By JENNIFER MEIER
THE GOSHEN NEWS
There’s a new Winter Guard in town.
For the past four years since Brittany Smith has taken over as director of the Color Guard at Northridge High School, she’s wanted to create a competitive Winter Guard to showcase the team’s talents.
Her dream became a reality earlier in the school year when 13 students signed up to put in hours of practice with a dance routine that includes flags, sabers and rifles skills.
During the fall season, the Color Guard, with costumes, flags and rifles, supports the marching band performance.
In the winter, they stand alone.
“Their personality really gets to show. It’s a lot more emotional performance,” said Smith. “They get to play their part.”
Both Smith and her assistant Ashley Urdaneta became involved with the color and winter guard during their years at Goshen High School.
“Takesha Stoll, the guard director at Goshen was my inspiration,” Smith said. “She’s the reason why I’m doing this right now.”
And when she began her job at NHS, she gained an even greater appreciation for Stoll and the work.
“It’s a blast. But really, I had no idea how much time goes into creating a show,” Smith said. “I can’t even tell you how many hours I’ve put into this — and the show isn’t finished. Like marching band, we keep adding and refining as the season goes on.”
All those hours paid off for Smith, Urdaneta and the students. They received a silver medal and placed seventh out of 14 at their first competition last Saturday at Homestead in Fort Wayne.
“They did so well for their very first performance. It was both a little scary and a lot of fun,” Smith said. “And the girls felt they did well. That’s important.”
All but two of the team performed in the color guard during marching band season, and were familiar with the flags and rifles. But Smith decided to add sabers to the mix.
“That’s been challenging for the girls, but they’re doing well,” Smith said. “Who would have thought throwing things up into the air and catching them could be so much fun!”
Through donations, the Winter Guard has been able to purchase a practice and competition tarp as well as equipment. The costumes however, were borrowed from another team.
“We are so lucky to have Penn High School as our friends,” Smith said. “Actually here in northern Indiana, we are all very close and we can borrow from each other.”
This year’s show is titled “Swim” and features music by Jacks Mannequin, an American rock band formed in 2004.
Smith’s goal is to keep growing the program, becoming more competitive and adding more guard.
“This is just a fun time for everyone,” Smith said. “It’s a time for these girls to shine.”