Despite limitations, MIPE plays on

By Jonathan Bender

The drums finish, a marimba rings out and silence fills the room. While such an ending is more of a stop before a larger movement by ensembles, that is not the case this year because of COVID-19 restrictions for the Methacton Indoor Percussion Ensemble. 

Compared to last year’s bustling battery movements and complex front ensemble coordination, the distanced instruments and sectioned groups are stationary in stark contrast to previous seasons for MIPE.

Jonathan Bender

The show has to be designed so that performers do not come too close to one another, a departure from the typical season wherein performers will come within two feet of each other at times,” said Methacton’s indoor percussion director Sean Slattery.

Already compressed instruments like synthesizers and Marimbas must be spread six feet from each other in cramped rooms. Bass drums are spread across the hallways from other integral members of the battery. The drill performance’s coordination is much slower and off compared to previous years. All of this has turned what was once a seamless movement into a messy matter.

Some positives have come out of these restrictions, however. 

In a typical season, it can become easy to get wrapped up in the competition and lose sight of our priorities. In this season, however, we are constantly reminded that we are our own greatest competition, and the only group we need to worry about beating is the ensemble we were yesterday,” said Slattery.

Even with such improvements to their performances this year, the staff indicated that the chance of another lockdown is a major issue that could present itself again. 

This season is expected to have a virtual performance in early March and others after that during the spring. Like last season, practices are every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. Last year, the group didn’t score well compared to larger ensembles but MIPE hopes to do better with new opportunities this season.

The season is still young and accepting new members. Interested students should email [email protected] or [email protected] for more information.