanberry, Joshua Bryte, Meredith Holtmeyer and Bonita Sharp.

    Upcoming competitions include:

    April 2 — Shelton High school 

    April 2 — Newtown High School (Guard Championships) 

    April 9 — Westhill High School (Percussion Championships)

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