2015 WGI Winners

Santa Clara Vanguard Winter Guard
World Class


Guard Independent World

Santa Clara (California) Vanguard Winter Guard
Score of 98.250
Director: Denise Bonfiglio

#10 – You’ll Never Be Alone: Santa Clara Vanguard’s winter guard group celebrated its 10th anniversary with a gold medal in WGI’s Independent World class. The group was featured in bright red uniforms with random words printed on them, which represented a desire to communicate in a complicated world. The show took place with a set of long white tables across the middle of the tarp, around which the entire group sat at the conclusion of the show to demonstrate to the audience the concept of never being alone. Shockingly, a portion of the table collapsed about halfway through the performance, but members carried on as if nothing had happened. The group bested last year’s gold medalist, Onyx (96.350) from Dayton, Ohio, by almost two points. Pride of Cincinnati received the bronze medal with a score of 96.300.


Guard Scholastic World

Carmel (Indiana) High School
Score of 97.650
Director: Rosie Queen

OMEGA: Carmel High School’s winter guard reclaimed the gold medal in the Scholastic World category with a score of 97.650, more than two points higher than silver medalist Flanagan High School (95.500) from Pembroke Pines, Florida. Carmel’s show focused on rings, featuring a tarp with ring designs and using primarily large silver rings as props. The performance also featured exciting feats, including a few members supporting themselves (with no handles) inside the rings while being carried or rolled across the tarp as well as a concluding rifle toss through one of the tallest of the freestanding rings. James Logan High School from Union City, California, took home the bronze medal with a score of 95.150.


Percussion Independent World

RCC Indoor Percussion from Riverside, California
Score of 98.563
Director: Gary Locke

Guardians of the Breath: RCC Indoor Percussion’s ecology-themed show earned the group the gold medal in Independent World with a score of 98.563, a new world record for a marching percussion ensemble. Featuring steel tree props and members dressed in earth tones, this show served as a wake-up call about the dangers of the human lifestyle killing off trees. The show does end on a happy note, however, with the birth of a new tree, signifying hope for the guardians after all. Rhythm X earned the silver medal with a score of 96.950, finishing above last year’s winner Pulse Percussion, who took home the bronze medal with a score of 96.838.


Percussion Scholastic World

Chino Hills (California) HS
Score of 96.625
Directors: John Mapes and Ian Grom

Now You See Me …: Chino Hills High School’s indoor percussion group focused on the illusion of disappearance in its 2015 WGI show. The performance featured uniforms that blended into backdrops and designs on the tarp, giving the ensemble the appearance of disappearing at different points during the show. Less than one-tenth of a point separated Scholastic World champion Chino Hills from silver medalist Ayala High School (96.563), also from Chino Hills, California. Bronze medalist Dartmouth (Massachusetts) High School received a score of 95.588.


Winds Independent World

Rhythm X Winds from Dayton, Ohio
Score of 94.125
Director: Tim Fairbanks and Mike Scott

Uncharted Territory: In the WGI Winds debut, Rhythm X Winds won a gold medal in Independent World Class with a score of 94.125. Set on a tarp made to look like an old world map, its show explored the idea of finding new places and territories. Rhythm X Winds wowed the audience and the judges with its fast-paced movements and complex music arrangement. Orange County Independent Winds Ensemble from Huntington Beach, California, earned the silver medal with a score of 92.750, and Project Arts from Gainesville, Florida, took home the bronze with a score of 87.575.


Winds Scholastic World

Father Ryan HS from Nashville, Tennessee
Score of 85.625
Director: Jereme Frey

The Elements of Style: Father Ryan High School’s indoor winds group earned the Scholastic World gold medal in the WGI Winds debut with a score of 85.625. Set primarily to music from Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, the show explored the ideas of what elements go into musical style. The show featured square-shaped platforms that were made to look like elements from the periodic table, but instead of chemical elements, each square had a different element of style—such as “S” for “simplicity” and “Bc” for “be clear”—printed on it. Ada (Ohio) HS earned the silver medal with a score of 61.650.




 Open Class


Guard Independent Open

Interplay from Grand Rapids, Michigan
Score of 96.050
Director: Derek Smith, Bernie Stewart and Jessica Francis

Have a Seat …: A very emotional show stole the hearts of the audience and the judges, and earned Interplay the gold medal for Independent Open with a score of 96.050. Interplay’s performance largely focused on the use of chairs as props and told the story of a relationship that has lost its romance. The show came to an emotional end with a man and a woman sitting on chairs on opposite sides of the tarp, unable to reach each other. While Interplay won by more than a point, less than half a point separated silver medalist Etude (94.850) from Rock Hill, South Carolina, and bronze medalist Eclectix Independent (94.400) from Oklahoma City.


Guard Scholastic Open

Somerville (New Jersey) HS
Score of 95.500
Director: Joe Harris

Unexpected Elevations: After trailing Bellbrook (Ohio) High School—which finished the weekend with a score of 94.200—during semifinals, the Somerville (New Jersey) High School winter guard emerged with the gold medal with a final score of 95.500. Its elegant show included a dark tarp, which tore away to reveal a rifle. The show also revolved around a ladder, which was used as a prop in many creative ways, including being turned upside down to carry members around. Marcus High School from Flower Mound, Texas, took home the bronze medal with a score of 93.550. Somerville is one of 10 winter guards participating in Contemporary Color, a performance combining live pop artists with guard teams.


Percussion Independent Open

Spirit of America Percussion Ensemble from Orleans, Massachusetts
Score of 97.025
Director: Richard Pugsley

Tango: Frost on the Burning Rose: Spirit of America Percussion Ensemble danced its way to a gold medal with a score of 97.025. Based on the tango, its show was made up of four movements titled Love, Hate, Indifference and Passion. These movements were based on a couple, whose tango dancing throughout the program conveyed each of these stages in their relationship. Less than one point separated silver medalist Pioneer Indoor (95.350) from Romeoville, Illinois, and bronze medalist ViP-Vigilantes Indoor Percussion from Fort Worth, Texas (94.450).


Percussion Scholastic Open

Lebanon (Ohio) HS
Score of 98.025
Directors: Jared Thomas and Matt Hahn

Let It Ring!: Lebanon High School’s chime-featuring percussion show earned the gold medal with a score of 98.025, almost two points above silver medalist, Clear Brook High School (96.163) from Friendswood, Texas. The set included dark uniforms and tarps, which were punctuated by gold ring designs. The show largely focused on chimes and bells, using gold rings as props/instruments and ending with a powerful note that rang throughout the auditorium. Norwalk (Connecticut) High School took home the bronze with a score of 95.488.


Winds Independent Open

FIU Indoor Winds from Miami, Florida
Score of 89.825
Directors: Alejandro Guardia, Jr., and Christian Cruz-Vargas

Curse of the 9th: FIU Indoor Winds’ show, which explored the life and legacy of Ludwig van Beethoven, earned a gold medal with a score of 89.825. Set to music from Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony and other symphonic chamber music, the program explored the struggles of Beethoven trying to create his 10th symphonic masterpiece. The show featured a red piano in the middle of the floor with Beethoven plucking away at the keys and ended in Beethoven’s death, after which he is carried off the stage. More than two points separated FIU Indoor Winds from silver-medalist STRYKE Wynds (87.700) from Palm Beach, Florida. Notre Dame College Winds from South Euclid, Ohio, took home the bronze with a score of 86.125.


Winds Scholastic Open

Ola HS from McDonough, Georgia
Score of 89.125
Director: Joshua Walker

A Midwinter Night’s Dream: Big dreams earned Ola High School the gold medal with a score of 89.125. Its show, which included dark blue uniforms and snow-covered trees as props, follows a little girl and her teddy bear during her dream through a forest. The show ends with the ensemble falling asleep while the girl wakes up after her teddy bear is returned to her. Only one-tenths of a point separated Ola from silver medalist Central Lafourche High School (89.025) from Matthews, Louisiana. Greenfield (Indiana) Central High School won the bronze medal with a score of 80.975.



A Class


Guard Independent A

St. Ann’s from Neponset, Massachusetts
Score of 96.855
Director: Eileen Cunningham

HANDS: St. Ann’s was handed the gold medal with a score of 96.855. The performance featured a short but wide tarp with pictures of hands printed on it as well as large hand props. Its message was that hands are what make each person unique. The show included narration of many hand-based idioms and displayed what this group could do with its hands, including one-handed maneuvers and many partner-based tosses and spins. University of South Florida from Tampa, Florida, earned the silver medal with a score of 95.380, and Allegoria Winterguard from Dayton, Ohio, took home the bronze with a score of 94.360.


Guard Scholastic A

Marvin Ridge HS from Waxhaw, North Carolina
Score of 94.540
Director: Brian Winn

There’s No Place Like Home: Marvin Ridge High School’s guard team followed the path to a gold medal and a score of 94.540. Set to a cover of Elton John’s “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road,” the performance conveyed the message of following one’s own path and finding one’s own future beyond the yellow brick road. The set included a yellow brick road, which was only partially complete until the end of the show when the group set down their yellow-brick-designed flags to complete a path to follow home. Eastlake High School from El Paso, Texas, took home the silver medal with a score of 93.975, more than one point above bronze medalist Diamond Bar (California) High School (92.795).


Percussion Independent A

PureFusion Percussion from Greater Boston, Massachusetts
Score of 94.125
Director: Jennifer Hiser

Figaro!: PureFusion Percussion earned a gold medal and a score of 94.125 with its opera-themed show “Figaro!” This fast-paced and energetic show took place around a barbershop set, where members of the ensemble took turns getting haircuts and shaves. The bass drum section, whose drumheads featured pictures of mustaches, further punctuated the theme. Ferndale (Michigan) Independent Percussion earned the silver medal with a score of 93.800, and Elite Independent Percussion from Mandeville, Louisiana, took home the bronze medal with a score of 92.575.


Percussion Scholastic A

Lake Orion (Michigan) HS
Score of 94.738
Director: Paul Loos

The Shield: Lake Orion High School’s percussion ensemble battled its way to victory with a score of 94.738. Its program features members dressed as Spartans. The show starts with members training for combat and comes to an exciting conclusion with a battle between the Spartans and enemies in black cloaks and silver masks. The enemy is defeated, and red confetti flies up in the air. The silver medal was awarded to Hilliard (Ohio) Bradley High School with a score of 93.075. Westerville (Ohio) North High School took home the bronze with a score of 92.975.


Winds Independent A

Inertia Independent Winds from Madison County, Ohio
Score of 79.600
Director: Kriss Davis

The Music Performer in Four Parts: In the WGI Winds debut, Inertia Independent Winds earned a score of 79.600 along with the gold medal. Its show used a tarp divided into four different colored squares and explored the skills it takes to be a performer. Each of the four parts took place on a different square and featured the same performers with different instruments—brass, percussion, winds and then a combination—as well as flag equipment. LakeShoremen from Brownstown, Michigan, earned the silver medal with a score of 65.250.


Winds Scholastic A

Nova HS from Davie, Florida
Score of 89.925
Director: Anthony Fandrey

Lost in Space: Nova High School earned the gold medal with a score of 89.925. Its bluesy show featured a set of dark purples, blues and blacks to convey outer space. Throughout the show, the players demonstrate the idea of being lost in space through dramatic music and fluid movements. River Ridge High School from Woodstock, Georgia, earned the silver medal with a score of 87.725, and Jackson County Comprehensive High School from Jefferson, Georgia, received the bronze medal with a score of 85.225.


Photo by John Reichanadter, Marching.com

About author

Liz Neidich

Liz Neidich is a freelance writer for Halftime Magazine. She graduated from the University of Cincinnati (UC) in 2015 with a B.A. in creative writing, a B.A. in communications, and a certificate in journalism. She marched trumpet for five years in the Kenston High School Marching Band in Bainbridge, Ohio, and for three years in the UC Bearcat Marching Band. Liz currently serves as an Americorps VISTA on the communications and events team at CityLink Center in Cincinnati, Ohio.

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