BY KENDYL COUNTS
Nerves ran high as the members of Cooper City High School’s varsity winter guard prepared to compete at the South Florida Winterguard Association’s Mid-Season Exposition, held at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on March 11th, 2017. The mid-season exposition was their second-to-last local competition, and with the end of the season on the horizon, they knew that this show had to be their best one yet.
“It’s pretty intimidating because there are a lot of people watching in the gym, and you know that,” junior McKayla Kraft said. “Suddenly you’re outside the doors and you can hear people screaming for the group ahead of you, and you wonder if you’re going to make the audience as excited as this past group did.”
After warming up as usual, the group took to the floor and rose to the occasion with a routine that was as artful as it was ominous. Entitled “Everything Must Change”, their performance served as a warning against the destruction being inflicted upon the environment by human activities.
“Our show demonstrated how our world will be if we don’t save it, and what it could be if we tried,” junior Thomas Caetano said.
The show begins with a ripple, which symbolizes how actions toward the natural world amplify whether they’re beneficial or not. Flowing from one piece of drill to the next, the color guard members embraced the peaceful, lyrical qualities of their routine. A tree coming back to life at the end of the performance demonstrated the hope still left, closing out their exposition on a positive note.
Impressed by their skill and moved by their message, the judges gave the CCHS Winter Guard the first place title, proving that hard work tends to be rewarded.
“When we got first place, I was shocked, not from doubtfulness of our performance, but just from how much work we put into our show and [how] it’s starting to pay off,” Caetano said.
Color guard members attend two four hour long practices a week, with an extra rehearsal on Saturday if they aren’t competing. During the first hour of practice, the winterguard goes back to the basics, focusing on techniques to ensure that members are catching their rifles and flags properly. Class time is also spent working on the performance so that the members are confident with their routine; they can often be found spinning their flags under the red awning during fourth hour.
Though it’s tempting to take home the first place trophy and call it a day, the varsity winterguard knows that the season isn’t over yet. With only one more competition before regional finals in Orlando, there is still a lot of work to be done.
“The winter season is coming to an end, which means [that] the biggest competitions are coming up,” senior Justine Russo said. “That’s what I am looking forward to.”