Color guard teams from Summerville and Ashley Ridge high schools begin competing today for world titles in the 2013 Winter Guard International World Championships in Dayton, Ohio. The event continues through Saturday.
Winter Guard is a color guard competition held indoors without the marching band, said Ben Hipp, director of the 18-member state champion Summerville Winter Guard team that is representing the school in the worlds for the 10th straight year. They compete in the Scholastic Open division.
Ashley Ridge’s 10-member team, competing in Scholastic A class, is going for the first time. The two teams traveled together to Dayton. Both teams qualified through performances in regional competitions held in Raleigh and Richmond, Va.
Hipp said he is excited to be joined by Ashley Ridge’s color guard, which is directed by his childhood friend, Jessica Hinkel.
As many as 500 teams compete in the Winter Guard World Championships. Summerville has finished as high as 10th place (15 teams make the finals), and finished 17th several times, missing the finals by two-tenths to four-tenths of a point.
“Winter Guard is just the color guard ... the flags, the rifles, the sabers, the props. We use pre-recorded music,” said Hipp, who has been with the Summerville program for the past seven years. “You will hear everything from Bach and Beethoven to Top 40 music, depending on the group’s program and concept. It’s supposed to be the artsy side of marching band.”
Hipp said the marching band and color guards work together through football season, performing at games and in competitions. When marching band ends, the squad takes a few weeks off before planning its Winter Guard show.
Hipp said the Summerville show is titled “My Love” and is based on the music by Sia from the “Twilight” soundtracks. He said it was inspired by a faculty member whose grandmother had been sick and passed along a box of old letters from her husband.
“We all felt this was a story we had to tell. We had (color guard members) go out and talk to their grandmothers, great-grandmothers and aunts and get them to share a letter so they would have their own emotional attachment to this project,” Hipp said.
“It’s a sepia photo that comes to life throughout the show. Our hope is that we leave you with a warm, comfortable feeling when the show is over, that you’ve been through an emotional journey.”
Hinkel said Ashley Ridge’s show, “Both Sides Now,” comes from the Joni Mitchell song and plays on the idea of both sides, the beginning and end. There are two shades of costumes, and it is a pretty show, she said.
“It’s kind of a coming out party for us. It’s exciting to go for the first time, and we’re really looking forward to it. It will be a wonderful experience for our team,” said Hinkel, who has been to the event herself but not with Ashley Ridge.
“Seeing their reaction to being there for the first time. It’s such a huge event, and to get to watch and see all those groups. I would like for us to have a great performance in preliminaries and see if we are able to get into the semifinals.”