Rifles and Sabers Permitted On Campus (But Only If Twirled)

What do rifles, flags and sabers have in common? While many might not know the answer to this riddle, all of those are objects the winter guard uses in its performances. Winter guard is an enthusiastic group of students who not only get the opportunity to toss and twirl what may seem like dangerous weapons, but also participates and performs in several in-state competitions.

Even though the team uses similar equipment and is part of the “guard family,” winter guard is a little different from the color guard, one of the main differences being that they practice during different seasons. The color guard is part of the marching band and performs with them on the field.

Winter guard, however, performs indoors without the band, usually on gym floors with a tarp. According to Coach Jeff Lind, color guard is “more about designing to catch the eye” while winter guard is “all about expression and being precise.” Even with these differences, some members choose to be on both teams.

This year there are 13 members including one alternate. There are no seniors. Coach Lind has been coaching color guard since the fall of 2006. Even though he has only coached for a little over a year, he is no stranger to marching band and the guard. As a student at Salinas High School, he played the clarinet and tuba for four years, in addition to learning color guard for three years with the Santa Clara Vanguard Cadets Drum and Bugle Corps. He feels lucky to have ended up at this school coaching something he had a passion for.

“I really like most of my coaches and just imagined doing it,” Lind said. “I met Mr. Ted Ferrucci through a friend, and after an interview, he decided to let me teach the color guard. I was thrilled.

Because Lind is only 19 years old, many winter guard members feel they have a closer relationship with him.

“Jeff feels more like a friend than a coach because he is still very young and can relate to us easily, making the experience much more enjoyable,” sophomore Kevin Wang said.

Being part of the winter guard team takes more than one thinks.

“Guard is very competitive, and everyone wants to be in that spot where it’s front and center, and wants the solos and to become the start,” sophomore Megan Tai said.

Also, members agree that it takes the same important skills just like any other extracurricular activity.

“[The skills are:] willing to make guard a priority, understanding and appreciating this activity and willing to achieve no matter what it takes,” freshman Cynthia Wang said.

Even though they have fun at practices, the Winter guard members work hard to do well at their competitions. They compete at the California Color Guard Circuit, which is one of the best circuits in the world. Also, because they are in Scholastic National A Division, the guard attends competitions in the Bay Area against other schools.

Preparing for the competitions requires a lot of time as well as creativity. Lind creates their routines, which includes choosing the music, colors, equipment and choreography. He first tries to find something that inspires him, which then becomes his “program concept.” Lind then chooses music, edits the music, focuses on an emotion and creates the choreography. All these decisions are based on one thing: the performers.

Scoring at the competitions depends on two main things: composition and achievement.

It’s important that the performance works with the music and also all the members are in unison.

Sometimes everyone is a little nervous, but those nerves wear off as the competitions goes on.

“We’re always nervous, but we always try to do our best,” Megan said. “I personally think we’re all excited when we’re performing because all the nerves are gone and we just have fun.”

In addition to the competition, these trips also act as a great bonding time for the team.

“After performances we sit in the back stands with hundreds of other guards and share candy and make friends from other schools,” Lind said.

There is also the possibility that winter guard will compete in a Winter Guard International and the Winter Guard International World Championships.

Whether the winter guard is competing or having fun at practice, memories are constantly being made.

“I would have [to say that] most of my favorite memories have been watching the members fully execute and express every idea of the design,” Lind said. “Those moments are really amazing and beautiful.”