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Virtual Competition Proves Superior for Winter Guard

From left, Leona Vaughn, Emory Barrios and Natalie Blair. Photos provided by the OSD.

Students have faced unprecedented challenges in the wake of a worldwide pandemic. Extracurricular activities have taken twists and turns, leaving students and teachers to adjust to virtual competitions.

Band is just one example and Oxford School District’s winter guard has risen to the occasion and excelled.

Winter guard is the sport of indoor color guard – a combination of the use of flags, sabres, mock rifles, and other equipment, as well as dance and other interpretive movements. Winter guard takes place in gymnasiums, not on the football field with a marching band.

As its name suggests, their season takes place after marching band season in the winter. For the first time in history, solo and small ensemble categories were offered to winter guard students to compete virtually.

Oxford High juniors Emory Barrios and Leona Vaughn and eighth-grade Oxford Middle student Natalie Blair advanced to the Winter Guard International Solo Finals with their individual performances. Each student selected music and choreographed their own routine. 

“I was super proud of the soloists and small ensembles because they were able to use their projects from years past in a much bigger way despite the limitations of Covid,” said Jessica Roebuck, assistant band director and Color Guard instructor.

Both Oxford High School and Oxford Middle School Winter Guard teams also received a Superior rating in their Mississippi virtual competitions. Last weekend, both winter guards competed in-person in the Southaven show where Oxford Middle earned first place in the Cadet Class and Oxford High earned second place in Scholastic Region A Class.

Both OMS and OHS winter guards have submitted their routines to Winter Guard International to receive group ratings and are awaiting results expected to come at the end of the month. On March 27, both winter guard teams will be attending the Mississippi Indoor Association Championships in Jackson.

Staff report

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