Winter Guard: What to Know About it


Faith Johnson

While most know about color guard, it doesn’t stop there after marching band season. Where color guard ends, winter guard begins. Winter guard is the solo version of color guard; as in, they do not compete with the marching band. They also have more equipment. It is not just flags and rifles, but there are sabers too. Furthermore, they have bigger, more prominent choreography then their counterparts, probably because they don’t have to share the spotlight with band. 

Whitewater’s current team is quite fresh, with most of the team just joining this year. Although the team might be new, they have formed together almost seamlessly. Any problem that may pop up, they work hard to overcome it. Brianna Foster, a member on the weapons line, had this to say about the team, “I like the[m]. I like the sport. Being on the team, it’s just like a second family [because] we’re all so close…we all love each other, care for each other, and we’re always there for each other whenever something happens.” It is a warm environment to be in, where everyone is welcomed and accepted. 

There are not only new members on the winter guard, but their coach-Deon Williams- has also just started at Whitewater. He’s been here for eight months and is doing a fantastic job coaching the students. He is not only new to Whitewater but also Georgia. He came from Louisiana and he loves it here so far. “I like everything about [being here]. The only thing is I’m missing Mardi Gras…” Deon states. He may be a fish out of water, but this fish brings experience and wisdom. He works very well with the winter guard team, allowing them a voice in where the direction of the performance should go and freedom to express their characters how they want to. 

The theme for this year’s performance is French mimes and the varying emotions from them. Deon explained, “I didn’t come up with this at first. I had a whole ‘nother idea and a whole nother concept I wanted to do. When I spoke to the team during the summer, they wanted to do an abstract/clownish/circus show. Well, I don’t care for clowns too much, so I scaled it down to mimes.” It worked out well, with everything from the choreography to the costumes turning out amazing. The choreography has each individual expressing a different feeling. Moreover, the costumes were designed by Thompson’s Creation, someone who Deon has worked with before. When looking for ideas for costumes, he “search[es] for pictures for [his] mood board.” He found various mismatches of materials, aesthetic, and ideas which he then shares with the designer who then forms them into the costumes.

When they went to their first competition, it turned out much better than anyone could’ve expected. They were so good that they were bumped to the next level. At the next competition, they were again moved. They are judged on: condition of equipment, their performance, how each member catches their equipment, and each members’ facial expressions during the performance. With them being graded on all this, plus being new and having to begin from scratch, getting bumped is quite a momentous deal, especially twice. Coach Deon Williams commented, “I didn’t think we would be as strong as we currently are, so I put them in a lower class-a class that’s suitable for newer performers-and we did our first performance, and we scored a 75 while 2nd place had a 67. [The judges] didn’t like that too much, so they were like ‘we’re going to move you to another class.’” They worked hard for it, practicing two and sometimes three times a week for four hours since November. They never stopped. Even when Deon wasn’t able to be there, the team was able to operate without him. 

Their big and final competition is the first week of April, and it is the most important. Up until then, the competitions have been more to review and critique the teams. This would be the one that decides who is the best out of their level. However, this team has nothing to worry about. With a close-knit, skilled team and a great coach, they will win with flying colors.