Bob Jones Winter Guard: You Can’t to We Will

Janice Hendrick, Writer, Photographer

On January 27, 2018, the Bob Jones Indoor Winterguard traveled to Murfreesboro Tennessee to compete in the Stone River Winter Classic in part of their indoor circuit. The guard placed second in their division, Scholastic A (team tends to be a step above the regional level and are the lowest level to compete in WGI). The guard will be competing in five more competitions held by WGI, Winter Guard International, and SCGC, Southeastern Color Guard Circuit.

The 2018 show is titled “Wonder” and tells the story of women empowerment through flags, banners, costume designs, and narrative music backing the routine. A topic heavily discussed today, senior and captain Shelby Dennis shared that her favorite part was “how relevant the topics are and that it’s something I can relate to on a personal level. It gives me a greater understanding and a way to connect mentally, physically, and emotionally to the show so I’m not just performing it I’m living it.”

The design process for a winter guard show is a tedious thing and very time consuming because it involves choreography, music editing, prop design, flag pattern, and much more. Brooke Howe, the head coach of the winter guard, said, “The design is mostly just me. My husband helps me edit the music and I use a graphic designer to help me design the flags and the props. The drill and nearly all of the choreography is written by me. There is another instructor, Dottie Andrews, who helps me teach the girls technique and clean the show, and I have a consultant who reviews videos that I send him and he gives me tips on how to make adjustments for smoother transitions and bigger impacts.”

The show includes banners stretching the entirety of the mat with messages often seen when degrading women either in the workplace or in leadership positions. The message of the show is enlightening women that they’re capable of much more than they believe society is telling them. Howe said, “I’m teaching these 16 incredible young women how to spin and dance and perform, but I would be remiss not to teach them that they are capable of so much more. I partly created this show for any woman who has been told that she can’t do something simply because she is a woman, but mostly I created it for these young performers. Hopefully, they learn that they are not just the sum of what people say they are but are whatever they choose to be and can achieve wherever they deliver true effort.”

Shelby Dennis finds this year’s message to be “about changing the culture to where men are not superior to women in every aspect of life. For so long it’s always been, “That’s a man’s job. Women don’t belong here,” but this show really opens your eyes to see how prominent it really is in society and culture and the need to stand up and rise above all the hate and discrimination and be a strong woman in today’s world no matter the obstacles.”

The team contrasts with last year’s team where there are more members and with a mature content of the show, bringing the team together to convey a message to the audience. Dennis believes, “We all have something to fight for as a team which has really solidified the strength between us.” The team tells a butterfly effect where the girls move from negativity too and empowered woman that sends goosebumps to everyone watching.

Howe describes the team’s first competition as “extremely anxious. As an instructor, all you can do is prepare the students to the best of your ability and hope it’s enough. So, for the first minute or so I was very nervous, but as the show continued and the girls were getting through each part pretty successfully I started to calm down. Then when we hit our big moment in the show and the crowd went wild I knew we’d done something very special. A crowd reaction like that is so rare and I know the girls must have felt over the moon at that moment because I certainly did.”

The show this year is one of the most remarkable and relatable for any woman to see and creative for all staff on the Bob Jones Band Winter Guard. If you wish to see it, the annual SCGC event held at Bob Jones, Madtown Indoor Throwdown, is February 24, 2018, beginning at 10:30 A.M. with the Discovery indoor drumline. Don’t miss the opportunity to see our amazing Winter guard, Indoor Drumline, and our upcoming students from Discovery.