Winter Guard finds a new home

NCHS Winter Guard to combing with, move to Normal West


Photo Courtesy of: Mark Coons, Music Man5 Photos

2016 marked the last year that NCHS Winter Guard would perform, the Guard merged with Normal Community West to field a more competitive team for the 2017 season.

The Winter Guard is taking on a new name: The Normal Guard. The NCHS Winter Guard will merge with the NCWHS Winter Guard- and the teams aren’t just changing their names. They’re changing everything.

The NCHS Winter Guard coaches made the decision in October to merge with Normal West’s Winter Guard and create one combined team. The idea was a mutual brainstorm by both NCHS and NCWHS band directors, Mr. Lance Meadows and Ms. Lisa Preston, and guard coaches Amber Waller, Ashlyn Martin, Courtney Brown and Justin Johnson. After multiple meetings to work out logistics, the two schools agreed to merge. The joint Winter Guard will be rebranded with a neutral name and practice at NCWHS.

Current assistant coach at NCHS and a former Winter Guard member, Ashlyn Martin, describes the guard as “a way to express yourself through music while dancing and spinning flag, rifle, or sabre.” Winter Guard, a sport of the arts, has been a part of NCHS since 1986 when Mr. Dan Swallow, band director at Chiddix Junior High, saw a need for a team.  

Amber Waller, head coach, echoed Martin’s statement: “Winter Guard is basically indoor color guard without the band.”

Winter Guard is different from traditional color guard in that Winter Guard is performed indoors, in a gym or arena. Instead of performing to a band, teams perform to recorded songs.

Both the NCHS Winter Guard and NCWHS Winter Guard have attended competitions within the Midwest Color Guard Circuit in the past, which is an established community of teams that compete against each other. The Normal Guard plans to continue competing in this circuit.

The combined team will have 4 staff members, comprising of the coaches from each school. While the NCHS Winter Guard had 13 members during last season, the NCWHS Guard could not afford to compete as a team due to budgetary limitations. “We will have more money and resources to better our show for the future,” said Martin.

Waller believes that the team could run into issues because of the drastic change, saying: “The toughest part to conquer will be the students coping with the merging of programs, and getting to know the different staff members. We will have to create and get used to a new dynamic, and make sure everyone is on the same page.”

The Normal Guard held a clinic on November 4, and will hold another November 9 at 6 pm at NCWHS. Auditions will be held on November 11 from 9 am-12 pm at NCWHS.

Anyone with questions can contact Waller contact at [email protected].