River Valley Percussion Theatre starts season; focus on raising showmanship

The RVPT including drumline members from left) Paige Wheeler, Nathan Meisenbach, Jaque Gates, Willa Samuelson, and Brook Anderson performed for parents on Feb. 4. (Photo by Bruce Strand)


by Bruce Strand, Arts editor

This year’s edition of River Valley Percussion Theatre, the drumline for the three District 728 schools, is amping up showmanship for the competition season.

Alex Majerus on Marimba

“To get to the next level, our show design, has to be better,” said David Biegler, Rogers band director and  RVPT assistant coach. He added that musically the performances were good but “how it’s all portrayed” is more of a focus his year.

The RVPT will drop one notch in the level of competition, from Open last year to Scholastic ‘A’ this year, he added.

Michael Schuck on Glockenspiel

The 24-member group, whose head coach is Tom Gallus, won its division in a small meet at Foley last Sunday to open their season.

Mike Butts is captain for the front line and Zach Church is  captain for the Batterie. Church said drumline performance can be exhilarating.

“There’s no feeling like it, when the crowd is cheering. It’s addictive,” he smiled. “It can be a little like a rock band especially in the last movement.”

Their 2012 program, written by Gallus, is called “The Fire Within.” As described on the group’s web site, the performance, like a fire, begins with ignition. Through music and movement, the musicians explore the awakening of a drive to succeed, discover a passion, find love and romance, and make a lifelong commitment to excel.

RVPT will compete each weekend including a Feb. 18 event at the ERHS gymnastium, the River Valley Winter Arts Festival. This event will start at 6:30 p.m. and include nine teams, with RVPT up last, along with a guest performance by River Valley Winterguard. Cost will be $8 adults, $6 students and seniors, and kids 4-and-under free.

Along with Gallus and Biegler the coaching staff includes Liz Johnson, Joe Jaeger, Matt Mann and Mike Finney.