Winter Guard loses season, seniors chose safety over performances

Last+year%27s+Winter+Guard+group+pose+after+finishing+their+week+of+12+hour+rehearsals+in+preparation+for+their+competition+season.

Courtesy of Madison Cannon

Last year’s Winter Guard group pose after finishing their week of 12 hour rehearsals in preparation for their competition season.

Julia Tully, News/Design Editor

    After starting online with zooms and struggling to plan everything with COVID, the RHS Winter Guard group has decided to not have their season this year; a decision mainly made by the group’s seniors

    “This would’ve been my fourth season of Winter Guard,” senior Isabella Leske said. “It was a really hard decision to make, especially being involved in the group for so long. It wasn’t something I wanted to never get a proper ending to.”

    Leske has been involved in Winter Guard since her freshman year. Winter Guard is similar to the fall Color Guard in the marching band in terms of skill and performance, but it is only Guard members competing against other schools.

    “Freshman year we performed ‘Falling’, sophomore year we did ‘In the Middle’, and last year we did “How Will I Know”,” Leske said.

    Throughout ‘Falling’, the group mainly placed fourth or fifth, during ‘In the Middle’ they mainly placed first or second, and during ‘How Will I Know’ the group mainly placed first, with the occasional second.

    “After such a really good junior year season, we were really excited to do even better during our last season,” senior Maddy Cannon said. “It took us a lot to be able to get where we were last season, and it would’ve been such a great accomplishment to top that.”

    Winter Guard is run by two coaches, Shannon Tyrybon and Jordan “JT” Montes.

    “Shannon and JT are incredible people,” senior Gabby Giammalva said. “They are both so encouraging, supportive, and helpful. She makes performing so fun and enjoyable, but also very rewarding.”

    At some point throughout their rehearsals, Tyrybon asked for the group’s opinion on whether they felt it was a good idea to continue with what they already had planned.

    “The majority of the group said no because our practices were first in November, where COVID cases were high, and Roosevelt was being put back online,” Giammalva said. “It just wasn’t safe, and we all realized that.”

    The group started meetings for this year’s season earlier this year, but as their rehearsals went on, it became less likely that their season would happen.

    “The theme for this show was kind of like a music video, we were all animals coming out of a sketchbook dancing around the school,” Leske said. “As we kept having Zoom rehearsals nothing was changing COVID wise, so ultimately it was safer to just end rehearsals.”

    Being a performance-based group, having online rehearsals was very hard on the group, and many were not enjoying it as they normally would have.

    “I love being a part of Guard, but because of COVID it didn’t have the same energy or vibe that it usually did,” Cannon said. “It was also hard to find the necessary space to throw flags or dance while at home.”

    Due to COVID, their season, if they would have chosen to stick with it, would have been nothing like it was in past years.

    “Another reason we all chose to not have our season was that it would have been really different in terms of how we performed,” Giammalva said. “There weren’t going to be any in-person competitions, so it would have been recorded and submitted to judges. We also had limited time, so the show was never going to be able to be learned, filmed, and edited in the time we had.”

    The people involved in Winter Guard also missed out on their marching band Color Guard season due to COVID, making it even harder to miss out on this season.

    “Sure, we had a couple of family performances and football games, but we missed out on all of our competitions which really made the season better,” Cannon said. “It would’ve been the same thing with Guard, and it just wouldn’t have been that enjoyable.”

    In response to this year’s seniors not getting to perform, their coach, Tyrybon, may be giving them an opportunity to return next year if they choose to. 

    “Shannon mentioned entering next year’s Winter Guard season as an independent group so that way the seniors can come back and compete,” Giammalva said. “I’m not sure if I would be able to participate in that or not, but if I am available at that time I would love to come back.”

        While ending their season was a tough decision for the group, they all cared far more about their health and the rest of the group’s health than having that final performance season.

    “As much as it sucked to not have a season, I’m happy with and proud of the team for putting our own wants aside for the safety of the group and our families,” Leske said.