Fifty-five guard groups were supposed to toss rifles, swing flags and perform choreography for an audience full of hundreds of strangers at the annual Greenwood Winter Guard Invitational last Saturday. But, the competition was cancelled due to the winter storm that swept across Indiana
Instead, Winter Guard members must focus on their next competition. Winter Guard differs from the color guard that performs during the marching season.
“During marching season, you’re with the band,” senior Erika Marks said. “The show is 10 minutes long, outside and on the football field. With Winter Guard, you’re inside, the show’s half the time and it’s just the guard. Usually the tricks are harder, and the work is more intense. Also, the music is actual songs and not the band playing.”
There are six competitive classes in IHSCGA: Cadet, Regional A, Divisional Regional A, A, Open, and World Class. The GHS guard competes in Cadet, Regional A and Open Class. Seniors Montana Rodgers and Marks are part of Open Class.
“For Winter Guard, it’s harder because you can do a lot more trick tosses,” Rogers said. “It’s also more difficult choreography because it’s easier to do things inside versus outside with the wind.”
Guard members have been rehearsing since November; the Cadet Guard practices Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and some Saturdays. Practice is vital because making mistakes is more obvious during the Winter Guard season.
“I’d say catching everything is the hardest part,” Marks said. “It’s really intense, especially if you have solos, and it’s just you. During marching season, it’s easier to get away with messing up because you blend with the others. But with Winter Guard, when you drop, it’s a lot more obvious.”
Before the event was cancelled, the guard director was enthusiastic about the opportunity to perform at GHS.
“Most groups do not get a chance to perform for an audience in their home gym, and we are very fortunate to have that experience,” Ms. Samantha Kilbourne, guard director, said. “This gives the members a chance to feel comfortable with their show while having the support of alumni, family and friends in the audience.”
High school band members help out each year to ensure the invitational runs smoothly.
“It’s crazy,” junior Arianha Rodriguez said. “There lots of talented performers, but there are also a lot of guard parents who are really pushy. I’ve had to deal with a lot of mean people, but others are really supportive. In general, the environment is usually crazy.”
Rodriguez was supposed to monitor who entered the gym.
“As gym security, I check people’s bands because different colored bands mean you can go through different doors,” Rodriguez said. “One time, we had an argument with a lady who didn’t understand, though.”
Each guard has a set goal to reach by the end of the season.
“The Cadet guard is wanting to achieve a gold rating by their last show, which they received for the first time last winter season,” Ms. Kilbourne said. “The Regional A guard has a goal of placing high enough in their class to qualify for State Finals and to end the season in a higher placement. The Open guard is wanting to enhance our performance abilities and to reach a new level that we have not tried before. Our end goal is to place in the Top 3 at State Finals and to make WGI Finals in Dayton, Ohio in April.”