By JENNIFER MEIER
THE GOSHEN NEWS
EDITOR’S NOTE: Several local Winter Guards are featured here and on A5. Northridge is absent since it has already been featured.
GOSHEN — Winter Guard is winding down at Goshen High School.
The Cadet group has completed its season’s performances. Junior varsity is preparing for finals and the varsity group is on their way to preliminary competition.
While each group performs different dances, different rifle, saber and flag skills to different music, there is one constant — the theme.
The contemporary Christian music used for each routine sets the stage for three uplifting messages, expressed through dance.
“Takesha Stoll, our winter guard director, chose the music to bring out a message,” said vice president of the Goshen Band Boosters and guard mom Dee Creviston. “A lot of what we are trying to say is to keep moving on, give it to God and stay positive.”
Creviston said many of the Elkhart County winter guards use Christian music as a backdrop.
“Once you get out of the county, you do hear a lot of secular and classical music,” Creviston said.
The GHS Varsity Winter Guard is practicing for preliminary competition at Decatur Central High School this weekend. If they qualify as top five in their group, they will head to state finals on March 23 at Center Grove High School in Indianapolis.
“Since they have been state finalists for the past five years, we are really hoping they will qualify this year as well,” Creviston said.
Around 45 Winter Guards will be competing in Class A preliminaries. The top 20 guards move on to state finals.
Typically, the varsity guard is made up of high school students. Through a skills test, the director places the girls in one of the three groups.
“This year we have two eighth-graders and one third-grader in our group of 12! She’s just adorable and has some incredible dancing skills,” said Creviston of the 9-year-old.
The varsity guard is performing to “Suitcases,” a contemporary Christian song by Dara Maclean.
“The main verse is, ‘You can’t run when you’re holding suitcases; It’s a new day, throw away your mistakes; open up your heart; lay down your guard, you don’t have to be afraid,’” Creviston said. “With the performance they are trying to say that you can’t go forward with a bunch of baggage — whether it’s stress or other issues. They weigh you down, like gravity. So give it to God and keep moving.”
For three weeks in a row, the varsity guard has placed in the top five during competitions and Creviston said the last performance received the highest score yet.
Eleven girls make up the GHS Junior Varsity Winter Guard, one of the smaller JV groups in recent years.
“These girls are typically made up of sixth through ninth-graders,” Creviston said. “They are really working on their spins and tosses and technical ballet skills.”
The group is performing to “Today” by Christian contemporary artist Kirk Franklin.
“The theme is that yesterday is over and today is a new day. God leads us through and we need to follow the positive side,” Creviston said.
In their division, the winter guards are awarded with a bronze, silver or gold medal.
“They’ve held silvers all season and have scored higher each week,” Creviston said. “They are doing fantastic.”
The guards’ last performance will be at Divisional Finals, March 16 at Center Grove High School.
With two performances under their belts, the beginning guard or Cadet group finished their season at the GHS Winter Guard Invitational in February.
“There are 30 girls in this guard. They are usually in grades three to six,” Creviston said. “These girls are learning the basics — how to spin a flag, how to dance. They did very well.”
Music by Christian artist Geoff Moore provided the backdrop for their performance of “Homerun.”
By JENNIFER MEIER
BENTON — Fairfield High School has had a Winter Guard for decades, and although Kali Marquart has only been director for one year, and part of the guard program for three years, she’s had a lot of experience.
“I graduated from Fairfield and was a guard member for six years,” Marquart said.
With a combined junior and senior high school, Marquart said she has the opportunity to start training the girls at a young age and can work with them throughout their school career.
The guard moved from a seven-year stint in Class A to Class AA this year.
“Of the 20 girls in the guard, 75 percent of them are freshmen,” Marquart said. “And they are doing very well. They are handling things very maturely.”
The Fairfield Winter Guard has placed in most of the season’s competitions with a performance called “Rest” from a song titled “Restless” by Christian and alternative rock band Switchfoot.
“The girls start out with pillows that don’t match the outfits they are wearing,” Marquart said. “By the end they have the right ones.”
After a weekend break, the guard heads to Divisional Finals, March 16 at Mooresville High School.
By JENNIFER MEIER
NAPPANEE — For the first year, NorthWood High School Winter Guard Director Brittany Miller offered a Cadet class for middle schoolers.
“We have eight girls and I am so impressed with them,” Miller said. “There is so much benefit to having this group. They can learn skills at an easier pace. They can develop a love for this activity and hopefully move up in the guard program.”
Contemporary Christian artist Britt Nicole provides the music and the name for the performance — “Gold”
“It’s really about how we are all created gold — we are all good in His eyes,” Miller said. “It’s an inspirational message for young girls.”
The Cadet Winter Guard performed several times during the season in a non-competitive environment.
Miller, in her second year of directing the color and winter guards, couldn’t be more pleased with the NHS Varsity Guard’s growth and performance over the past two years.
“It’s a very young program. We have 10 girls and only three of them are sophomores — the rest are in middle school,” Miller said. “We’ve been ranked in the top five every week.”
The Regional A guard performs dance, flags, rifles, and saber to “This is Not the End” by Christian band Gungor.
“The theme is that we are on a journey. There is always hope, there is always light no matter how dark it may be at the moment,” Miller said.
The Varsity Guard has Divisional Finals March 16 at Center Grove High School in Indianapolis.
“Their skills level keeps increasing and they are growing and maturing,” Miller said. “These girls have exceeded all my expectations.”