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Band lights up indoor competition

Christopher Smith loves his job.

As percussion instructor for Brookhaven High School, he enjoys being among his small army of indoor musicians.

Out of the 29 students who auditioned, 21 made it to the indoor percussion team and started practicing to compete with other high schools in January. The indoor percussion team performs during the spring semester after marching season is over.

The ultimate goal was to make it to the Louisiana-Mississippi Color Guard and Percussion Circuit Championships.

Smith is happy to say that the team did not only make it, but they lit up the competition by placing first place in three preliminary competitions: Gulfport, Denham Springs, Louisiana, and D’lberville.

These achievements led them to placing third at the championships in Thibodaux, Louisiana.

“There was an exact two-point difference between first place and third place,” Smith said. “We were less than a point from second place.”

Smith said their show, “Pinball,” was the hardest one the team has done.

“The piece of music that I chose was in their capability to execute. It was a little bit harder, but you always have to raise the bar,” Smith said. “They executed like I hoped they would.”

Every percussionist knows how to play at least two instruments — marimba, vibe, xylophone, auxiliary percussion, keyboard and electronic drum machine — of the indoor equipment. Some students played different instruments during the show.

All the drums were trimmed with flashing neon lights that resembled the game of pinball. Smith said the lights were perfect for the Warren J. Harang Jr. Auditorium, which was dimly lit during the championships.

“There were windows and a big old black curtain,” Smith said. “[The place] was perfect for lighting.”

Smith said judges loved their creativity for the show, and he’s even received feedback from other instructors asking him how he did it.

“They have worked hard and I’ve enjoyed my time with them more than any other group than I’ve ever done,” Smith said. “They’re an absolute joy to be around.”