PHOENIX – In celebration of the success of its winterguard and colorguard teams this year, the Phoenix Central School District hosted a Winterguard Community Night on April 1 as a way to showcase the talents of the students who have worked so hard this season.
Due to an increase in student involvement, PCSD separated the students into four teams this year to ensure maximum skill growth for each member.
The four teams are the Colorguard Club, the Cadet Winterguard, the Junior Winterguard and the Senior Winterguard. The Colorguard Club is comprised of elementary youngsters, and Phoenix is one of the few Districts in the area to offer the sport at such a young age.
The evening began with the Colorguard Club’s performance to the song “You’ll be in My Heart” by Phil Collins.
The flags that the kids used in the routine were handmade by Pamela Southworth, vice president of the Michael A. Maroun Elementary Parent-Faculty Organization.
The Cadet Winterguard performed a special routine to “Fight Song” by Rachel Platten that was dedicated to Phoenix resident Linda K. Storrings, who passed away last year after a courageous battle with breast cancer.
Jamie Cullum’s “If I Ruled the World” was the musical accompaniment to the Junior Winterguard’s stunning performance. Support was felt by the entire community as the applause roared for an encore.
The Senior Winterguard performed a very personal routine devised by Director Nicholas Gerling that was entitled “Lost.” The accompaniment was a special arrangement comprised of various musical and vocal clips as well as the voices of the winterguard team members describing times that they felt lost.
“We hope this is a message that everyone can relate to,” said Gerling. He pointed out the design of the floor mat, which included the map coordinates for the village of Phoenix, NY, a sign to the students to remember where they came from when they leave the walls of John C. Birdlebough High School.
The Senior Winterguard members made the decision to promote themselves to the next level of competitive competition this year, the Scholastic Open Class, which is the second highest class students can compete in nationally.
The team has attended two regional competitions this year in Salem, Massachusetts and Monmouth, New Jersey. These regional events afford the students national exposure and also get them into seeded rankings for world championships.
Gerling said that the main goal of the event was to make it from the preliminary round into the finals, which the Phoenix Senior Winterguard achieved at both events. Gerling said this was quite an accomplishment for their first year in an advanced competitive class.
The Senior Winterguard also brought home silver medals at two recent championships held at SUNY Brockport and Cicero North Syracuse Middle School. The team is currently ranked 36th in the nation in their class division, which makes them the second highest ranked scholastic colorguard in New York State going into the 2016 World Championships, which will take place in Dayton, Ohio this spring.
“They are incredibly talented students,” said Gerling.
The Phoenix Indoor Percussion Ensemble also rocked the house at the community night with a piece entitled “Curse.” The seniors of the group were each recognized for their talent and musical contributions. Many members had been involved in music and band for eight or more years.
The Phoenix Indoor Percussion Ensemble was also a finalist at a regional event in Trumbull, Connecticut, this year and was awarded the bronze medalist in the Scholastic A division at their championship, which took place at Onondaga Community College recently.