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Over 500 members across 10 states and 3 countries.

 
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Our Story

The year is 1994—the early days of what is now WGI Indoor Percussion.  Marching drumlines and front ensembles compete in school cafeterias, on stage, and in auditoriums, wearing marching band uniforms and standing still while they play.  It is a far cry from today’s WGI Indoor Percussion ensembles, but the seeds of competition are being sown in places like California, Colorado, Illinois, Ohio, and middle Tennessee.

Spurred on by early competitors from Nashville, Tennessee—Father Ryan High School (entering competition in 1993, the first year of WGI percussion) and John Overton High School (entering competition in 1994)—Alan Rice sees a void in one particular area of the competition:  the independent class.  While the independent class was created for the 1994 competitive season, three of the inaugural groups were associated with drum and bugle corps and the fourth group was associated with a university.  There was no group representing the large talent pool in the South.  Alan, well-connected in the marching percussion scene throughout the South, tells his friends and former students, Don Click and Chris Finen, that Nashville is the perfect place to fill this gap in the independent class by starting an independent line from Nashville.

At the time, Don has a great front ensemble at Brentwood High School in Brentwood, Tennessee, but not enough students for a full-sized battery.  A little further west, Chris Finen has a great marching battery at Harpeth High School in Kingston Springs, Tennessee, but not enough students for a competitive front ensemble.  In the first of many moments of clarity, Don and Chris combine their schools and create Nashville’s first independent WGI Indoor Drumline:  Music City Mystique.  The talent was not limited to Don and Chris’s high school groups, however.  Players from all over middle Tennessee came out of the woodwork and helped define Mystique’s signature swagger from the first downbeat.  Starting from scratch, Don, Chris, Alan, and countless others helped cobble together Mystique’s first show, “A New Beginning . . .,” and lay the groundwork for what is now the second oldest, and most successful, Independent World Class percussion ensemble in WGI. 

During the next few years Don, Chris, the staff, and the members would build the organization into a family.  Always thinking outside the box and focusing on “what we would want to see in a show,” Mystique won its first world championship in only its second year. The group dared to rethink what an indoor drumline show should sound and look like.  The membership grew, the shows increased the demand and pushed the envelope, and Mystique quickly became a leader in the activity.  The road was not without its bumps, though.  Mystique marched on hand-me-down floors, played on borrowed instruments, and made their own uniforms in Don’s kitchen.  It was a grassroots, all-hands-on-deck approach.

As the visibility of the group increased and WGI Percussion grew in popularity in the 2000s, Music City Mystique became a destination for young talent from middle Tennessee and across the United States.  Members dedicated themselves to joining the ensemble, some driving upwards of eight hours every weekend or moving from Japan, just to experience a season with the McM family.

Now celebrating the organization’s 25th year, Mystique is proud to have left its mark on WGI, proud to have been a family to hundreds of musicians, and proud to push its boundaries into the future.


 
 

1994 - 2000

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History

 
 

A Strong Start

YEAR by YEAR GROWTH

In a very new, very young activity, Music City Mystique accelerated the possibilities of what an indoor drumline show could be. The first production Mystique ever put on the floor, by todays standards, uses primitive “marching band” style drill and next to no body movement. In just one year that was all ditched for faster paced drill and even faster tempos. Was their reason behind it? Maybe not, but we knew it was exciting. From 1995 to 1996, one of the most notable leaps in the growth in the ensemble happens. One of many to come in their 25 year history. Mystiques new found success with faster, more exciting music and drill, eventually lead them to produce their first theatrical styled production in 1998; Vodun. With a narrative based on the traditional practices of West Indian “vodun” (or “voodoo” in America), Mystique expanded its repertoire with musical selections from the opera Carmina Burana. Mystique continued to push the activity with its now signature approach to design and performance for years to come. In five short seasons band uniforms were traded in for homemade costumes, floors went from taped up billboard scraps to painted pieces of art, and show themes went from nonexistent to broadway style productions. Mystique prides itself on it’s home grown talent. Many of the people who run Mystique today can be see in these years… bad hair and all.

Mystique takes home Gold medals in 1996, 1997, and 1998…

It’s a strong start.

 
 
 
 

2001 - 2005

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2001 - 2005

A new Generation

By the year 2001 the generation of members that helped build the success of the last 5 years were watching their ageout years loom closer. In 2001, what was slated to be a fun, pop-styled, Michael Jackson show was traded in the day before auditions for what would become one of the most iconic McM shows in history. Strength & Honor. With no better group of members to make this show come alive than the “super-vets” soon to ageout, this show found its way to the history books taking home McM’s 4th Gold medal. Uniforms, props, and floors were still very much homemade by embracing McM’s “all hands on deck” values during this generation of McM. As well as the passing of the baton to ex-member Shane Gwaltney to take over the show visual program. With the success of 1998 & 2001, Mystique literally inspired the next generation of membership in the stands right in front of them.

By 2004 much of the membership from the early years had become staff members teaching their respective sections the values that they established. Again McM maxed out it’s theatrical intentions and depicted the 7 deadly sins in their 5th Gold medal show “Se7en.”

 
 
 
 

2006 - 2010

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2006 - 2010

new leadership

It had been 10 years under the direction of Don Click. A humble and successful beginning, but after accepting a job out of state it was time to pass the baton to a new director for the first time in the organizations history. 2006 was the hand-off year to the new and current director Josh Nelson. Depicting a traveling sideshow, McM takes home their 6th Gold medal. A great way to welcome in new leadership. Josh would continue to take the ensemble in to uncharted territory beginning the very next year.

In 2007 another notable jump in Mystique and the activity happens. The introduction of body movement was nothing new, it had been lightly used in previous years but never on the scale of 2007. Every moment in the show, every rest, every note played had a body component. This added to the difficulty and contributed to the overall theme of the show. Although the 2007 production E=McM didn’t take home gold the effects of that show can be see around the activity today.

 
 
 
 

2011 - 2015

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2011 - 2015

Higher and faster

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2016 - 2019

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2016 - 2019

YEAR by YEAR GROWTH

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