With an eye toward the Winter Guard International (WGI) championships in Dayton, Ohio, in early April, the Newtown High School Varsity Winter Guard competed in its first WGI Regional Championship in Salem, Mass., on Saturday, February 8.
Scoring a solid 62.2, the 16-member team walked away with the First Place trophy for the Scholastic Open Division, and gained both experience and insight into what the judges are looking for. Instructor Janos Pergely was pleased with the feedback heard from the judges, saying he was delighted that judges liked Newtown’s show “Whirlwind.”
“It was wonderful to hear them tell us they recognized how challenging our work is,” Mr Pergely said.
Flag designer and creator Aldreena Belcher, who for years has supplied Newtown’s flags and watched shows, called “Whirlwind” elegant and beautiful.
“It’s a very different Newtown out there. I have never cried watching a show before, but this one took my breath away,” Ms Belcher said.
Under the leadership of Bob Findley, Michele Liscio, Tori Whittington, and Mr Pergely, and the direction of NHS Band Director Kurt Eckhardt, the Varsity Guard practices ten hours each week to perfect its flag, rifle, and saber spins and tosses. The team is captained by NHS sophomore Camryn “Cammie” Gaudett, junior Kelsea Morshuk-Allen, and senior Paige Thanasoulis, each of whom began her color guard career as a fifth grader.
The award-winning team also includes Nina Bonvini, Sarah Braga, Emily Brinkmann, Makenzie “Kenzie” Casey, Sarah Coleman, Courtney Datin, Aileen Decker, Lauren Engels, Hannah Godbout, Kayleigh Granville, Caitlin “CJ” Jones, Bridget O’Donnell, and Sierra Toomey.
In addition to competing weekly in the local Musical Arts Conference (MAC) circuit, the NHS Varsity Winter Guard will compete in one other WGI Regional — a two-day regional in New Jersey in March — before heading to Dayton. In the meantime, the team, comprised of two seniors, 12 juniors, and two sophomores, must raise $12,000 for their Ohio adventure. To that end the NHS Varsity Winter Guard and guard parents have scheduled upcoming events to help raise funds.
An NHS Varsity Winter Guard Pasta Supper and Silent Auction has been scheduled for Friday, February 21, from 5:30 to 7:30 pm, at the Newtown United Methodist Church, 92 Church Hill Road. Tickets for the event will be $10 in advance and $12 at the door. Children under 5 will eat for free. The menu for the event includes pasta, meatballs, salad, rolls, beverage, and dessert. Tickets are available from any varsity guard member or by e-mailing Robbinredhead@hotmail.com.
The NHS Winter Guard Extravaganza Home Show will be Saturday, March 1, at the high school, 12 Berkshire Road. Doors will open at 2 pm with color guards, roughly 20, competing beginning at 3 pm. Tickets for the event are $10 for adults, $7 for children, students, and seniors. Food items will be available. Special appearances by the NHS winter percussion and Park City Pride Drum Corps are also scheduled during the event.
A Wine and Beer Tasting, to be hosted by the NHS Varsity Winter Guard parents, is slated for Friday, March 14, at the Alexandria Room at Edmond Town Hall, 45 Main Street. The event will feature 32 wines and eight beers from around the world, appetizers, a vendor fair and a raffle. Tickets are $25 per adult. Tickets are available by e-mailing Robbinredhead@hotmail.com.