MADISON COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) – Sparkman High School’s Indoor Percussion Ensemble practice once, sometimes even twice a day, in preparation for their return to the Winter Guard International World Championship April 20-23.

“The whole season culminates with WGI world championships in Dayton Ohio. Really proud of the students, for the students. It’s really neat to see them able to experience this, not many get to do that,” SHS Percussion Director Jack Albert said.

Their routine this year, titled “So Below,” as they take on the horrors of the Paris catacombs with an eerie piece composed by Albert himself. The band brings the notes on a page to life. This dark story, is a stark contrast to their 2019 performance, “For Now, I am Winter,” which earned them the gold in their division at the world championship.

“My freshman year, we were just trying to place as high as we could and then we ended up winning, which was incredible. It was insane,” now Senior Clara Bagwell said.

Then COVID struck, and competitions were put on pause for multiple years, but the ensemble still has a few seniors, like Clara, who are excited to get the team back on the main stage.

“Everyone here has such a drive, and we all want it so bad,” she said.

This time around though, the Sparkman Indoor Percussion Ensemble is facing a new level of competition. They’ve been upgraded to the World Class division.

“That’s the highest level of competition that exists for indoor percussion. There are only 17 groups worldwide that are world-class, and that includes us now,” Albert explained.

Now, he said, is the time to finish fundraising to get the team and their gear to Dayton later this month.

“We’re always looking for corporate sponsors, independent donors who want to support a group of hardworking kids. All of our funding comes from student fees which are $1,000 per student which is pretty steep. With rising fuel costs and travel costs, we could use anything we can get,” he said.

They plan to make the trip with a semi-truck and trailer, a charter bus and a utility trailer. If you’re interested in donating towards their trip, you can click these links to their Facebook Page or find their contact information on their website.