Band and guard captivate crowd at performances


courtesy of Anthony C Tsantrizos

Sophomore Jaqueline Welsh waves her flags to the choreography during the performance at the Loudoun Valley competition. The color of the flags represents the emotions of an artist.

Elizabeth Thompson, Features Editor

Drum beats set the rhythm of a hundred feet marching or dancing in time, monitoring the cadence of every twirling flag and belting note.

The apparent ease with which the marching band and color guard move through their performance during half time is a reflection of hours of meticulous work and dedication. Their season begins weeks before school and dips into the start of November, learning and fine-tuning the show along the way, sometimes under difficult conditions.

“Band camp is rough because it’s a combination of both the long hours and the heat,” said senior Mandy Michel. “[The hardest part] is keeping your focus during that time because you have to be concentrated on what we’re doing or else it’s just a waste of time.”

With numerous moving parts and the combination of band and color guard, everyone’s focus is required in order to make the show flow together.

“Running around a field for eight minutes is tiring. We practice a lot, so building that endurance is what helps me go through the show physically,” said senior Vivian Santiago. “I try not to let my mind stray while I’m at it; I try to just think about what I’m going to do next, watching the drum majors, making sure I’m in time; things like that [are] what [keep] me focused.”

Ultimately, the effort is worth accomplishing the finished product: an entertaining performance enjoyed by the whole student body. This year’s show is no different.

“The theme is Masterpiece.” said sophomore Jaqueline Welsh. “It’s about artwork and the emotions that an artist goes through while creating their art.”

In contrast to the militaristic, dystopian theme of last year’s show, this year’s takes on the lighter tone of beauty and expression. It’s music is less complex with fewer dramatic lapses, but is still varied to show the different stages of emotion that play into a piece of art. It is centered more around visuals such as posters of famous paintings, the guard’s colorful costumes that resemble a canvas marked by paint, and the different flags representing each phase of expression that coincide with tonal changes in the music.

Repeating a show over and over again requires a great deal of patience between the band and color guard. From memorizing every position, choreographed maneuver, note, spin, and toss, members of both groups draw motivation from different sources.

“Impressing people; having people leave thinking ‘wow that was really cool, I want to do that someday’ [motivates me],” said junior Charlie Juster.

For some, it is the simple joy of performing; others, the fear of failure that drives their excellence, but whatever the case, the Marching Spartans and the Color Guard always manage to succeed in their endeavors and are never lacking in school spirit despite not being part of the student section.

“Marching Band is a really tight-knit community,” said freshman Rachel Safarian “You always have people with you.”

In a way, marching band and color guard have formed their own unique culture with songs, chants, and pre-performance traditions and are part of the main event at competitions and football games. They are not mere members of the audience but play an active role in hyping fellow students to show school spirit WS is known for.

When the drums start rolling, the voices of WS carry their tunes.