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Forsyth Central drumline preps for national event

CUMMING — A local high school band is heading to Ohio later this month to strut its show on a national scale.

The Forsyth Central High School Drumline earned a state title at the Georgia Indoor Percussion Association Championships at the end of March.

The 40-member group has since begun preparing its show, “Touch the Sky,” for the WGI Percussion World Championships set for April 8-10 in Dayton, Ohio.

“We put together a really good product this year,” said Tom Tucker, Central’s band director. “The kids really have been working hard. They’ve taken a lot of ownership in it, a lot of after-school hours, on Saturdays and individual practice time. They’re constantly practicing and working.”

The show is based on Leonardo DaVinci’s Gilder drawings and love of flight, Tucker said. It will be judged against 23 other performances.

At the state-level competition, Central went up against two other high schools – Lambert and Milton.

About 150 bands are divided into three skill-based categories. These three schools are the only in Georgia in world, the highest level.

The next closest world-level band is in Nashville, Tenn., Tucker said. Schools from Texas, Indiana, Minnesota, California and Tennessee, among others, will make the trip to Ohio.

Central has previously won the state championship five times, including last year. Tucker, who has been with the band since 1999, has been director for every title. However, they’ve never won at the national/world level.

“We’ve only ever placed eighth,” Tucker said. “Currently, though, we’ve made finals at world championships more than any other group in the state ever. We’ve made it seven times.”

He said he is especially fond of the show’s ending.

“We do a trick where we turn a 50-foot-by-80-foot floor from a picture of DaVinci’s drawings into a cloud in about four seconds,” he said.

The band spans all four grades of high school, and Tucker’s goal for them at nationals is to improve from last year.

“These kids didn’t make finals last year, and that was really tough on them,” he said. “We had a bunch of young kids, and they were super fantastic but just really young.

“I really want these kids to go up and be successful, in whatever way that means.”