The award-winning voice of North Cobb High School in Kennesaw, Georgia.

The Chant

The award-winning voice of North Cobb High School in Kennesaw, Georgia.

The Chant

The award-winning voice of North Cobb High School in Kennesaw, Georgia.

The Chant

The NC Winter Guard programs spin their way to championships

@nc.guard Instagram and Savannah Blanco
With the end of the NC Winter Guard 2024 season, the SAPA championships take place as the final run for all three NC guards. The concluding run for the shows, titled “Men of Snow,” “Half Acre” and “Dear Vincent…,” mark the last season for a couple of NC seniors heading into college. While championships lead the way for fond memories and great times spent, the NC guards end the season strong and patiently await the upcoming color guard season.

Since 2006, the Southern Association for Performance Arts (SAPA) circuit has sponsored hundreds of competitive and educational events for winter guard teams across Tennessee, Alabama and Georgia. The NC Winter Guard once again competed in the two-day SAPA championships, representing their final run-through of the three 2024 shows.

For the 2024 season, the three winter guard teams, including the Cadet, Regional A and Scholastic A guard, acquired a successful competitive season and performed their shows for the last time at the McKenzie Arena in Chattanooga, Tennessee, April 6 and 7. The Cadet team — NC’s team dedicated to middle school students — created a beautiful show themed around the idea of a snowy winter day. With the title “Men of Snow,” guard members danced and spun along to the tune with the same title written by Ingrid Michaelson. The costumes allied with the theme of their show, encompassing exquisite white flowy bodysuits embezzled with blue and silver gems. 

As for the two high school teams — Regional A and Scholastic A guard — the shows embodied two differing themes. The Regional A guard showcased their show titled “Half Acre” which included music from the artist HEM and a wide range of colors used within their flag silks, floor patterns and costume design. The graceful tunes allowed members to delicately move around the floor with mauve-colored dresses and transparent pink silks for the ending flag feature hit. 

Regarding the Scholastic A guard, members danced around in costumes and silks designed by head coach Jennifer Leslie which depicted tight-fitted, green and sparkly bodysuits with gold sequins covering the back. The flag line silks, patterned with a mixture of browns, reds and yellows, also included a figure of a handwritten letter leading into the flag feature silks which included yellow sunflowers. With the show title, “Dear Vincent…” members embodied a visual representation of a pen pal writing a letter to renowned artist Vincent Van Goh, while also utilizing sunflower props to hint at his remarkable sunflower painting. Students spun around to a custom soundtrack of rising artist JVKE’s song “Golden Hour,” adding a twist by using the orchestral version alongside a spoken poem that overlaid the music. 

SAPA championships featured guards of all levels from Cadet class to the best of the best in World class. NC’s Regional A and Cadet teams participated in the competition April 6, with Regiona A performing at 2:03 pm while the Cadets held off a little longer and competed at 6:35 p.m. As all teams performed, the crowd grew anxious awaiting the final scores. 

“I think my SAPA performance went really well, and I literally could not stop smiling because of how happy and proud I was. And overall I think we all did very well. My favorite part of SAPA will always be watching other performances and spending time with people who love what I love,” magnet sophomore Amaris Carrion said. 

With the awards ceremony beginning later in the night, all teams lined up to head down to the floor to receive their awards. With the announcement of each team, members came out wearing festive gear to showcase features of their show. Cadets wore snowflake-shaped headbands while the Regional A team accessorized with heart sunglasses and flower crowns. 

While the tension rose within the crowd, it became time to announce Cadet and Regional A scores for day one of the SAPA Championships. The NC Cadet and Regional A winter guards both received the fourth place trophy, running close with the top three scoring teams. Cadets brought home a score of 78.660 and Regional A scored a total of 80.060 points. 

The following day, the Scholastic A guard prepared to compete with the final run of “Dear Vincent…” After gathering the team and ridding of show anxieties with their pre-performance, traditional superhero pose pep talks to build up confidence, the team went on to compete at 10:33 a.m. With the feeling of relief after the performance, students trekked back to the arena to spend the day watching other fantastic shows including local high schools such as Harrison, Pope, McEachern and world-class guards including world champion Paramount

Hours later, members lined up for the retreat, similar to day one. Due to the use of sunflower props, Scholastic A guard wore yellow sunflower crowns and gold sunglasses to focus on the yellow detailing throughout the show. Scholastic A took home the seventh-place trophy, receiving a score of 76.230, placing them in the midst of their division. To cap off the night, members presented the senior class with graduation gifts to thank them for their excellence within the NC winter and color guard programs and thank you gifts for coaches Leslie, Jonnie Loveless and Sydney Hilliard. 

Regardless of placements and scores, members of all three winter guard programs enjoyed the time spent with the people they love and received the chance to spin one last show with the senior class. 

“Winter guard helps me remind myself that I can grow not only in skills but as a person. I think this season especially helped me learn how to be more patient and understanding. And I love learning new tricks and choreo but I think the most enjoyable part is meeting new people and teaching them what I am passionate about,” Carrion said.

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About the Contributor
Mackenzie Blanco
Mackenzie Blanco, Reporter
Mackenzie Blanco, a magnet sophomore at NC, joined The Chant because of her love for writing and hopes it will better her writing skills. Ever since a little girl, she has admired writing stories to release her creative thoughts and steadfast opinions. Blanco enjoys being part of the Color Guard at NC, baking delicious treats, going on hikes and attending her youth group gatherings. She also enjoys spending time with her friends, reading books and venturing out with her dog, Chico. During school, Blanco is involved in clubs, including Beta Club, FCA and Collective Hope. Blanco hopes that The Chant brings her the inspiration to make an impact on the world with her writing.

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