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Music and dance take center stage at show in Waynesboro

February 27, 2005|BY BONNIE H. BRECHBILL

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - Thirty-three groups of majorettes, percussion ensembles and indoor guards from high schools in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, Virginia and West Virginia competed Saturday in the Waynesboro Indoor Guard and Drumline Show.

The Waynesboro Area Senior High School gym resounded with music and dance of many styles while enthusiastic parents and friends cheered the students on.

Most of the groups were in their first performance of a long day; a second show was scheduled later at Greencastle-Antrim Senior High School.

Warren Miller of Palmyra, Pa., president of the Keystone Indoor Drill Association, said many groups travel three or four hours to compete, and having events at Greencastle and Waynesboro on the same day is a boon for them.

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"Every unit has to compete in four shows to qualify for the championships," Miller said. "They can come here (for two shows) and not break their bank."

Indoor guard units perform precisely choreographed routines, and compete in regional events throughout the winter.

As hosts, the Waynesboro students could not compete against the other indoor guard units, but presented their routines as an exhibition. The group is directed by Vince Sanders and the show was written by Ryan Eberly.

In their exhibition, the Waynesboro Percussion Ensemble played Korean music and wore Asian-style cream-colored shirts and pants. They removed their slippers and bowed to the audience before starting to play.

Sarah Wisner, an English teacher at Waynesboro Area Senior High School and instructor for the Waynesboro color guard, said the students start learning the routines - a mixture of dance, flags, rifles and sabers - in October.

Wisner, who was in color guard when she was in high school, said the guard is a major commitment for the eighth- through 12th-graders.

"If you're in color guard, you can't do any other sports," Wisner said. "This is it."

The dedication has paid off - the group has placed first in its division at every show this year, Wisner said.

"I love working with these kids," she said. "We do it because we have a commitment to the students and to the sport."

Rachel Stoops, 16, a Waynesboro junior, has been in the color guard since she was a freshman. Handling flags, sabers and rifles in competition, she feels "really excited and kind of nervous."

Dropping something is always a possibility.

"We try not to let that happen," she said. "If it does, we pick it right back up and keep smiling. We can't let the judges know it wasn't supposed to happen."

Sam Forney, band director at Greencastle-Antrim Senior High School, brought 44 students to the competition. Thirty-one groups came to Greencastle later in the day.

The Greencastle-Antrim percussion line is undefeated this season, Forney said, and the guard has placed second in every show.

"We're noting steady improvement with the guard," Forney said. "They like their show, 'Letters from War.' It's a tear-jerker."

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