Winter Guard and Percussion seasons kick off with adjustments

December 20, 2010 — by Kelly Liu and Michelle Shu

The music department has begun its Winter Guard season along with a reintroduced similar winter activity: Winter Percussion.

According to Michael Boitz, chair of the music department, Winter Guard and Winter Percussion are both similar to the athletic part of marching band. The only difference is that Winter Guard is dance movement with equipment and Winter Percussion is movement with percussion instruments.

Many committed students have dedicated themselves to these activities: 20 students enrolled in Winter Guard and approximately 26 for Winter Percussion. Students of all levels are welcomed, even without a musical or dance background, music director Seth Jones said.

Winter Percussion is led by off-campus instructor Kohei Mizushima who graduated from Monta Vista High School, performed in the Santa Clara Vanguard and taught various high schools and groups, including the Santa Clara Vanguard Cadets, for about 10 years. The group is made up of a battery section for students who march actively on the floor, and a pit section for students who play instruments in place at the front of the floor.

“We’re calling the show ‘Bent,’ driven from a visual idea of that whole bending idea,” Mizushima said. “We’re going to portray that musically and visually. There will be a lot of pitch bend and sound incorporated in the show, as well as body motions that will portray bending motions. That’s really the heart of the show.”

Many percussion members involved in marching band have easier music in concert band so they have no opportunities to learn and grow. With Winter Percussion, those students can improve their musical skills, which will benefit the next year’s marching band season.

Winter Guard, much like Winter Percussion, will also be more difficult in terms of skill because they perform at a much closer distance. Winter Guard gives Color Guard members a chance to improve and maintain their skill in order to ensure a stronger field season in the next year.

“We go to more competitions [than we do in marching band],” said off-campus Color Guard instructor Tony Crapo said. “We’re able to get to know each other better because it’s a tight, close-knit group of people.”

Unlike last year, Winter Guard has not been split into varsity and JV, but rather kept all 20 members in one guard, which is “a healthy number,” according to Jones. The guard plans to have a contemporary theme, “the Journey,” with flags, rifles, sabres and dance.

“[The show] is about all the journeys in our lives—a metaphorical journey,” Crapo said. “It’s up to the audience to interpret what kind of journey it is for them. That’s what makes it interesting.”

Although the two activities are mainly separated, there are around two competitions and their senior night when both groups will be performing and traveling together.

Both Winter Guard and Winter Percussion work hard to “really represent [our shows] the best way that we can,” Crapo said. He believes the activities are difficult in the sense that they combine multiple skills for performance, but the challenge is what makes them both so enriching.

“I think [both activities] are beneficial because you use so much of your brain for it,” Crapo said. “We really need to represent [our shows] the best way that we can.”

3 views this week