The calendar turns to March, the FFCC Percussion and Winds Focus Events are in the past, and FFCC Color Guards start to make their final regular season appearances at FFCC shows. Why is this significant? Well, all instructors know that this means their ensemble is about to be seeded for FFCC Championships in Daytona Beach. But, how much does seeding really matter? And if it doesn’t matter, why do we do seed in the first place? Hopefully this page will provide some clarifications of how seeding works, and what it’s actual purpose is.
A thorough description of the seeding process can be found in the FFCC Policy Manual. In summary, if a class of competition has 9 or more competitors, it is subject to seeding. If a class has less than 9 competitors, seeding is not used, and the performance order at FFCC Championships is completely random.
Color Guard ensembles are seeded based on their most recent score received at an FFCC event, with growth each week accounted for by a factor of 2. Percussion and Winds ensembles are seeded based on an average of their Percussion/Winds Premiere Score and their Percussion/Winds Focus Score (highest received…in Prelims OR Finals). Percussion and Winds ensembles that use a Focus score from the “early” Focus event receive an addition of 2 points to their Focus score to account for growth. Once seeded, the ensembles are grouped into three performance blocks based on their seeding scores. Performance order for Championships is then randomized within those blocks.
So, why do we seed? The common perception is that the seeding is in place to “help” the judges get the competitors in the right order. However, this is not true at all in today’s activity. Judges do not lock their scores for any class of competition until all ensembles have performed. This gives the judge more tools and options to get the ranking and rating right, no matter what the performance order happens to be. Judges are comfortable with this process and understand their captions extensively enough to confidently rate and rank a group where they belong regardless of performance order. In the past, ensembles have medaled and even won FFCC Championships divisions from all blocks of competition. Seeding blocks are not even a topic of discussion for the judges as the mantra of “judge the show of the day” has been, and remains a universal theme in our activity.
So, the question still persists, why do we seed? The answer rests in the realization that the FFCC Championships is first and foremost a spectator event. Ticket buyers come from near and far to enjoy the excitement of our activity at our performers’ ultimate show. Seeding creates a general trend upward in the quality level of the participants. This creates a crescendo of excitement as the anticipation of what the next ensemble will bring to the floor grows with each performance. However, it must be clarified, this trend is only a general one. It is not a linear trend. There are always outliers to the trend and those outliers sometimes generate the most memorable experiences at FFCC Championships (Timber Creek – Scholastic A Percussion in 2015…Look it up!). This mirrors the same theory we follow by scheduling our younger divisions first and then growing to the more experienced divisions as the weekend goes along.
Every performance by every performer at FFCC Championships is a special moment. No matter their seeding, or final placement, the work and dedication that young person has dedicated to their craft is something that we will celebrate each year at FFCC Championships. Creating an exciting event, with an enthusiastic audience that celebrates each performer in a world-class arena is the mission of our FFCC Championships event. Seeding creates another layer of excitement to the weekend. We salute every performer in the FFCC who is now starting to turn their attention towards FFCC Championships. The excitement of this event is something you deserve and hope you will enjoy. Get ready…there are going to be amazing performances in Daytona Beach over Championships weekend. Make your plans to be there to experience and celebrate the amazing performers of the FFCC.
– Tom Slaughter, FFCC Vice President / Chief Judge, March 2016