Covid versus Winterguard

 

With the current cancelation of all winter sports and games, the focus is on winterguard and their upcoming competitive season. Just recently, they were informed of their 2021 floor show that they will be presenting in competition. With COVID in mind, they are following strict protocols to ensure everyone stays safe and healthy, such as wearing masks during their duration on campus.

WGAZ, The winterguard association in Arizona, has a layout of competition dates and procedures to ensure the safety of all teams that decide to compete. Supposedly, there will be a drastic difference in the way shows will be run, but WGAZ wishes to give performers a chance to still have a season. As time approaches closer to those competition dates the question is whether or not COVID will leave a larger impact.

With that being said, Color Guard Coach Mackenzie O’Toole shares, “We just had a virtual meeting with the WGAZ membership. 

Right now we are moving according to plan. However, we have a lot more virtual shows set up than in person… and they are making sure that the competitions itself has a lot of precautions which does make me feel comfortable taking this group to a show site to perform.”

The effects of COVID gave senior captain Caitlin Salanga an opportunity to grow in her teaching and leadership skills. Salanga, as well as, the rest of the color guard team were prompted with virtual rehearsals over Google Meets for the entire first semester. 

This brought many challenges on its own. Salanga mentions, “When we were still online and had to do zero hour classes and rehearsal through Google Meets, that was pretty challenging since guard is such a visual activity and very much a hands on activity. I am used to being able to help teach people hands on and in person… it was hard trying to teach online when sometimes internet problems came into play… that was a difficult time.”

Ultimately the winterguard team has been rehearsing and preparing for any disruptions in their season.. Senior Savannah Phan, has been a part of the color guard team since she was a sophomore and has been able to differentiate this abnormal year in comparison to previous seasons. Phan highlights the biggest challenge being the ability to read and create facial expressions.

In colorguard, most of a performer’s emotion comes from facial expressions, but face masks have made it harder to communicate these emotions, creating a new environment for members to adjust to.  In a sport like colorguard, the ability to perform is crucial. 

During COVID, face masks have taken that away and it has created a new environment for these members to adjust to. Phan says, “As performers it has definitely pushed us to go harder especially like members who are not new to the program that know how to perform. We understand what to push and pull… it just made us better performers if anything.” 

With COVID in the midst, the winterguard team maneuvers their way through in light of hopefully being able to put on their 2021 floor show, “Warriors”.