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THE Dark Sky Legacy Program

Dark Sky Legacy Members are individual donors that commit to contribute a monthly donation to our organization.  The Legacy program also features past members, staff and board members who have made considerable contributions to the Dark Sky organization.  We didn't get to year 12 alone and here you will find some stories about the special people who gave of their time and talents so that Dark Sky could flourish. 

Financial support allows our organization to fund everything from equipment, to meals, top tier staff and custom uniforms, as we journey each season to the WGI World Championships to perform among the top ensembles in the world.

The Page Connection

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Year #1 for Dark Sky was 2008 performing "Fresh Snow" as a PIO from Flagstaff, AZ  The many "Page Connections": Chris Elias - top row 2nd from left (Page percussion instructor while attending NAU, 2008 Sinagua HS Band Director, DSP Board Member), David Authement - top row 3rd from left (Page HS percussion instructor), Sean Oviedo - top row 7th from left (Page HS student),  Jordan Bumguardner  - top row 6th from right (Page HS alumni), Jon Mlyenek - top row 5th from left (Page instructor), Seth Woodard - top row 3rd from right (Page senior/alumni & composer, DSP Creative Director & Founder), Sharon Woodard - top row 2nd from right (Page HS Band & Indoor Percussion Director, DSP Executive Director & Founder), Tanner Woodard - top row right (Page alumni & instructor, DSP drill writer, instructor & Founder),  Megan Parks Tiller  - row 3, 2nd from left (Page alumni), Anthony Pettit row 3, 3rd from left (Page alumni), Robert Batorski - row 3, 5th from left (Page alumni, DSP media & graphic designer), Darin Dacey - row 3 right (Fun Fact: Darin's mother is a Page HS alumni),  Whitney Hansen  - row 2 left (Page alumni), Kendra Oviedo - row 2, 4th from right (Page student), Chelsey Bartholomew - row 2 right (Page alumni, Fun Fact: Chelsey works at Dark Sky Brewery in Flagstaff),  Jessica Drella  - row 1, 2nd from left (Page senior/alumni),  Shelby Fisher Cheney  - row 1, 2nd from right (Page alumni)

Year #1 for Dark Sky was 2008 performing "Fresh Snow" as a PIO from Flagstaff, AZ

The many "Page Connections": Chris Elias - top row 2nd from left (Page percussion instructor while attending NAU, 2008 Sinagua HS Band Director, DSP Board Member), David Authement - top row 3rd from left (Page HS percussion instructor), Sean Oviedo - top row 7th from left (Page HS student), Jordan Bumguardner - top row 6th from right (Page HS alumni), Jon Mlyenek - top row 5th from left (Page instructor), Seth Woodard - top row 3rd from right (Page senior/alumni & composer, DSP Creative Director & Founder), Sharon Woodard - top row 2nd from right (Page HS Band & Indoor Percussion Director, DSP Executive Director & Founder), Tanner Woodard - top row right (Page alumni & instructor, DSP drill writer, instructor & Founder), Megan Parks Tiller - row 3, 2nd from left (Page alumni), Anthony Pettit row 3, 3rd from left (Page alumni), Robert Batorski - row 3, 5th from left (Page alumni, DSP media & graphic designer), Darin Dacey - row 3 right (Fun Fact: Darin's mother is a Page HS alumni), Whitney Hansen - row 2 left (Page alumni), Kendra Oviedo - row 2, 4th from right (Page student), Chelsey Bartholomew - row 2 right (Page alumni, Fun Fact: Chelsey works at Dark Sky Brewery in Flagstaff), Jessica Drella - row 1, 2nd from left (Page senior/alumni), Shelby Fisher Cheney - row 1, 2nd from right (Page alumni)

At the very northern border of Arizona and the western border of the Navajo reservation, sits a small town of 6500 people overlooking the Glen Canyon Dam and Lake Powell.  Page is over 100 miles from the nearest mall and university and it takes busses hours to travel to competitions - aka, it's remote!  Page is also the home town of the Dark Sky founders: Seth, Tanner and Sharon Woodard.  Both Seth and Tanner Woodard graduated from Page HS after years of performing with the band and indoor percussion programs.  While they continuing their studies, Sharon who retired as the band director after 12 years, continued to direct the high school indoor percussion program.  During the summer of 2007, the three Woodards discussed starting an independent program in Arizona.  The decision was made to pursue this "crazy idea" and Sinagua HS, in Flagstaff, AZ with their band director, Chris Elias, agreed to host us.  

Dark Sky came out in Independent Open for the 2008 season competing in the local WGAZ circuit (2-3 hours south of Flagstaff) and traveling to Dayton, OH for the national championships.  It was a pretty ambitious start, but (gulp) it all worked out with DSP earning a performance in the PIO Finals.   Of the 30 original members, 10 were former or current Page HS indoor percussion members, 6 former instructors with a few other connections as well.  How did we survive and thrive that first year?  In large part to the experience of those Page members.  They were the backbone - they had already rehearsed long hours, traveled to dozens of competitions in Denver, Boulder, Las Vegas, Phoenix and Dayton.  There is no doubt that there is a Dark Sky because there was a Page Indoor Percussion.  Talented, hungry musicians from a small, remote corner of the country, many of whom were part of the PSA ensemble that won the 2005 gold medal in Dayton were ready for more.  

Zac in his age-out year was center tenor and tech, traveling from AZ to CA weekly to perform in 2013's "Sound of My Voice"

Zac in his age-out year was center tenor and tech, traveling from AZ to CA weekly to perform in 2013's "Sound of My Voice"

ZAC ESKRIDGE is one of our "heart and soul" members and our first feature member from our original city of Flagstaff, AZ.  Zac auditioned in 2008 while a student at Flagstaff HS.  He earned a spot on the bass line for "Fresh Snow" and went on to participate from 2009 - 20013 on tenors.  Zac stuck with Dark Sky as we made our move in 2010 from Flagstaff to Scottsdale and then traveled over to CA in 2013 when a position opened midseason.  We were thrilled to have Zac age out with us.  He was a popular ensemble member in AZ & CA and audiences loved his performance skills.

Here is a memory shared by the guy we called "Zac Attack": 

"I think my favorite memory was doing our last run through in the church (rehearsal zone) the night before finals in 2013. That final run through marked the final hours of a 6 year journey I shared with the Woodards and so many other staff and ensemble members.  It was a huge chapter of my life coming to a close.  I remember getting set for that last run and thinking about finals the next day. Halfway through the 2nd movement I realized I was headed towards my last performance.  As it started to sink in, I had tears rolling down my cheeks as we finished the last phrase of the show. Coming off the tarp afterwards was a jumble of feelings, but the thing I felt most was pride. I was so incredibly proud of how far this group had come - not only Dark Sky as an organization, but of that 2013 group in particular.  It was a challenging season for the organization moving to CA not knowing for sure if the group would fill all it's sections to KILLING it in finals earning a 4th place finish."  

Zac's last participation in the Indoor activity was as the Ensemble Coordinator for Breakthrough Percussion (AZ) the 2016 season, contributing to their best finish in the PIO division.  Zac is busy these days as the kitchen manager at the Scottsdale California Kitchen restaurant.  He hopes to free up some time in the future to continue contributing to the indoor activity that he loves.

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Come back and visit again as we'll be updating Legacy stories monthly.  

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