Known as “the sport of the arts,” color guard competition requires of its members the stamina of an athlete, the grace of a professional dancer, and the ability to twirl wooden rifles, sabers, and flags on the move. Competition requires larger and more difficult performance equipment and moves including elements of ballet and modern dance. Teams begin preparing in fall for competitions that run from January to April. South Shore Drill Team uses competition to keep members engaged and fit during the winter months.
On April 8, 2011, South Shore Drill Team members beat out hundreds of groups from across the country and around the globe to win the World Championships in Winter Guard International A Class Finals in Dayton, Ohio.
The Drill Team’s performance wowed judges and audiences alike, and received not only the best score in the competition, but a ten-minute standing ovation. The team’s victory was all the more impressive considering the challenges it faced. Lower-than-expected funding raised doubts about whether the team would be able to pay for costumes, equipment, entry fees, and travel costs. In February, one of the members was shot, and unable to continue performing, which required the addition of a last-minute substitution.
Despite these setbacks, the team persevered. Members traveled in the cold and snow and put in long practices. South Shore Drill Team had two units competing—a rare event, considering that most color guard teams have only enough talent to submit a single group. While both groups made it to Dayton, one group was eliminated in the semi-finals, and the other won the world championship.