Indoor Percussion and Winter Guard Take to the Gym


Madisen Maxa

Sophomore Amelia Gilbert plays the marimba at the band carnival.

After the last football game, the marching band goes into its off-season. Yes, there are concert bands and solo contests, but what about the drumline? The color guard? This year, the Kennedy Band Program introduced its first winter drumline or indoor percussion.

Winter drumline is marching drum lines and frontlines competing in wintertime. Competitions are held indoors in gyms and consist of smaller versions of a marching show, without the winds or color guard.

“I’ve wanted to do it for a while but it’s just never really worked out,” said Kennedy Band Director Lesley Fleer. “The students wanted it, they asked if we could do it, so we just decided to do it.”

Along with the first Kennedy Indoor Percussion, Kennedy has been running a winter guard team for a little bit longer.

“Winter guard I’ve done a few years,” Fleer said. “We started three or four years ago where we combined some of our kids with [Washington High School] kids and did it that way. Then we did it the Covid year.”

The Kennedy Winter Guard also performs in gyms without winds or percussion, spinning to themed tracks. 

With the start of Kennedy Indoor Percussion and continuation of Kennedy Winter Guard, the goal remains the same for both.

“Ultimately it’s to keep people playing and, or spinning in their off-season,” Fleer said. “Guard stops after the marching band season but if you put your equipment down for that amount of time you lose the skill. With percussion, even though they’re playing in the winter… it’s nothing taxing, it’s nothing difficult, it’s boring. So it keeps their skills up, keeps them interested and the music is just more fun than playing a triangle.”

Fleer hopes to spark interest in CRCSD middle schoolers, showing them the bigger opportunities high school brings, along with the possibility of traveling to compete. 

Kennedy’s Indoor Percussion and Winter Guard groups have competed once already this season, with guard placing first in their division while percussion placed second. Their next competitions include Waukee on March 25 and Des Moines on April 8. 

“I think this is gonna be the start of a long-standing tradition. Washington has a winter guard, but I think we’re the only ones who do indoor drumline/indoor percussion,” Fleer said. “It just takes time, practice and gym space.”