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Mt. Juliet, TN – April 14, 2014 –Three days, three venues, eight performing classes and special exhibition performances show very clearly that those who participate in the Winter Guard International Sport of the Arts are driven, inspired and banded together in the pursuit of excellence. The competitive part of the event is always a strong factor in the appeal of the activity, but this year we witnessed the spiritual and emotional side of the people at its center. Specifically the parents, staff, instructors, directors and most importantly the performing members themselves.
Mapex and Majestic set out to experience the 2014 WGI World Championship Finals by interacting with the people involved and found examples of every human emotion connecting participants in many different ways. There was gratitude from instructors and directors for all contributions to the success of their ensembles, there was hype and excitement felt by the performers and a true sense of family and community.
Many who touch or are touched by this activity shared stories of coming together through their musical experiences. From snare drummers to truck drivers, from program directors to volunteers, from veterans performers to new young players hungry for more, the common thread among them is the desire to experience the rewards of months of hard work, and furthermore,  the desire to experience these rewards together. To get, and be “banded”.
The appearance of the FREE Players Drumline, from Old Bethpage, New York, marked the historic, first ever, appearance of an all special needs drumline to perform at the WGI Championships.  The applause and standing ovation started even before the count off was given, causing the members to smile from ear to ear and look around with amazement and sheer awe at the display of love and support. They immediately labored to hear the voice of Brian Calhoun as he shouted the count off within the roar of a very exuberant WGI audience. As the members executed drill, solos, features and solid drumming that they had so diligently prepared, the entire crowd at the University of Dayton Arena joined in the emotion of their performance. This was perhaps the most real and raw example of what being “banded” is and should be.
Yes, the WGI World Championships are a competition, but what is taken away by all who experience its thrill is far more significant than any medal or other prize. It is a deep sense of accomplishment and belonging, added to engrained habits and skills that will serve them for years to come. Embodied by friendships that last a lifetime, bonds formed through shared experience with music at its core. Mapex Drums and Majestic Percussion take great pride in being a part of this special community and would like to congratulate all who “banded” in their efforts to achieve during the 2014 WGI season. 
For Banded Stories from Mapex & Majestic Partner Ensembles visit: http://www.youtube.com/user/MapexDrumsUSA
For More Information on Mapex Drums visit: http://usa.mapexdrums.com/
For More Information on Majestic Percussion visit: http://www.majesticpercussion.com/
For More Information on WGI Sport of the Arts visit:http://wgi.org/
For More Information on the FREE Players Drumline and their historic WGI appearancevisit: http://www.wgi.org/news/09252013-The-FREE-Players-Plan-Dayton-Performance.html
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