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“Moving On” Routine … Second Place in World Championships (video)

Renaissance_Unity_Brown_Top“Moving On” Routine Lands 711 ad slurpeeFerndale Independent Percussion Second Place in World Championships (video)

(Crystal A. Proxmire, April 18, 2015)

With songs like “Into Eternity” from the Thor soundtrack, “Going Home” by Anotnin Dvorak and “Demons” by Imagine Dragon, the Ferndale Independent Percussion team’s passionate routine called “Moving On” helped earn them second place in the Winter Guard Inter-nation World Championships.  The story was of a girl who died but had yet to realize it. By the end she found the peace to move on, with “I’m Moving On” by Rascal Flatts giving the melody for her to do so.

There are 35 members in FIP, but only 13 of them live in the Ferndale School District. Others gardenfreshADtravel from as far as Williamston (near Lansing) and Port Huron, while a number are from Hazel Park, Berkley and Chippewa Valley High School.   The students range in age from 12 to 19 who devote their Friday nights and most of their Saturdays to practicing together.

“I love being a part of FIP because of how all of the students can get together and it’s such a family feel,” said Erin Thompson, a Hazel Park junior that plays the bass drum.

“Like I have friends from Berkley and Troy high school now, And I know that no matter what they have my back. FIP is also one of the most challenging things I’ve been a part of, and the marching arts are my passion. There’s never a day that comes around that I’m disappointed to go to FIP. Being a part of FIP is like being apart of another world, we are our own little community for sure.”

FIP’s second place score of 93.800 was topped only by PureFusion Percussion, a group from Boston that earned essential94.125. “Our goal was to go to Dayton for World Champions and place in the top 15 groups. We had no idea we would come home with some medals and an amazing trophy,” said FIP Director Daniel Chunn.

Chunn formed the group two years ago to be a more affordable group than others in SE Michigan. While other groups are over $1,000 per student, FIP members are only charged $550. The group is “independent” of the School District because it is welcoming to everybody, but that also means there is no school district funding. Chunn is a Ferndale High School graduate himself (Class of 2007) who knows the importance of having options available for young musicians.

Grace Schoenknecht is a freshman at Ferndale High who also plays bass drums. “I don’t do FIP because I love basic blocks. I don’t do FIP because I enjoy 20 laps and PT at 10:00 am Saturday Judy_Palmer30yearsmornings. But those two things along with countless hours of practice and tons of hard work are the reasons we as a group can accomplish the things we have,” she said. “The adrenaline coming onto the floor at competitions, listening to the crowd cheer for us is the best feeling in the world.

“I cried after our final run, not because I knew there was something I could have done better and didn’t, but because I couldn’t have done any better. We did great. This entire season has been great for this group.”

Maryann Kukla, cried too. “I remember stepping outside after performing out final show and crying because of how happy I was. We had had an awesome run and I knew everything we put in throughout the whole season was all worth it. All the sore muscles. All the smelly clothes that filled up my laundry basket after a weekend. All the 12 hour rehearsals. All the bruises that filled my arms from playing cymbals. Everything was worth it. Nothing else could have made me dickeys_graduation_ad_ferndalehappier or more proud than seeing my director’s face when he talked about his dreams for this group,” she said. Kukla is a freshman at Grosse Ile High School.

Jacob Chludzinski of Chippewa Valley High School came back for a second year of playing the snare. “No words could accurately describe the atmosphere at FIP. Everyone is so different and come from so many backgrounds, but when it’s time to drum we all have the same goal of being the best group we can and putting on the performance that all will enjoy. This group is so special because we started from nothing and through passion, dedication, and great leadership we were able to make magic happen in just two short years. There isn’t any other group that I would have wanted to be with.”

Video of their “Moving On” performance can be viewed at:

Follow along with FIP’s performances on Facebook at, and reach out if you’d like to donate.

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