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After a long wait since the 2018 BOA Grand National Championships, things are about to pick up—and fast—on FloMarching's streaming schedule. Two guard regionals will kick off the 2019 Winter Guard International season but quickly percussion and winds will join the ranks with first shows happening across the country!
The Dallas/Ft. Worth area of Texas is a great location for A Class guards, with over 30 attending the regional. Out in California, though, we will see some Dayton regulars that will reveal their shows for the first time of the 2019 season to all FloMarching viewers.
Finals Live Blog
Check back here during finals for moment-by-moment updates on what the best groups in both regionals are doing! Finals in Riverside will begin at 5 PM Pacific (7 PM Central); finals in Dallas will begin at 6:15 PM Central with the first Scholastic Regional A finalist! Performances will continue all evening long and scores come out last so stay tuned and enjoy WGI 2019 on FloMarching!
We're getting things started, tonight, with the Dallas Regional Finals competition. Stay tuned for updates throughout the show.
Union High School (Scholastic Regional A) - Program: "Off to the Races"
This show is a very fun mashup of Hall of the Mountain King (Grieg) and The Distance (Cake). The costume and flag designs are inspired by car racing, and the kids look like they're having a fantastic time performing the show. The ensemble flag section with the checkered flag is very well written and layered nicely.
The staff got smart - use tires in your show, and you have a new set for your car at the end of the season.
Allen HS JV (SRA) - Program: "The Show"
Every aspect of this show uses circus themes as its inspiration for design - the floor is a circus ticket with a harlequin print in the background; the flags are circus tent sides and harlequin prints.
There's a high level of achievement for this early in the season, with a very nice all-guard rifle feature, and a very well-executed flag feature at the end. The performers are clearly enjoying themselves, and the music is playful and enjoyable.
Timber Creek HS (SRA) - Program: "Let Me Fall"
This show begins with very nice opening movement segment. It's very emotive, and the performers are doing an excellent job of selling the movement.
The opening flag soloist does a fantastic job, coming from the back-right corner of the floor. The closing flag statement is excellently layered, incredibly musical, and has a nice build.
Great job, Timber Creek!
Keller Central HS (Scholastic A) - Program: "Psychedelic Duo"
This program has a great design aesthetic, using costume design inspiration from the 1960s Mod fashion movement and floor inspired by the 1960s psychedelic art movement, split diagonally from the bottom-left to the upper-right corners with one corner of the floor using the psychedelic swirls (think "oil in water"), and the other side has a more structured modern feel to it.
The ensemble flag design (blue, purple, and white) is gorgeous, and the work done with it is very musical and well achieved.
Timber Creek HS (SA) - Program: "Into the Light of Redemption"
Timber Creek's show starts off with an excellent movement segment and a series of sabre tosses on a white diamond that is revealed during that opening segment.The introduction of the red flag from the flag line is very well executed, as more white diamonds are revealed on the floor, and then, re-covered to return to the blue floor.
The floor transforms using white and blue flaps to create "mountains" while the rifle line is introduced. It's a very neat effect and a great way to reshape the floor during the performance. The introduction of a candy corn colored flag builds nicely to a very cool, nicely layered flag feature on a now-mostly-white floor. At the end, the performers disappear beneath to floor flaps, leaving only one performer, at the end.
Very neat show, Timber Creek.
Lovejoy HS (SA) - Program: "Goodnight Moon"
This floor features a great image of a moonrise. The performers are costumed in flowing dresses that move beautifully with the performers - a very ethereal feel. The flag designs have tails, which makes them look almost like comets.
There's an excellent moment where the flag line performs and the remainder of the guard dances. After the flags open, the dancers perform a turning leap which opens the dresses, creating a beautiful effect.
The sabre work is incredibly written, building to the tosses and using musical phrases to sing.
There's a gorgeous lavender flag for the ensemble feature, and a very musical pause after the catch of a 45 toss.
Lovejoy does a great job of using "breath" in the flag work to emphasize pauses.
Going forward from here, we'll be switching between the Dallas and Riverside Regionals to try to capture as many guards as possible. We will indicate which Regional with each guard listing. This will mean that not every guard from both regionals will get covered, but we will do our best to get the majority of programs.
Dallas Regional: McKinney North HS (SA) - Program: "3.14159"
The show title is, of course, an expression of Pi to the fifth decimal.
Excellent opening flag soloist with a behind-the-back catch. Going into an ensemble flag statement, the guard is showing great control of their equipment.
The rifle introduction from the front sideline is a great moment, very well-timed.
The flag line reappears with flags numbered "3.14159" (one number per flag). It's a cool idea, and a great introduction of color. The build to the ending ensemble flag feature (on grey and black flags) is very nice, although the feature, itself, isn't finished, yet.
What's on the floor, so far, however, is great.
Dallas Regional: Reedy HS (SA) - Program: "We Are the World"
The blue uniforms look really nice against the white floor, here, although the neon yellow silks tend to disappear against the white.
Excellent mastery of the equipment throughout the program. There's a very nice flag exchange between performers, and lots of opportunity for growth and improvement. Great introduction of the rifles - great hands underneath those tosses.
Riverside Regional: Saugus HS (SRA) - Program: "Elton"
(Apologies for the audio issues - this is an on-site audio feed issue over which we have no control)
You can't miss this group with the gigantic pink piano on the floor. The performers execute their opening movement segment to a high level of success. A very impressive opening rifle toss on the back sideline. The flags do a very literal interpretation of "if they're green, or they're blue" - the flags are green or blue.
The pink flag ensemble flag feature is written with success in mind, and the performers achieve it wonderfully.
Dallas Regional: Azle HS (SA) - Program: "Georgia O'Keeffe on My Mind"
This was one of my favorite programs from Prelims - the floor, props, flags, and uniforms feature artwork from Georgia O'Keeffe's "Blue" series. The sabre and rifle lines demonstrate excellent control of their equipment.
The introduction of the red/pink flags is a very nice splash of color, and the closing flag feature (on blue flags, again) is very nicely done.
Dallas Regional: Memorial HS (SA) - Program: "Where You Are"
This floor makes great use of contrasting colors with a white floor and neon shaped stages around the floor.
Lots of demand from the performers - particularly the weapons - and it's nicely achieved.
The translucent/iridescent flags used for the closer are a relatively new development in guard - these flags have only really appeared in the past couple of years, and they make for a great effect.
Dallas Regional: Keller HS A (SA) - Program: "Earth"
This floor has a very neat design - looks like an oil stain on cracked earth.
Excellent movement writing.
The show is about pollution and the destruction of the earth.
Keller HS A is really punching above their weight with this weapon work, and they're doing it extremely well. These phrases are definitely Open Class, and the students are performing them very, very well.
Though the build to the flag feature isn't finished, yet, the feature itself is quick good.
Riverside Regional: La Canada HS (SA) - Program: "Our Secrets: Speak Easy; Speak Softly"
The uniforms are inspired by flapper dress from the 1920s fashion movement, and look great on the performers. Very musically appropriate, given the jazz motif and the music of Billie Holiday.
There are two large staircase props that are moved throughout the show to create staging opportunities.
Nice turn under the toss from the rifle soloist.
The ending flag feature is nicely accomplished, with a neat partner feature where the lower partner lifts another person, the top performer releases, and the bottom catches the flag.
Dallas Regional: Colleyville Heritage HS (SA)
The floor has a great image of a galaxy. The uniforms have an interesting piece of light-colored fabric that wraps diagonally from the right hip, around the back and over the left shoulder, and back down the right hip. It creates an interesting visual whenever the performers turn.
Lots of great things going on, here, and the closing flag feature is incredible. Great job, Colleyville Heritage!
Dallas Regional: The Colony HS (SA) - Program: "Lost in the Waves"
This a capella track is great with lots of opportunities for musical expression. There's some great writing in the front rifle trio.
The most impressive part is the no-count flag feature at the end, which requires a lot of concentration and timing execution from performers.
Riverside Coverage Update: Due to continued on-site audio issues, we're going to switch our coverage solely to the Dallas Regional for the time being. We will return to covering the Riverside World Class Finals after the conclusion of Dallas Finals.
Keller HS Varsity (SA) - Program: "Stole the Show"
This show makes excellent use of set design to stage the guard in different parts of the floor. There's a large, red-carpet-covered staircase and a forced perspective red carpet roll lined with stanchions and ropes. Very cool and effective.
There was a very nice rifle solo on top of the stairs, followed by an (unfinished) build to the ending flag feature, which includes a really cool roll underneath a 45 toss.
Lamar HS (SA) - Program: "What Lies Beyond"
Lamar HS was the first guard to go on in SA Round 1, which makes getting into Finals a long shot. This show, however, had the power to do it.
The floor has a comet flying through space, at the head of which is a soloist who does a very nice lift with another performer who tosses a sabre, which he catches.
There's a cool dual flag/sabre statement, where each performer has both a flag and sabre.
The closing flag statement is both incredibly musical and very well performed.
For this early in the season, especially given the relatively high level of demand in the work, Lamar HS is doing a phenomenal job.
Southlake Carroll HS (SA) - Program: "Home"
This show features a dark floor contrasted by white window frames.
The guard exhibits excellent control of both body and equipment throughout the program, with beautiful layering between the sabres and flags. The introduction of the neon closing flags is a great splash of color, and we see another roll underneath a 45 toss (side note: those kinds of tricks used to be pretty much the stuff of World Class. It's really nice to see younger guards both trying and achieving these maneuvers.
Guyer HS (SA) - Program: "What a Cliche"
This show features "Send in the Clowns," replete with adult-sized tricycles. The guard performs the role of "clown" very well. The rifle writing is exceptional, with lots of exploration of work between the legs.
Again, we're seeing a higher level of difficulty in A Class, as well as a high level of achievement, than has traditionally been the case. Guyer HS is no exception. The rainbow flag feature is very well written, with lots of rolls around the body that increase the difficultly level.
Latitude Independent (Independent A):
Latitude makes great use of the space for being such a small guard (seven members). With groups this small, there's a lot of reliance upon performance and execution from every individual - if one person is out of time, everyone can see it.
That said, each of these performers are very talented, and do a great job performing the work to a great deal of achievement. Every moment is staged to best highlight their ability to perform Open Class-level work very well. The ending flag feature has a whole section of work performed in unison on the ground, which is nice.
There's a lot of room to grow with this show, and they're doing all the right things.
Eagle Mountain Independent (IA): Program - "You Get My Love"
I really love the uniforms, here - black and white with gold accents and gold that extends from the ankle to the knee, mimicking knee-high boots.
The rifle line does a great job of locking in the dip before they release their tosses, and moves very well under their equipment.
I'm assuming that the hula hoops represent wedding bands, and the guard makes good use of them, both in terms of the work they do, and in interacting with other performers.
The ending flag feature on the yellow flags is really well layered and the flag contrasts really well with the floor.
There's a lot of room for further development, in terms of phrasing and connecting ideas, but overall, the performers are doing a great job with what they've been given.
Coppell HS (Scholastic Open): Program - "No Path"
Coppell's floor design is lush in Springtime colors, with cherry trees in full bloom. The segments of the floor are printed with David Whyte's poem, "No Path" - every part of the set, from the trees to the benches and the bridge. It's very cool.
The performers are performing really cool, intricate phrases on all primaries (i.e. - flags, rifles, and sabres), much of which includes contact with the body - rolling the equipment around, over, and under body parts, rather than relying upon hands to propel the equipment.
There's a nice sabre section with a couple of tricky releases and rolls underneath which are mostly pulled off by every performer - for early February, that's perfectly fine.
The closing flag feature on the flags with gradations of orange/yellow is a really nice section that follows the indication of the poem - the word "breath" is represented by pauses in the flag work, and the performers look mature doing it. There's a fun double flag toss (one toss followed immediately by another) at the end.
Little Elm HS (SO): Program - "Servant of Love"
Little Elm's set has a catwalk in the back-right corner out from which the performers pull maroon elastic bands (which I believe represents blood) and their dark design aesthetic continue with the flag designs. The uniform has interesting strips of fabric on the legs which create a nice effect whenever the performers turn.
The ensemble purple flag segment is written with a high level of musicality.
These kids have some hands on them: there's excellent common rotation from person to person with every weapon toss, and a good, consistent rotation speed from performer to performer; even the more difficult flag passages are pulled off with seeming ease.
Aledo HS (SO): Program - "Lost Love"
The tombstone floor is a nice image.
There's a lot of excellent writing, throughout the program, that is responsive to the lyrics: 'Turning,' for example, has performers turning under rifle tosses.
Excellent use of the white chairs to reshape the stage, and the red rose flags are an excellent shock of color against that grey floor. The feature has a few timing issues, but those will resolve themselves as the season goes progresses.
Great job, Aledo!
Cedar Park HS (SO): Program - "Endohedron"
Nice opening movement statement, with lots of great performances from person to person.
Much of the work is performed in a round (one performer starts on count 1; the next starts on count 5), which is very effective when used with the right music. That's done well, here.
The closing flag statement on the black and white polka dotted flags is well written and well executed. There's a lot of changing of planes momentum changes that are accomplished with aplomb.
Flower Mound HS (SO):
Flower Mound's floor has a gigantic eye in the middle of it accented by concentric circles. Their musical selection is from Walt Disney's Millennium Celebration - "Reflections of Earth / Tapestry of Nations," including Chaos, Space, and Life.
Space - the slow segment - features some excellent sabre and flag passages. There's also a really well time flag exchange around the shape during the ending flag feature.
Choctaw HS (SO): Program- "Hereafter"
The floor design does a great job of separating the floor into different "stages."
The musical phrasing in the work is delicious, seamlessly moving from moment to moment, and perfectly accenting the music. The melodic rifle work is superb, and the performers do a great job with it.
The movement book puts a great deal of demand upon the performers, who must really try to emote - which they accomplish well - and it does a great job of moving with the music. Great job, Choctaw!
Marcus HS (Scholastic World): Program - "Stars"
Marcus' soundtrack is really cool, using an a neat start that announces the guard, rather than having the announcer do it for them.
The movement book is really responsive to the lyrics in the music, which is about the ups and downs of striving to become, becoming, and being a "Star" (read: famous).
There's an excellently timed rifle release on the word "young," and it's satisfying to watch, as well as beautiful arabesque turn underneath a flag toss.
The add-on feature building to the ensemble flag feature is very well done, and then the program makes use of spot lights facing the audience to mimic camera flashbulbs, which is a really neat effect.
Marcus' show has something new to see, every time you watch.
CGT Denton (Independent World): Program - "Wanted"
CGT Denton is the newcomer to Independent World, this year, having placed 2nd in Independent Open in 2018. This year's program, "Wanted," is set in an Old West saloon, with tables, chairs, beer steins, and period costuming. Each performer's look is unique.
As with every Michael Shapiro show, the work is ridiculously hard; the difference between now and twenty years ago is that there are no so many performers capable of achieving his work (and that's a GREAT thing for audiences).
The audience really responds to the "feature" performer who, after coming into the saloon, immediately takes off his serape and performs the rest of the show shirtless.
No Michael Shapiro show would be complete without a segment that requires performers to spin with one hand while holding another object in the other.
The ending flag feature is SUPERB, with a turquoise and brown silk that really pops on the brown floor.
CGT Dallas (IW): Program - "Unsub"
CGT Dallas, coming off of their Fan Favorite win, last year, brings us a show about a car accident - a hit and run, to be specific. The floor is a cracked windshield, a double yellow line, a chalk outline of a body, and a literal car, along with a gigantic "WANTED" billboard offering a $50,000 reward for the person who finds the guard member.
(Where can I get this money?)
The guard is split into two groups - the dark uniforms are CSI investigators, and the light uniforms are, ostensibly, the "Unsubs" ("Unidentified Subjects").
Another Michael Shapiro production, the work is super difficult, and, again, the performers are, for the most part, achieving it. The first flags are fingerprints and a reverse image of the fingerprints (dark and light flags).
The weapons do a ridiculous amount of acrobatics underneath their tosses, which...as a performer, if someone asked me to do that, I'd walk out of the gym. I'm too old for that death trap.
The closing flag work, like all of Shapiro's work, is incredibly musical, picking up virtually every count in the show. It's a really impressive flag statement, as well. I'm hoping that this year's show sees as much success as last year's.
Back over to Riverside for World Class Finals. The audio issues seem to have largely been resolved while we were away. There's still some crackling, but it's audible, now.
Vox Artium (Independent Open): Program - "Will You...?"
This show features a fantastic floor design, with a rose inside of a face silhouette in profile, with a number of excellent sabre passages, including a lot of sabre work done around and under the legs.
The ending flag feature (on a red rose flag) is very well written and executed. With that flag design, if even one member releases a nanosecond late, it's super obvious.
Based on the content of this work, it's clear that Vox Artium is looking to move up to World Class at the end of this season.
El Dorado HS (Scholastic World): Program - "Interrupted"
This show begins with Beethoven's 5th Symphony and devolves into a chaotic mix of various songs, all starting and stopping at random places (which is borne out in the equipment work and movement).
The show starts out on a toss, which is very difficult to time properly.
The rifle section has some really great writing with lots of backhand catches and sections of the work that come to a dead stop, pause, and resume on a different musical cue, altogether.
There's a nifty section of the show where the flag line removes their silks from their poles and use them as scarfs, while the rifles take some of the silks and attach them to the straps of their guns.
The ending flag feature, on a solid neon yellow flag, starts playing the denouement of Beethoven's 5th Symphony, only to stop about twelve counts into the work, which is both abrupt and really cool.
This show has a lot of cleaning to do before it goes to Dayton, but I'm confident that El Dorado will put on a fantastic show.
Arcadia HS (SW): Program - "Manifesto"
This is Arcadia High School's first year in WGI under new direction, and this year's guard is roughly half the size of last year's. That said, each of the performers are incredible at what they do.
The floor features a blue hashtag against a black background with music from Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross (from The Social Network, I believe) with a poem about the Millennial generation over top of it.
The thing with spoken word pieces is that you have to respond to verbal cues, rather than musical ones (although, one can argue that verbal cues ARE musical, as they are rhythmic). This requires a great deal of exact timing for the visual effects to be pulled off well.
This show has a lot of great potential if they can get that timing 100% in sync, which they will. But, it's a great example of a spoken-word show.
Malachi Independent (IW):
Malachi's show opens with some very nice movement that goes into a well-written sabre/flag section. The silks are a psychedelic turquoise and aqua tie dye swirl, which nicely contrast with the black floor. The music incorporate's Björk's "107 Steps" from the 2000 film musical, Dancer in the Dark. In the film, Björk's character, Selma, is being led to her execution (by hanging), which is represented on the floor by wooden planks roughly set in the shape of a noose.
Several rifle tosses, throughout the show, went so high they were obscured by the overhead speakers...at the top of the gym.
The flag statements throughout this show were really incredibly written and performed. If this entry seems shorter than the others, it's because I was so into watching that I couldn't type at the same time. There were a lot of moments where the stage was "reshaped" using wooden planks, which ended up creating four separate sections of the floor for the ending flag statement (on a purple silk).
It's clear that a lot of time has been spent on these flag statements, because they're much cleaner than most parts of other groups' shows at this point in the season. Lots of great things happening, Malachi!
Fantasia is back, and BOY, are they moving.
This show is very reminiscent of St. Ann's shows from the late 1990s/2000s - classical music as the track with percussive, precise equipment work performed with a great deal of accuracy. The show design, itself, is mostly minimalist...until the flags come out, and they're a violent splash of jumbled colors. They don't have their uniforms (and perhaps their floor), yet, which may change my analysis of the design.
The show is very weapon-heavy - flags are only on the floor for about thirty seconds - and the entire guard spins rifles and sabres with a high level of achievement despite the fast, difficult nature of the work.
As with every show that follows this design aesthetic, precision is the name of the game. If even one person is out of time or tosses late, everybody in the audience notices, and the effect is "ruined." As the season progresses, timing issues will get ironed out, and I'm positive that this show will perform well in Dayton.
Diamante (IW): Program - "If it's Meant to Be"
Diamante's opening movement segment is incredible. Actually, their movement book throughout the show is beautiful, capitalizing heavily upon the use of breath, delay, and suspension to create effect.
While it's still early in the season and the design elements aren't yet in place (uniforms, floor, et cetera), the framework is there, and it's amazing. The show uses contrary motion and a minimalist approach to balancing the number of performers on the floor.
The most impressive section of the show is a nearly minute-long rifle feature that involves the rifle line literally wearing another performer like a backpack...an upside down backpack that participates in the rifle work and does cartwheels with them. It's awe-inspiring, to say the very least.
There are a lot of moments throughout the show where balance, both in terms of staging and in terms of performers balancing against one another are used to create great effect. There are only two flags in the whole show (by which I mean two literal flags, not two sets of silks), and they're used to balance out each other, starting at opposite corners of the floor and traveling around the floor within matching circles.
Of the shows I've seen, this season (which, to be fair, aren't a lot), this is my favorite World show, so far. There's so much beauty and nuance packed into this program, and I really anticipate it doing well throughout the season. Of course, there are always bugs to iron out in terms of cleanliness and execution, but all of the elements are in place to put on a breathtaking show.
This ends the Live Blog portion of today's coverage. Thank you for staying tuned to FloMarching, and we'll see you, next weekend (February 16-17, 2019), live from Indianapolis, IN and Dayton, OH for a two-day Color Guard and Percussion/Winds Regional.