Apr 30

River Valley Winter Arts Advance to Finals at 2016 WGI World Competition

April 18, 2016. Elk River, MN – The 728 Cadets wrapped up their winter arts season with all three programs advancing to the finals round at Winter Guard International (WGI) Sport of the Arts World Championships in Dayton, OH during April. “To have all three of our winter groups earn finalist spots at the WGI competition is something very few groups nationally can say they have accomplished. This is a credit to the extremely strong music departments across our entire district. The teachers who see our students on a daily basis are to be commended for their contributions to our students’ music education,” says River Valley Sound Director Mike Reed. Winter arts groups, River Valley Winter Guard, River Valley Percussion Theatre, and River Valley Sound are offered to students grades 7 – 12 from ISD 728 schools of Elk River, Rogers, and Zimmerman.

River Valley Winter Guard (RVWG) topped off their season at the WGI Sport of the Arts Winter Guard World Championships in Dayton, Ohio on April 9, 2016. Competing under the name Elk River High School, the team placed 5th among 120 other winter guard units from across the United States ­–­ peaking with a season high score of 94.330 out of 100. “Headed to World Championships for RVWG’s second time ever, many didn’t know what to expect. Our 20 young performers were in for an exciting weekend following their success at WGI’s national regional competition in March where we were ranked 12th in the world,” says Director Evan Pufpaff. “As a World Championships finalist we accomplished something that most groups don’t get to, and we did it as a team. Tears filled every member’s eyes with excitement and joy waiting for scores to be posted during the qualifying rounds. When we realized we would make it to the finals we knew that 6 months of bruises, injuries, and long practices were worth it.”

Winter Guard is an artistic and interpretive performance medium that combines music and modern dance with flags, sabres, mock rifles, and other traditional marching arts equipment, and takes place over the winter season. In their fifth season, RVWG’s 2016 production On Target displayed a journey from one side of the floor to the other showcasing different battles and challenges along the way that require training and precision. They took inspiration from the battles that life throws at every individual and the struggle to keep one’s head up and eye on the final outcome. Some people experience more difficult situations than others, but one always relies on the people around them to keep moving forward. Through training and practice everyone is able to overcome what they once thought they couldn’t. The men and women of the military are prime examples of people who endure the unexpected and challenges of battle. RVWG works as a unit and won’t let weaknesses leave anyone behind. On Target was created by RVWG Director Evan Pufpaff. During their 2016 season competing in Scholastic A Class they earned 1st place seven times, 5th place at WGI Regionals, 1st place at North Star Circuit (NSC) Championships and 5th place at WGI World Championships.

River Valley Percussion Theatre (RVPT) competed in WGI’s Sport of the Arts World Percussion Championships competition April 14-16, 2016 in Dayton OH. The team placed 11th among 60 other percussion ensembles, with a season high score of 90.625 out of 100 in the finals competition. Director Joe Jaeger said, “Seeing the kids, staff, and parents react to our placement in finals was definitely a moment to remember. When the scores were posted, I had a flashback to the rest of the season, and really the past six years I’ve been with the group. This was a big moment in RVPT’s history that the kids worked very hard for. We are extremely proud and humbled to call ourselves world finalists.”

Drumline is an indoor percussion competition that marries elements of music performance, marching techniques, and theatre. This year’s production, Forbidden portrayed the story of a tribe of people, united in belief and purpose, deeply devoted to its object of worship – the tree of knowledge and life. The tribe is drawn to the tree and the balance, strength and beauty it represents, but they must not touch the tree or eat its fruit. One man succumbs to temptation and eats the fruit, betraying his tribe and becomes an outcast. Though his eyes are opened to the newfound knowledge, he is blinded by bliss and can’t understand why others won’t accept his transformation. With the freedom to choose, will others remain obedient, or be consumed by temptation? Forbidden’s music and movement were created by RVPT Director Joe Jaeger and Assistant Director Chris Judd. During their 2016 season, competing in Scholastic A Class, they earned 1st place three times, 2nd place one time, 3rd place at WGI Regionals, 2nd place at Minnesota Percussion Association (MPA) Championships, and 11th place at the WGI World Championships.

River Valley Sound, the Cadets indoor winds ensemble placed 5th in the finals competition at WGI’s World Championships for Winds in Scholastic Open Class, achieving a score of 81.325 out of 100 on April 17, 2016. Open class is a higher class given a more challenging repertoire. Director Mike Reed said, “This year the staff wanted to create a more challenging program for our students to compete at a national level. The students accomplished more than we could have dreamed in just our 3rd year of existence. To be able to compete against some very large and successful nationally recognized programs is just what we need to continue to grow and raise our personal level of achievement. What we as River Valley Sound accomplished at WGI is no small feat and will be a memory our students will have for the rest of their lives. As their director I am so very proud of how they performed over the course of this season.”

Three years ago, the 728 Cadets pioneered this new indoor marching arts medium, River Valley Sound (RVS), the first of it’s kind in the upper Midwest. RVS provides musicians opportunities for marching arts music and performance experience in the winter months, combining traditional wind ensemble instrumentation, marching, and dance. River Valley Sound’s 2016 production After Midnight takes place just outside a 1930s jazz club in Harlem. The ties are loose and the band is jumping after midnight. Their music Midnight Blue, composed and arranged by Assistant Director Keith Saxton (Roger Middle School Band Director) is influenced by many jazz legends from the 1940s to the present day in an original jazz composition. RVS explores swing, Latin and fusion jazz styles while featuring many improvised solos in the jazz tradition. Director Michael Reed designed movement and their set. While the competitive circuit is still developing for the Winds program across the nation, RVS filled their 2016 season with exhibition and judged performances improving their scores throughout the season.

WGI is a non-profit youth organization and the leading governing body over indoor winter guard, percussion and winds activities. Winter marching arts marries performance and music into a competitive format while providing hours of entertainment for their audience. WGI Sport of the Arts strives to inspire the participants to achieve the highest artistic and creative standards and provides competition as a means to encourage the highest standard of excellence. Following each competition, every group is provided a critique to learn and improve for their next performance. Learn more at http://wgi.org/

The 728 Cadets winter arts participate in WGI’s regional competitions each year, and have each competed at the world championships; RVPT three times, RVWG twice and RVS once. In addition to receiving quality music, performance and marching arts education, winter arts participants improve on teamwork skills, receive leadership opportunities, and gain experience taking a performance production on the road. Learn more about the 728 Cadets winter arts groups at 728Cadets.org, see past season shows on Vimeo, and follow them on Facebook.


SEE River Valley Sound Photos >>

SEE River Valley Winter Guard Photos >>

SEE River Valley Percussion Theatre Photos >>


2016 728 Cadets Winter Arts Staff:

River Valley Winter Guard Staff
Head Director: Evan Pufpaff
Assistant Director: Carrie Snyder
Techs: Lauren Hipsag, Nicole Killian

River Valley Percussion Theatre Staff
Head Director: Joe Jaeger
Assistant Director: Chris Judd
Techs: Jake Esterberg, Tim Badaczewski, Zach Hathcock, Andy Eklund, Jacque Gaetz,
Logan Sabinash, Micaela Brevig

River Valley Sound Staff
Head Director: Michael Reed
Assistant Director: Keith Saxton
Techs: Mark Walentiny, Matt Brisbin