The Mean Green Drumline Earns World Champions Title
By Colleen N. Wilson
Just five years after its creation, Mason’s drumline, the Mean Green, has won the ultimate distinction as world champions in the percussion independent open class of the Winter Guard International (WGI) Sport of the Arts championship.
More than 170 percussion ensembles from more than 40 states and four countries battled at the WGI, which is the leading governing body of indoor color guard and percussion activities.
The Mean Green’s winning 2012 production titled “Go” explores themes of personal motivation and purpose through original music written by Kevin Shah, front ensemble arranger and sound designer for the Mean Green, and Michael McIntosh, a professional composer.
The Mean Green was formed in 2007 after Michael “Doc Nix” Nickens, executive director, and Chris Martin, director, decided that Mason needed its own marching band.
“The idea was to have a drumline presence and a color guard, then grow the smaller units until they eventually became a marching band,” says Martin. “We’re still working toward that goal, but the drumline has grown faster than expected. It’s been really cool to watch.”
The drumline, also referred to as indoor percussion, is performed primarily on basketball courts and combines drums, keyboards, and guitars in a visual and audial show. This season, the group had two keyboardists and a bassist playing with the drummers.
“It was amazing [to win]! I was definitely teary-eyed and felt so accomplished,” says Mason sophomore Daniel Nazario, the bass drum section leader for the Mean Green. “It was a dream come true for sure.”
The team is made up of a medley of performers from local high schools and colleges.
“Kids I had been working with in high school were graduating with all this training and no outlet to perform,” says Martin. “We really combined three high school programs into one drumline at Mason.”
Originally, the group comprised mostly of high school students. Eventually, more college students began joining the group, and this year, some members commuted from James Madison University, Towson University, and the University of Maryland for weekend practices. From November 2011 to April 2012, the team spent 20 hours practicing each weekend.
Though their main focus is on competition, the Mean Green occasionally performs alongside the Green Machine, the university pep band, at school events.
Martin hopes that winning the world championships will boost the program to new levels, especially on the recruiting front. The next round of auditions for the group will be held in September.
This article originally appeared on the university’s News site.
To read more stories about Mason, check out the university’s News site.