Color guard participates in international competition

Just like sports, every marching band season comes to an end. After ending their season last fall, several Racer Band color guard members, along with local high school students, came together to reunite their winter guard because they did not want to stop performing.

Fusion, an independent, indoor color guard, based out of Murray, was created at the end of 2011 as a result of local students wanting to perform and compete after marching band ended. The competitions differ from marching band shows because they take place inside a gym rather than on a football field, and they consist of either color guard or percussion ensembles. There are no wind or brass instruments involved.

The members of Fusion perform with flags, rifles and sabers. Their show this year was themed “Angels,” and included the song “Tears of an Angel” by Ryan and Dan Kowarsky.

“The show was based around the fact that we were all angels and someone had died, and we were basically trying to get her to heaven,” Jennifer Marks, senior from Madisonville, Ky., said. “She started out in the church just kind of lying at her funeral, and eventually she got to heaven in the end.”

Rehearsals for the season began in November and took place every weekend.

“We would start around eight or nine in the morning, depending on everybody’s schedules, and we would go till about nine or ten at night,” Marks said. “We would do our stretch and warm-up block, and then we would do a dance block, and then flag block to kind of get warmed up, and then we would work on drill or work on (technique) and start cleaning or changing things.”

Fusion competes in Independent A class as a part of the Southeastern Color Guard Circuit. The SCGC consists of winter guards of all skill levels in the Kentucky and Tennessee areas.

The guard competed in eight competitions total this year and rarely placed below third.

“We actually medaled at championships,” Marks said. “We finished third out of eight in our class, so I thought that was pretty exciting. We medaled, which is a big deal for the class that we’re in.”

Last week, Fusion competed in Winter Guard International, which is a four-day event.

“We had a pretty good run (at WGI),” Marks said. “We were in a pretty tight class, but we did really well for the season, so we were happy to end on that note.”

Fusion is instructed by three experienced performers from the surrounding area: Troy Jones, Michael Horvarth and Levi Brandenburg.

The guard ended its season with nine members, which differs from when they began.

“This season has been quite a ride,” Brittany McCoy, senior from Benton, Ky., said. “We started out with about 12 members and finished the season with nine girls. There were three high schoolers and

the other seven were Murray State students. Our ages ranged from 15 to 22. Jennifer Marks and I aged out this season,

and Kirstie Ballard joined us

by completing her final season of winterguard.”

Regardless of losing members throughout the season, both seniors are satisfied with their final season of color guard.

“When I think about this season, I can’t help but to smile,” McCoy said. “Even though my guard career has come to an end after nine years, these girls have given me the best season of guard I’ve had.”

Story by Anna Taylor, Staff writer.