Winter Guard kicks off season with new shows and staff

February 14, 2019 — by Sofia Jones and Connie Liang

The doors to the music building open to the scene of 16 students practicing on a large black practice floor spread across the entire band floor. A somber poem is recited with piano music as the varsity team spins flags and tosses rifles, all while keeping up with the tempo. This is a sure sign that a new Winter Guard season is underway.

In the fall, Color Guard members rehearsed and performed the marching band show “A Dream Within.” Now, only a few months later, they are starting rehearsals for Winter Guard, which is indoors and solely focuses on the choreography of the Color Guard members.

Varsity and JV teams have separate themes: JV’s show is entitled “Walking on Sunshine,” and varsity’s show is entitled “I Heard a Fly Buzz.”

The varsity team’s show revolves around rediscovering the life and works of poet Emily Dickinson — who gradually became a social recluse later in her life, wishing for her pieces to stay hidden after her death. Specifically, the show will be based on “I heard a Fly buzz—when I died,” one of Dickinson's best known poems.

Senior Guard member Hillary Zhou was initially surprised by the theme, which was chosen by Guard staff Jazz Legaspi, Gustavo Morales and Brittany Bennett.

“When I first heard this theme, I was like ‘We’re doing a poem. I’ve done this in English. Do I need to do it again?’ But I think it’s taking a different approach,” Zhou said.

Unlike previous years, Zhou describes the theme as “seeking someone else out” whereas previous shows were more concrete, focusing on love, reaching goals and other clear-to-follow topics. This year’s show leaves more to the imagination of those who watch because it represents the ambiguity in Dickinson's own life.

To convey the more serious tone, the main colors of the show are black and blue. Props include a plexi-glass door with a wooden frame, a chair and a desk.

On the other hand, the JV theme is more lighthearted, centering around the song, “Walking on Sunshine” by Katrina & The Waves. The uniforms will be yellow and navy, and the show will reuse equipment from the fall marching band show.

Sophomore Grace Wang said in order to create a cohesive group performance, the JV team must learn how to focus during practice. She also believes the JV team will have to step it up this season.

“This year’s JV is being challenged more,” Wang said. “I remember last year we had a lot more new people. We got really easy flag choreography, but this year, the instructor is trying to host longer practices and more complex routines.”

Currently, scheduling space and times to practice for both teams is a challenge. Band and orchestra often occupy the music room and the small gym is often used by winter or spring sports teams. Despite this, the team performed well at their first competition.

Their first competitive show was on Jan. 26 at James Logan High School in Union City. The varsity team placed second out of four teams  while JV placed second out of 15 teams.

Their second show was on Feb. 9 at Independence High School in San Jose. The varsity team again placed second, but won in the equipment and movement category.

Members are optimistic about the season, which will lead up to another trip in March to the Winter Guard International World Championship in Dayton, Ohio, where they also went last year.

Senior Alex Ruemmler said, “It’s bittersweet knowing that this is my last season, but we have a great team this year and we’re all really close, so I can’t wait for whatever will happen throughout the season.”


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