SJ world champs

Members of the South Jones Indoor Winds Group are greeted on campus as they arrive back from Ohio with the world championship. (Photo by Tori Ellis)

South Jones Indoor Winds Group captures gold in Ohio

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After a long drive back to Ellisville from Dayton, Ohio, the South Jones Indoor Winds Group arrived home Monday evening to find crowds of fans and support. The team competed in the Winter Guard International Scholastic Open World Championship with hopes of simply placing, but they did more than that. Way more. The group won the gold medal and they are now world champions.

“It feels great to win gold! Going into it, I had no idea it was even an option, but it happened, and I couldn’t be prouder of our team,” said Chance Tisdale, a junior who plays the tuba for the group.

Indoor Winds is one of the sanctioned entities of WGI-Winter Guard International. It is a more theatrical and intimate setting for performances in the marching arts. The audience is much closer than they are in a football stadium and the criteria is also a little more rigorous than a typical marching band competition.

South Jones is the only high school in Jones County to have an Indoor Winds team, which is led by Director of Bands Brian Joyce.

“The feeling of winning gold is extremely humbling and gratifying,” he said. “For years, students prepare to perform a show of this caliber and to see all the hard work come to fruition when it matters the most is certainly a life altering feeling. 

“What makes us more proud than anything is representing our school, school district, community and state in a positive light when there are so many negative stigmas towards our state.”

Among the welcoming committee was Ellisville Mayor Lynn Buckhaults, who is a big fan of the work accomplished by the South Jones Indoor Winds Group. 

As the bus entered Jones County, it was met with a police escort by the Jones County Sheriff’s Department. The Ellisville Fire Department sounded its sirens as the ensemble arrived on the South Jones campus, and as the students exited the bus, they were met with fireworks shooting off in their honor.

“After getting this win, I’m already looking forward to next year. It’ll be my senior year, so I’m hoping we take home gold again,” said Nicolas Boozer, who plays the trumpet.

There are 36 members in the ensemble, which is comprised of flutes, clarinets, saxophones, mellophones, trumpets, trombones, euphoniums, baritones and tubas. 

During a competition, participants are judged on three different components: General Effect, how the performance qualities throughout the show evoke the desired emotional values; Music Analysis, they are scored on the composition itself as well as how well they perform it; and the Visual Analysis, how the movements and visual threads up the show line up with the musical component. 

Each ensemble is given a timeframe to perform based on classification. They have to set up, perform and take down within the allotted time. Groups from all over the world compete, and this year, Hawaii had a group, as did the Netherlands. 

“You perform for a panel of judges who use criteria sheets and a numerical system to assign scores based on the given performance,” Joyce said. “All the scores are tallied up at their specific weights and a final number from 1-100 is given.

“The atmosphere is a cool mixture of tense, excitement and support. Everyone wants their group to do well but is supportive of other kids and their efforts as well.” 

The local competitions that are a part of the Mississippi Indoor Association are at high schools and community colleges across the state during the season, which is from January through March. The WGI competitions are at larger venues like colleges and major arenas.

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