Accolades continue to flow to the hardworking and talented high school students involved with the band programs in Union County.
Marvin Ridge High School parent Beth Kitteringham contacted me recently to say Marvin Ridge High School is celebrating a Scholastic A first-place gold medal, won by the varsity winter guard team.
Marvin Ridge is the first North Carolina Scholastic A team to ever win first place at the annual Winter Guard International world competition, she said.
Kitteringham said when the competitive marching band season ends in fall, the color guard moves into its winter guard season with a standalone show.
“Winter guard is considered ‘the sport of the arts’ because it brings music to life through dance, flags, rifles and sabers,” Kitteringham said. “Each competing team has a choreographed show with colorful mats and oftentimes props. Technical precision with the use of the equipment as well as the overall visual effect, general effect, design, movement and dance are all aspects that are judged.”
The Marvin Ridge High School varsity Scholastic A World Champion winter guard team comprises 10 students from Marvin Ridge High and Middle schools. This team includes guard Captain Emma Adcock and members Omari Simmons, Anne Pickhardt, Michaela Johnson, Nicole Patton, Lia Kitteringham, Gracie Wagner, Mackenzie Jackson, Ava Cortelli and Yuna Asano.
The team dedicated more than 200 hours to practice and nearly every Saturday from January through April competing in local and regional competitions.
Marvin Ridge Winter Guard Director Brian Winn said, “This guard has come a long way this season. The kids are incredibly hard workers who set high goals for themselves in the beginning. From that point on, I pushed them to achieve those goals and they never failed to rise to the occasion.
“I’m very proud of the success this guard has seen and I am excited to see where the program goes in the future. Ever since I joined the staff at Marvin Ridge in 2014, I have seen growth and I know that it will continue with the great support from the school, parents, and community. I am so proud to call myself the director of the 2015 Winter Guard International Scholastic A World Champions and be able to work with these amazing kids.”
Kitteringham said 123 teams from around the world met April 16-18 at a competition so large it takes place at three venues.
Competitions are held simultaneously at the Nutter Center at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio, and the Cintas Center in Cincinnati, with the final round taking place at the University of Dayton Arena.
There currently are 10 countries that compete in winter guard, including the U.S., Canada, Belgium, Holland, Germany, England, Ireland, Korea and Japan.
Their show, “There’s No Place Like Home,” is based on “The Wizard of Oz,” and tells Dorothy’s story of leaving the city and getting back to the farm.
The floor for the show is a bright yellow-brick road fading to gray brick, then disappearing into the dirt. That leads to a grassy section on the far side of the mat.
A farmhouse sits in the grassy area, and the team ends up on its porch at the conclusion of the show, waving to the city they left behind.
World champions in any sport share the experience of dedication and hard work along with great coaching. Emma Boyce, Madison Adcock and Allison Mayer assist Winn, who has coached for 11 years.
Winn currently teaches dance at Northwest School of the Arts in Charlotte and is a graduate of Winthrop University in dance education.
John Anderson is a freelance writer. Have a story idea for John? Email him at email@example.com.