Noblesville High School winter percussion, color guard march on


Noblesville High School’s winter band programs are making strides. The NHS winter color guard soon will compete in the state finals and national semifinals, and the winter percussion group will perform at an international Rube Goldberg Society livestream event April 10. Rube Goldberg was an American cartoonist who satirized American preoccupation with technology.

“Our color guard competes in winter as the winter color guard and they do choreography to music, and then we have winter percussion, which is the marching percussion, and they do a marching show all on their own that’s just the percussion,” NHS Director of Bands Eric Thornbury said. “Both of these groups are competing all winter long and both (are) having a really awesome season with great success.”

The winter guard qualified for the national semifinals and will compete virtually with 25 other semifinalists with a video submission. The color guard also will compete in the Indiana state finals April 10 in person. It is seeded second in that event.

“Both of our groups are some of the best in Indiana,” Thornbury said.

The winter percussion group recently placed third in the state competition, but the students aren’t finished yet. The group’s performance is based on a Rube Goldberg device, which is a chain-reaction machine designed to perform a simple task. Thornbury reached out to the Rube Goldberg Society to let the society know what the percussion group was doing.

“I told them we were doing a show based on Rube Goldberg, and they got right back with me and were super excited,” Thornury said. “The person running the organization right now is Rube Goldberg’s granddaughter, and the kids got to Zoom with her.”

Each year, the Rube Goldberg Society announces an international competition in which teams have a year to build a machine that can execute a specific task.

“The tasks are things like turn off a light or apply a Band-Aid, and this year, the task was to shake and pour a box of Nerds candy,” Thornbury said. “They wanted us to be a part of it.”

The Rube Goldberg Society traditionally announces the winner at an in-person event, but this year the event will be virtual. The NHS winter percussion group performed a song that will play prior to the winner being announced.

“We are special guests performing at it,” Thornbury said.

The Rube Goldberg Society event also is April 10.

Thornbury lauded the NHS band staff for the students’ exceptional performances, specifically color guard director Jeff Welsh and percussion director Corey Denham.

“It takes a village, and we have so much help with the parent volunteers, the staff, the directors,” Thornbury said. “I’ve been in several school systems, and really the amount of support for music in Noblesville is unprecedented by our administration and our whole community. It’s not like this everywhere.”

For more about NHS’ music programs, visit


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