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Posted 4-20-16
WGI 2016

Tama Continues to Impress at WGI

The 2016 WGI Indoor Marching Percussion World Championships in Dayton, Ohio, held April 14, 15, and 16, was another banner event for Tama. Nine participating ensembles performed on Tama instruments, up from five in 2015. Judging by the increased foot traffic in the Tama booth in the WGI Marketplace tent, the number is destined to continue to grow come 2017, as Tama enters its fifth year in the marching percussion market.

In the Scholastic World Class Finals, Avon HS (Indiana) came closest to breaking the World Class medals monopoly enjoyed by units from southern California, placing 4th. Homestead HS (California) finished in 12th and Milton HS (Georgia) placed 15th in the Finals. Foothill HS (Nevada) placed 8th and Downington HS (Pennsylvania) finished 13th in the Scholastic Class A Finals. Two other Tama lines participated in the Scholastic A Prelims, Unionville HS and Hempfield HS, (both from Pennsylvania). Altitude Percussion (Colorado) participated in the Independent Open Class.

WGI Gallery

Members, instructors, and fans of the record number of 225 participating drum lines poured into the tent to check out the latest developments in the world of marching percussion. And once in the tent, the stunning number of new developments exhibited in the Tama booth captivated the interest of many. Tom and Catherine Float, at the forefront of Tama’s marching percussion developments, were kept busy explaining and demonstrating the features of the displayed instruments, though the percussionists in the booth were all-too-willing to check out the instruments themselves, keeping the booth humming with the sound of keyboards and drums.

On display was the full line of Tama keyboard instruments, developed for the field and floor AND concert use. These are not instruments that would “make do” in a concert hall; these are instruments that would put many concert-specific keyboards to shame. But of special note for marching percussion use are the field frames that come standard with the instruments. Traditionally field frames have been functional, but lacking elegance—making the keyboards appear more industrial than musical. Tama’s frames are as sleek and aesthetically satisfying as they are indestructible. The curved end-rails are integrated into the overall design, rather than added on, and allow an infinite variety of additional accessories to be mounted in any configuration. The ergonomic handgrips are combined with 8-inch no-flat tires, making it a joy to move the Tama keyboards over any terrain.

In addition to the looks and practically of the frames, the keyboard instruments proved to be powerfully alluring to those passing by. Many couldn’t resist the urge to play on the marimbas and xylophones with interchangeable synthetic or rosewood bars, or the gold vibraphones that (unlike many other vibes designed for marching percussion) came standard with included motors.

Since many had never seen a pedal glockenspiel, much less a full three-octave set of orchestra bells, it was essential that people experimented with the pedal feature. Due to the addition of resonators, the keyboard delivers a sound unparalleled in the market. In addition, the instrument comes standard with three accessory clamps that feature Tama’s unique memory lock system. Also available for this instrument are stand or rack mounts for the addition of a set of steel bells and/or a piccolo xylophone.

Tama’s state-of-the-art series of drums with all-chrome hardware and marching stands and carriers were particularly popular with those visiting the display. Available in maple or birch/bubinga shells, these drums highlighted the long list of desirable features now available only from Tama. Visitors were impressed with Tama’s new line of single tenor and multiple tenor accessory drums that allow drummers to easily switch from one instrument to another using the same carrier or stand. This system answers the needs of drum lines that are increasingly adding these accessory drums for a unique sound and look. As for the look part, all Tama drums are available in a variety of lacquer finishes that are as visually striking as the finishes are durable.

The new StarLight series of drums were prominently featured as well, representing Tama’s commitment to provide economically affordable and lightweight options to younger bands and parade-style lines. Built with birch shells, the StarLight drums include many of the features found in Tama’s state-of-the-art series drums. The use of all-chrome hardware demonstrates Tama’s commitment to offering drums that are both affordable and worthy of the Tama name. Snare drums in this series utilize wire snares for a traditional marching drum sound, and tenor drums allow for angle adjustment to customize the playing position for drummers of all heights. Single tenor and multiple tenor accessory drums are also available.

On display was the full line of Tama by Kanstul Brass Instruments, which garnered rave reviews from brass players for depth of sound and ease-of-playing. The premiere line of Kanstul brass has long been regarded as the finest brass in the world, individually hand-crafted in America by some of the finest brass craftsmen around. New for 2016, the Tama marching baritones offer the option of a large shank for large bore horns, (perfect for an orchestral sound), or a small shank with a smaller bore. Also new is the 4/4 Convertible 4-valve tuba.

The Kanstul horns are perfect for DCI lines, high school and college bands, and ensembles participating in WGI Winds. Both Genesis and Spirit of Atlanta are playing on these horns for the 2016 DCI season, and the instruments are the only ones performed on by both the United States Marine Corps Drum and Bugle Corps and the United States Air Force Academy Drum and Bugle Corps.

The booth in Dayton marked the first time Tama displayed a full line of drums, keyboard percussion, and brass instruments. With the additional of the Tama by Kanstul line of brass instruments and the full line of field and floor mallet keyboards to the line of Tama drums, Tama is now a one-stop shop for marching bands, drum lines, drum corps, and WGI Winds. And one should not forget Tama’s legendary line of drum sets, which have long been recognized for innovation, sound quality, durability.

Tama also has a unique series of percussion instruments that now includes a chromatic octave of concert toms, octobans, a cocktail jam kit, and gong bass drums. The Tama catalog of instruments is growing exponentially each year, and some of the new developments planned for the near future are bound to grab the attention of drummers, music directors, and arrangers alike.

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