Passionate band and color guard members have the opportunity to continue their love of the performing arts through the indoor color guard and indoor percussion circuit.
The activity is similar to what audiences see from marching band in the fall. The themed shows include elements such as dance, flags, costumes and percussion instruments and are performed inside gymnasiums during winter and spring.
Hillsborough County has 19 schools that participate in the Florida Federation of Colorguards Circuit (FFCC); allowing hundreds of students the chance to participate in the indoor activity.
“Lots of talented students and lots of talented designers put on some amazing productions,” said Tom Slaughter, Math Department Head at Wilson Middle School. Tom also serves the Vice President of the FFCC.
The Freedom High School Winter Guard performed a show called Ghost Town which was inspired by old western classic films. The show explored what it meant to be lost and left behind in an old western ghost town.
“Whenever I perform, I feel like people are watching me for ME. I love the adrenaline feeling I get,” said Edith Collier, Freedom High School color guard member.
Edith and her teammates’ adrenaline reached new heights when the Freedom High School color guard traveled to Dayton, Ohio to compete in Winter Guard International’s (WGI) World Championships. After making finals for the first time in school history, the team earned fourth place in “Scholastic A” class and were then promoted to the “Scholastic Open” division.
There were 69 schools from across the country that competed in “Scholastic A” class at World Championships. Out of those 69, only 20 made it into the final round of the competition. In the end, three out of the top four finalists were from Florida!
“Earning fourth place and then getting bumped up to “Open Class” makes me happy for the team and that we were able to succeed,” said Edith.
A promotion to a new division is a tremendous accomplishment in the activity—similar to a promotion to a higher level within the minor league baseball system. As a member of “Open Class” the students will be asked to achieve more advanced performance elements within their routine.
“They were fantastic. All of those kids and the staff should be very proud of what they accomplished,” explained Tom, who also serves as a judge for WGI.
While the scores allow for instant gratification, members develop interpersonal relationships, persevere through challenges and learn life lessons, which mean the most in the long run.
“You can really benefit from learning how to manage your time, be a part of a team, work collaboratively, and be a part of something that is bigger than yourself,” said G’nique Stokes, Freedom High School color guard member.
“The dedication prepares them for some of the challenges they are going to face as they enter the workforce,” said Tom. “I know that, in the end, they’re all much stronger, better prepared individuals as they leave the activity.”
Winter Guard International – www.wgi.org
Florida Federation of Colorguards Circuit – www.ffcc.org
Freedom High School - http://freedom.mysdhc.org/