The North Thurston Colorguards (or N.T.C. for short!) consists of three interrelated programs:
The N.T.C. Field Guard is an active component of the NTHS Marching Band program and performs during the fall marching band season. We are part of the overall visual program and our director (David Wilson) is the visual coordinator for the marching band program. Our choreographer (Rod Andrada) is closely involved in the design of the field guard and the over all staging of the colorguard in the field show.
The N.T.C. Winterguard is the competitive indoor component of our colorguard program. North Thurston Winterguard is an active member of the Northwest Pageantry Association (NWPA), Northwest Association for Performing Arts (NWAPA) as well as an active member of Winterguard International (WGI). We perform in the NWPA /NWAPA circuits during the winter months, for the 2022 NWPA season we will compete in the Scholastic “A” division. Under the direction of David Wilson and Rod Andrada.
The N.T.C. is also a part of the marching band program and performs with the marching band in the spring during any parades that we may be attending. The parade guard is a chance to relax and have fun!
What is Colorguard?
In a marching band, the colorguard provides a non-muscial visual presence. The marching band and colorguard performance generally takes place on a football field while the colorguard interprets the music that the marching band is playing via the synchronized spinning of flags, sabers, rifles, and through choreographed movements. The color guard uses different colors and styles of flags to enhance the visual effect of the marching band as a whole. Within the band, colorguard is often referred to as simply guard.
Although colorguard is by definition a sport due to its physical and competitive aspects, it is also considered an art. The performers use the elements of expression, and their equipment to tell a story. The music, and scenery set the stage, and the performer completes the show.
What is Winterguard?
A winter guard program is not only educationally sound, it can have a dramatic and positive influence on the total marching band program if it is a part of a scholastic group. In a school situation, the winter guard is a co-curricular or extra-curricular activity which offers participation to both boys and girls. Usually its purpose is similar to that of a sports team:
O To strive for excellence
O To develop teamwork
O To learn sportsmanship
O To achieve the highest possible ranking in your competitive circle
O To entertain
Unlike sports teams, the entertainment factor makes this program unique. It can be likened to theatre with elements of drama or a musical. This added dimension provides the students with an exposure beyond that offered through the marching band program. Thus, the indoor guard opportunity is a blend of that produces “The Sport of the Arts.” A valuable experience for winter guard performers is an interaction with students from other
communities throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, and Asia. The success of this activity is rich in those areas and growing in Europe and Asia. This social and competitive exchange with groups of their own age from different backgrounds, lifestyles and educational experiences adds another facet to their self-perception while creating lasting friendships!
Winter guard has the latitude to perform at a local level with much the same scope as an athletic team, or they may choose to expand and include performances in other parts of the country affording an opportunity for trips visiting historical and cultural sites. A combination of both types of schedule is also possible. Very few co-curricular activities offer students an experience which challenges and stimulates growth on so many levels:
O Time Sequence
O Through Organization
O Team Work
O Group Cooperation
The activity demands physical involvement in rehearsal and performance involving muscle tone, conditioned response to music and other stimuli, simultaneous coordination of head, arms, legs, body stature as well as poise and control while experiencing physical and mental pressure.
The mental training requires multi-levels of thought organization including portrayal of moods harmonious with other performers, and understanding of why they execute each move and advance awareness of what the next move will be and why it is there. The cumulative result of such physical and mental discipline is a student with deeper feelings of understanding, a more disciplined focus which finds its way into study habits in scholastic
efforts and a higher level of self-confidence.
A winter guard program will expand the techniques of those who comprise the street and field marching unit in just the same way that concert band, stage band and winter percussion lines continue the development of those skills with subsequent impact on the excellence of the music program. Socially, members learn to function in a group situation setting common goals, cooperating and striving for success as a team. The many outlets for performances available to a scholastic winter guard, besides contests, include the regular school activity schedule of rallies, basketball half-times or assemblies for special events which will show the activity to the school community. Other students will become more interested in the program; faculty members are always impressed and the audiences (parents and students alike) enjoy the show for its entertainment value. Within the community there are always organizations looking for varied forms of entertainment and where space is adequate, the indoor guard show can win tremendous support for the band program.
Competition as a Basis to Measure and Appreciate Excellence
Competition in and of itself generates a divided position on the part of many educators who fear a misplaced focus on winning at any cost. Because WGI is based on education, that subject has had careful study and on going scrutiny. Competition in this arena is the means whereby we teach the following:
O Recognition and appreciation of the achievements of your competitors
O A barometer whereby you measure achievement against a set of standards
O A means to recognize your own potential by achieving more than you thought you could
O Putting competition in a light of discovery and growth rather than winning as a priority
Competition exists in today's world in every walk of life. To prepare our youth with techniques that will keep this aspect in a healthy focus while discovering and enjoying their own excellence may be our greatest gift to them.
When investigating competitions, look for other schools in the area that are already competing; identify their officers who can acquaint you with the rules, show procedures and schedules of contests and related events. If there are no visible organizations, you may contact the WGI office for information regarding your nearest guard circuit and who to contact.
Within the abundant opportunities for growth, physical expression, leadership and self discipline for guard members, the director/advisor also finds the satisfying reward of seeing youngsters realize their potential in such an exciting and positive manner.
What about all the swans?
The N.T.C. use a swan as their “totem” animal. It comes from a visual reference that Mr. Wilson is fond of... “Have you ever seen a swan swimming serenely in the water? Above the water they are calm, cool, collected and all grace and elegance. Below the water they are paddling like heck!”
All members of the N.T.C. are referred to as “swans” and we always work to have a swan-like performance... Grace and elegance above, and working like heck below!
By the way, our current swan mascots are named ONYX & ALICE... The mascots traditionally 'live' with a member of the colorguard (known as the swan keeper) and moves from member to member throughout the year.