FAIR LAWN, N.J. -- Talk about sweet music.
The Fair Lawn Indoor Percussion Ensemble, aka FLIP, captured the 2017 WGI World Champions in Dayton, OH, sealing the school’s place among indoor percussion programs nationwide.
Before this win -- the group's first -- Fair Lawn was known among schools on the East Coast, but not outside the region.
It is the second PSA title by a New Jersey high school in the competition’s history. Championships have primarily been won by schools in California, Florida, and the Midwest, making Fair Lawn’s win significant for East Coast competitors.
After competing among 64 groups for the title, FLIP was recognized as best in the nation in their class, Percussion Scholastic A (PSA). When Fair Lawn took the floor in WGI competition on Friday, April 21, it was their first appearance in finals.
This year’s show, “Below Zero,” featured the students combining music performance, marching, and theater to tell the story of a blizzard.
Groups are judged on musicality, precision, and general effect; Fair Lawn earned a final score of 95.925.
“Our goal this season was to go out to Dayton and make semis and to give ourselves a shot at making finals.
"We never imagined that we would be coming home from WGI World Championships as the PSA World Champions,” said Jamie Szeinberg, the group’s director.
Szeinberg is also the Director of the FLHS Marching Band and Band Director at Memorial Middle School. Paul Levitan, a Radburn Elementary teacher, is the Assistant Director.
“I want to thank not only the current members, parents, and staff but also all of the past members, parents, and staff. It took many years to get here,” he added.
The ensemble began practicing in December immediately after marching band season. Students rehearse together more than 20 hours a week.
The FLIP 2017 roster is comprised of 31 students, including 15 freshmen and five seniors. This make-up means that Fair Lawn is poised to build on its success in the coming seasons.
In other words, they are already planning their next trip to Dayton.