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Downers South expects ‘the best’ in winter guard

Winter guard performers (and athletes) at Downers Grove South High School in Chicago’s western suburbs hope to improve on last year’s 18th-out-of-20 regional competition finish with a show entitled “The Best,” Kelly Jankowski reports in the Blueprint, the student news site at the school.

The show, she reports, is about the lifelong bonds between the people in life you’re closest to. “Obviously our expectations are pretty high—we want to be the best,” she quotes a junior team member as saying.

The first competition for the Mustangs from Downers Grove South will be at Romeoville High School on Saturday, January 26, but they’ll present their show for friends and family at DGS two days before that at 9 PM.

After the Romeoville season opener, the competition schedule for these teams gets pretty intense, with events for the Midwest Color Guard Circuit taking place every weekend up until the March 30–31 championships at La Porte High School near Houston, Texas:

  • Sat, Jan 26: Romeoville HS
  • Sun, Jan 27: Naperville North HS
  • Sat, Feb 2: Hersey HS (Arlington Heights)
  • Sun, Feb 3: Plainfield Central HS
  • Sun, Feb 10: Naperville Central HS
  • Weekend Feb 16-17: WGI Regional, Indianapolis
  • Sat, Feb 23: WGI Regional, Chicago
  • Sat, Mar 2: Stagg HS (Palos Hills)
  • Sun, Mar 3: Schaumburg HS
  • Sat, Mar 9: Lake Park HS (Roselle)
  • Sun, Mar 10: Lincoln-Way East HS (Frankfort)
  • Sun, Mar 17: TF South HS (Lansing)
  • Sat, Mar 23: Minooka HS
  • Sun, Mar 24: Coal City HS

The Winter Guard International, or WGI, championships take place April 3–6 at the University of Dayton in Ohio, but DGS doesn’t plan to attend that competition.

The team has been working up their show since October, bringing students from all grades onto the gym floor in what will be the 58th consecutive season for the Midwest Color Guard Circuit.

“I would definitely say we blend all the different skill levels together,” Ms Jankowski quotes the team’s senior captain as saying. Seniors usually spend more of the show spinning rifles and other equipment, whereas freshmen with less experience just get “more time to boost their skills.”

The Midwest Circuit has become known for the types of lifelong bonds (and nurturing competition) the team puts into their show. “Since our circuit allows performers of all ages to compete, we often have the unique opportunity to see a performer start out in their first guard, then move on to their high school guard and then on to an independent guard and even senior guard in some cases,” the organization says on its website. “The Midwest Circuit is one of the few circuits where you can see performers grow and develop over many years.”

“I think we’re going to do great this year,” said assistant guard director Megan Schreck. “We have a really hard-working group, great kids. They work really hard, and they’re all friendly with each other. So I think we’re going to have a really successful season.”

Paul Katula is the executive editor of the Voxitatis Research Foundation, which publishes this blog. For more information, see the About page.

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