Full Recap: 2019 WGI Guard Open Class Finals

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The best Open Class guards in the world gathered in Dayton, OH, this week, for the 2019 WGI Guard World Championships to see who would claim the honor of being an Open Class Finalist. On Saturday, April 6th, they got their answer.

Let's see who made the grade:


Scholastic Open:

In Scholastic Open, 15 guards made it to Open Class Finals, and along the way, placements were tight and ties did abound. Coming out of Semi-Finals, places 14-12 all scored between 88.200 and 88.900; places 11-10 scored between 89.300 and 89.500; places 7-4 all scored between 91.500 and 91.900, including a tie for 7th between East Coweta and Ben Davis HS; places 3-1 all scored between 94.300 and 94.700, including a tie for 1st between Arvin and Fishers HS.

Let's take a look at the changes from Semi-Finals to Finals:


Semi-FinalsChangeFinals
PlacementUnitScorePlacementUnitScore
15Choctaw HS (Choctaw, OK)87.900=15Choctaw HS (Choctaw, OK)84.250
14El Capitan HS (Merced , CA)88.200=14El Capitan HS (Merced , CA)84.300
13Marvin Ridge HS (Waxhaw, NC)88.400=13Marvin Ridge HS (Waxhaw, NC)85.150
12Dartmouth HS (Dartmouth, MA)88.900=12Dartmouth HS (Dartmouth, MA)86.600
11Cleveland HS (NC) (Clayton, NC)89.30011th -> 9th11Seminole HS (Seminole, FL)87.650
10Milford HS (OH) (Milford, OH)89.500=10Milford HS (OH) (Milford, OH)87.700
9Seminole HS (Seminole, FL)90.5009th -> 11th9Cleveland HS (NC) (Clayton, NC)88.400
7East Coweta HS (Sharpsburg, GA)91.5007th -> 8th8East Coweta HS (Sharpsburg, GA)91.500
7Ben Davis HS (Indianapolis, IN)91.5007th -> 5th7Oviedo HS (Oviedo, FL)91.950
6McNeil HS (Austin, TX)91.6006th -> 4th6Little Elm HS (Little Elm, TX)92.050
5Little Elm HS (Little Elm, TX)91.9005th -> 6th5Ben Davis HS (Indianapolis, IN)92.200
4Oviedo HS (Oviedo, FL)92.7004th -> 7th4McNeil HS (Austin, TX)92.650
3Dripping Springs HS (Dripping Springs, TX)94.300=3Dripping Springs HS (Dripping Springs, TX)96.100
1Arvin HS (Arvin, CA)94.7001st -> 2nd2Arvin HS (Arvin, CA)96.250
1Fishers HS (Fishers, IN)94.700=1Fishers HS (Fishers, IN)97.550


After everything panned out, Dripping Springs HS took home 3rd Place with their amusement park-themed program, "Wonderland," with a score of 96.100. Dripping Springs' program featured a phenomenal prop - a functional rotating classic theme park spaceship ride. In addition to several beautiful moments throughout the program, the ensemble flag feature on the red flags was truly resplendent, and the denouement to the end really brought an excellent and fulfilling end to a wonderful program.



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Coming in 2nd Place, with a score of 96.250, was Arvin HS with their program, "Yūgen," an astronomical show about the the Japanese concept of "Yūgen" - a deep awareness of the universe. The floor design featured a greyscale image of a purple galaxy. The purple of the galaxy was represented in the first set of flags, and the sun of the galaxy was represented by a gorgeous set of flags that looked like a solar flare. Every moment of this show was well balanced, in terms of staging and work, with performers being smartly grouped in generally equal numbers on either side of the floor, even as the shapes rotate (performers groups in the lower-left / upper-right with a line bisecting the floor). I highly suggest you check out this gorgeous program, below:


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In 1st Place, with a score of 97.550, was Fishers HS with their program, "A Self-Evident Truth," an incredibly powerful interpretation of the 1968 classic, "Abraham, Martin, and John." The song, written by Dick Holler and performed originally by the mononymous performer, Dion, was written after the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy by Sirhan Sirhan in 1968, and speaks about the great works of Abraham Lincoln, John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Jr., and RFK, imploring Americans to not allow their dreams of a better nation die along with them, but to carry on their work in their absence.

The cover they chose is truly haunting, and this is exemplified in the design choices - a ≠ sign present on the floor; the raising of four American flags to half-staff; the translucent flag designs. It really has to be seen to understand the power behind both the song and the show, so check it out, below:


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WGI fans voted Dartmouth HS the 2019 WGI Scholastic Open Class Fans' Favorite with their program, "Granted." This show was just phenomenally fun, incorporating Christina Aguilera's 90s classic, "Genie in a Bottle," with Britney Spears' 2001 hit, "I'm a Slave 4 U," along with fantastic Persion drum music. Rather than a traditional floor, Dartmouth had several small tarps designed to look like Persian rugs, old fashioned luggage, and flags designed to look like the various smoke effects that came out of Jeannie's bottle in the 1960s television classic, I Dream of Jeannie.

This is the fourth consecutive year that Dartmouth has taken home the Fans' Favorite (2016-2019), from their time in Scholastic A and into Scholastic Open.


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Independent Open:

In Independent Open Class, 15 guards advanced to the 2019 WGI Guard Open Class Finals, and though the score spreads were close during Semi-Finals, those scores opened up pretty well during Finals.

Let's take a look at what changed between Semi-Finals and Finals:

 

Semi-Finals
ChangeFinals
PlacementUnitScorePlacementUnitScore
15Tampa Independent (Tampa, FL)87.500=15Tampa Independent (Tampa, FL)83.700
14Phoenix Independent (Sylvania, OH)88.300=14Phoenix Independent (Sylvania, OH)85.700
13Eklipse (Murfreesboro, TN)88.60013th -> 12th13JMU Nuance Open (Harrisonburg, VA)86.150
12Georgia State University Winterguard (Atlanta, GA)89.10012th -> 11th12Eklipse (Murfreesboro, TN)86.800
11JMU Nuance Open (Harrisonburg, VA)89.70011th -> 13th11Georgia State University Winterguard (Atlanta, GA)87.200
10Black Gold Open (Dallas/Ft. Worth, TX)90.50010th -> 9th10Alta Marea Winterguard (Tuscaloosa, AL)88.150
9Alta Marea Winterguard (Tuscaloosa, AL)91.4009th -> 10th9Black Gold Open (Dallas/Ft. Worth, TX)88.400
8Legacy presented by Carolina Gold (Raleigh, NC)91.500=8Legacy presented by Carolina Gold (Raleigh, NC)90.550
7Vox Artium (San Diego, CA)91.600=7Vox Artium (San Diego, CA)91.850
6Allegiance (Dundee, IL)92.900=6Allegiance (Dundee, IL)92.450
5Sensation Performance Ensemble (The Netherlands)94.3005th -> 3rd5ORIGINS (Austin, TX)94.750
4ORIGINS (Austin, TX)94.4004th -> 5th4FIU Winterguard (Miami, FL)94.850
3FIU Winterguard (Miami, FL)95.4003rd -> 4th3Sensation Performance Ensemble (The Netherlands)95.600
2Paramount Open Winterguard (Atlanta, GA)96.300=2Paramount Open Winterguard (Atlanta, GA)97.450
1George Mason University Winterguard (Fairfax, Virginia)97.900=1George Mason University Winterguard (Fairfax, Virginia)99.000


Jumping two places, from 5th to 3rd Place, with a Finals score of 95.600 was Sensation Performance Ensemble - the only guard in Open Class Finals not from North America - with their program, "Every Ending is a New Beginning."

Everything about this program appealed to my design sensibilities - they moved gracefully and with great precision, they spun impeccably, and the staging and design were both simple and effective. My favorite effect were these ghostly flyover fabrics that they brought out mid-way through the program. They wafted and waved through the air, floating as gracefully as the performers spun, and the use of one during the last counts of the show was just marvelous.

Check out their program, below:


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In 2nd Place, with a score of 97.450, came Paramount Open with their program, "Such Great Heights." This program made excellent use of five large cube props that they moved around the floor to create stages using the optical illusion made by the cubes. The performers spun amazingly fluid and intricate work, and moved incredibly well. The uniforms were exquisite, and really fit the overall design of the show. As the show progresses, the cubes are joined, unjoined, shaped, and reshaped into various sculptures.

Check out their show, below:


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Finally, in 1st Place, with an astounding score of 99.000, was George Mason University Winterguard with their program, "The Journey Back." This show made fantastic use of the Fibonacci Sequence in the floor design, which the designers then used to drive the staging and drill design. The performers perform within the confines fo the Fibonacci Sequence - adhering to the spiral as they spin and move.

It's really fantastic design, and I highly suggest you check out the video below:


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WGI fans voted FIU Winterguard the 2019 WGI Independent Open Class Fans' Favorite with their program, "The Witching Hour."

I made this joke during the Live Blog session, but it bears repeating: FIU's show had more lumber in it than the Home Depot in Wilton Manors, FL. What's even better is that they actually utilize it...ALL of it. They use the wood to create pathways, stages, a funeral pyre, as a fantastic prop during a rifle feature, and to make a pentagram. Moreover, they use LED lighting in a VERY cool way.

Check out why WGI Fans chose FIU Winterguard to be their Fans' Favorite in the video below:


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