The 2021 winter guard season will be very different for those who are coordinating a team. Many circuits are adding or switching entirely to virtual competition in order to accommodate the variety of restrictions in place across the country due to COVID-19. Non-competitive options are also becoming more available in many types of formats, allowing groups and individuals to explore the activity in both familiar and unfamiliar ways.
In this sport, most of us are highly competitive, but non-competitive seasons have their perks as well. Teams can put together a traditional winter guard show, focused just on the team itself, alleviating some of the pressure that competition can cause.
During a season when individuals or the whole group may not be able to practice as consistently due to health and safety concerns, non-competitive adjudication can be a great solution. The non-competitive format also incentivizes instructors and students who have never done an indoor season to more comfortably try it out.
Personally, I’m most excited to see how units, small groups, and individuals use some of the more open virtual options, those that throw out many of the traditional rules for competitive shows. For example, videos can be edited together instead of using one-camera, one-take video that is required for most virtual competitions.
Because they don’t adhere to the rules of competition, virtual showcases give performers of all ages and abilities the chance to work together on one project, even doing so from their own homes or other locations, using the environment to enhance their shows in ways that are impossible in gyms.
Whether you plan to compete or not this season, I highly recommend checking out the options available to you through WGI Sport of the Arts or your local circuit. Doing something during the winter season will bring a bit more normalcy after last winter’s abrupt end and the unusual summer and fall marching seasons that we’ve just experienced.