IF YOU GO
What: Southern Association for Performance Arts Championship.
When: 7-11:30 p.m. today, 9:45 a.m.-11 p.m. Saturday.
Where: McKenzie Arena, corner of Fourth and Mabel streets.
Admission: $15 (armband allows admission both days).
SCHEDULE OF LOCAL COMPETITORS
• Cleveland Middle School Winter Guard, 7:58 tonight
• Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe High School Winter Guard, 9:22 tonight
• Cleveland High School Winter Guard, 10:35 tonight
• Chattanooga Independent Drum Line, 3:44 p.m. Saturday
Members of 108 winter guards and percussion ensembles are converging on UTC's McKenzie Arena today to compete for top honors at the Southern Association for Performance Arts Championship.
Winter guard is indoor color guard -- all the precision drill and colorful choreography seen with fall's marching season, only without the band. Units perform to taped accompaniment. At SAPA, winter guards will enhance their choreographed performances with flags, sabers, mock rifles, streamers and other colorful props.
Indoor drum lines march highly synchronized drills while playing creative, syncopated rhythms.
Every unit has nine minutes to get their floor mat down, set up, perform a routine that impresses not only judges but the crowd, remove their gear and leave the arena floor.
Chattanooga Independent Percussion Ensemble, whose members are talented high school students and collegians, will play a show themed "Abracadabra."
"We include some magic tricks inside the show," said director Matt Broom. "We start off the show making a snare drummer appear. We make drumsticks levitate. At the end of the show, the same snare drummer disappears."
Broom said Chattanooga Independent rehearses every week, after holding auditions in November, to prepare for competitions within the SAPA circuit.
Candace Davis, marketing and public relations manager at the Chattanooga Area Convention & Visitors Bureau, said this weekend's championship is expected to bring about 2,500 participants and their families to town. Davis said they are expected to have made a $1.8 million economic impact by the time they leave Sunday.
Susan Palmer Pierce is a reporter and columnist in the Life department. She began her journalism career as a summer employee 1972 for the News Free Press, typing bridal announcements and photo captions. She became a full-time employee in 1980, working her way up to feature writer, then special sections editor, then Lifestyle editor in 1995 until the merge of the NFP and Times in 1999. She was honored with the 2007 Chattanooga Woman of ...