The 2017 Newsome Varsity Winterguard secured the FFCC state championship for the 2nd year in a row in Daytona Beach on April 2, 2017. The team performed their award-winning show entitled, “That’s Just Human” to the song “Lay Your Head Down” written and performed by Mary Lambert. (http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/marylambert/layyourheaddown.html) and (www.marylambertsings.com). The choreography complimented the lyrics that describe all the things in life, good and bad, that make us cry. The song opens with, “Sometimes I when I cry, I start to cry harder simply because I am crying…”. You can hear a pin drop until Senior, Angie Phillips, tosses her sabre high above the tarp and catches it with one hand. The crowd always erupts in thunderous applause. The songwriter points out everyday things that make us shed tears… “Sometimes I cry when cheese is really good, When I’ve Made onions…. That’s just human.”
A poignant moment in the show is when the songwriter talks about how words can hurt us. Junior, Cecilia Skrocki, intercepts a flag flying through the air that simply states the word, “Fat”. Other guard members echo to raise flags with additional painful words. (See photo below). Internet sensation, singer songwriter, Mary Lambert speaks the words, “I cry because they call me fat, even though I am fat because most of the time a word is just a word until it is not just a word it is a weapon”. This is just one of many moments in the show that captivates the audience. There are lighter moments infused into the song such as references to pictures of pigs wearing rainboots and Shar Pei Puppies that look like rolled up towels on the internet. There is chocolate cake, love letters, 1st, 2nd and 3rd kisses and hammocks. There is Harry Potter and the brilliant gasp of holding a hand. In the end, the message is that it is human to cry. The audience connects to each performance because the team honors those feelings and even validates them.
The tarp that the team performs on has many of the words from the song written across it. The performers move fluidly and effortlessly between the words throughout the song. At first glance, spectators aren’t sure what to make of the words when the team first arrives as most groups who come to perform use scenery as their background. Ultimately, the audience comes to understand what the team is trying to accomplish and it all makes sense. Members of other teams often stop parents wearing the Newsome t-shirts to ask if the team has performed yet saying they don’t want to miss it. Others have said the song means something new to them each week depending on what circumstances they are going through. These are some of one of the reasons director and Newsome teacher, Jade Bouza, has been so successful. It’s her out of the box thinking that makes her team stand out among the rest. The team is fortunate to have additional coaching staff Carlos Escobar (currently coaching with USF Open), Tony Perez (currently coaching J.W. Mitchell HS and performing in Pegasus World Winterguard) and Jamie Dyer (USF Colorguard Director), who all bring vast amounts of experience from the Colorguard Universe to Newsome Winterguard. Not only do they learn skills that help them win on the floor, the coaches teach them to be humble and helpful off the floor. This was demonstrated when other teams in the FFCC nominated and voted for the Newsome Winterguard to receive the Kevin Paulus Sportsmanship Trophy. The award is reserved for teams that display an inspiring level of sportsmanship and goodwill towards their peers.
In the Winter season, the team competes almost every weekend in the Florida Federation of Colorguard Circuit competitions around Florida starting in early February. Newsome placed first in each weekly competition they were present for leading up to the WGI Regional Competition where they came away with first place finish making them Regional Champions in Scholastic A Class. In March, they placed 3rd in the WGI state competition at UCF. On April 1, the team made the finals of the FFCC State Competition in Daytona Beach. They returned to the arena on Sunday, April 2 and walked away with a first-place finish in the FFCC state championship in Scholastic A Class, Knight’s Division for the 2nd year in a row!
The team will say goodbye to 3 seniors this year who have been with the program since their freshman year. Angie Phillips, Shayla Lucey and Grace Vaughn. One of which, Angie Phillips, received a generous scholarship from the FFCC. These 3 young women have seen the band program grow immensely over their tenure as part of the Newsome Marching Band Colorguard and Newsome Winterguard Teams. They contributed greatly to the success and the morale of the team.
There is also a Junior Varsity Winterguard Team that is in its 2nd year at Newsome. Coach Bouza’s wish of having a JV and Varsity team represent Newsome in Competition was realized this year. They competed for the first time in State Competition nabbing a 4th place win! This was an amazing accomplishment. The JV team really made their mark in the FFCC and they will surely be one to watch next season. The JV team offers a platform for welcoming those newer to the sport as well as some returning Veterans who offer their experience to mentor newer members. Their show is entitled, “I Can See Clearly Now” covered by the Holly Cole Trio (www.hollycole.com/music/). The JV tarp is bright and cheerful with the image of sun rays extending in all directions. The team made use of umbrellas, rifles, sabers and flags. It is an uplifting show that you can’t help but smile from beginning to end. Guest coach, Liz Bannon (USF Winterguard Director), worked with existing staff to contribute to the JV Team’s success.
Winter guard as a sport has been around since the 1970’s although the concept may be new to some. “ What is Winter Guard? It is the sport of indoor color guard. Modern color guard is a combination of the use of flags, sabers, mock rifles, and other equipment, as well as dance and other interpretive movement. Color guards can be found in; high schools, middle schools, some universities, and also some independent organizations some of which are related to drum corps.” (www.wgi.org.contents/What-is-WGI.html). Imagine all the things you see color guards do on a football field during half-time shows and transport that into a gymnasium where teams perform 5 minute theatrical, acrobatic, dance centric, cohesive shows.
No doubt this program will continue to grow. Anyone can try out for the team regardless of ability level. On May 13, there will be a Newsome Marching Band Ice Breaker from 10-4 p.m. in which you get to experience being in the Newsome Band for a day. There is parent meeting and registration session from 2-4 p.m. Band director, Michael Miller, will address the families before the student demonstrations. For more information regarding the upcoming marching season and all upcoming dates band try-outs/events, please go to www.newsomeband.com. Also you can follow the Newsome Colorguard on Instagram at @nhs.colorguard.