Written By: Shirley Guzman
As the winter season comes to a close, Port Chester High School’s Winter Guard team is celebrating another successful season hosted by the Connecticut Musical Arts Conference. The talented group of performers, led by their dedicated coaches, wowed audiences with their captivating routines. They concluded the season with a final score of 90.9, placing them in second place for their division out of 12 guards.
The Port Chester High School Winter Guard team is a competitive color guard ensemble that combines elements of dance, spinning flags, rifles, and sabers to create visually stunning story-filled performances. This year, the guard took a unique approach to their theme that made them stand out from other guards in their category. Arrayed in antique doll costumes, the guard performed to a rendition of “Creep” by Radiohead to bring to life the tragic tale of forgotten dolls in an attic who long to feel wanted again.
The team began to prepare for this year’s season, titled “Forgotten Treasures,” in mid-December. They started off the season strong with a first place win at their first competition on February 11th. They kept their momentum throughout the season and maintained a rank of first and second place. Though there were challenges along the way regarding practices, the PCHS Winter Guard was able to bounce back every time.
The end of the 2023 season was a special one for the current senior members, especially those who have spent their last four years as part of the team. The last competition was emotional as seniors reminisced on their experience in the guard throughout high school, which created a sense of community and family. As senior Captain, Sophia Ortiz-Heaney said, “There was a lot of hard work that went into it but also a lot of love, support, and happiness. I wouldn’t trade this season for the world.”
“I want to go back and do it all over again. This activity is so unique and different, it’s something I will hold close to my heart,” adds Shaana Cheriyan. One of her favorite aspects of guard are the superstitions in place to insure a successful show. “Before every show, we say ‘don’t split the pole’! I’m not sure if the superstition holds, but it’s fun to say with my friends and keeps us in the moment and connected.”
While there is a lot of collaboration and camaraderie that comes with the sport, it’s also the guard’s impeccable talent that has led them to be as successful as they are each season. The team’s beloved coaches and instructors, Maria White, Enrique Cruz, Willy Sandoval, and Jack Lambert, have been an integral part of building the team’s skills. Through their leadership and passion for the program, they have spent the last few years shaping the guard into the champions they are today. They have certainly left their mark on the guard community. This year marks the end of their time instructing the Port Chester High School Winter Guard, making this season all the more memorable and nostalgic.
The Port Chester Winter Guard can look back with pride on their accomplishments. They have not only showcased their talent and skill, but have created cherished memories and lasting friendships. The team’s achievements will undoubtedly inspire future generations of Port Chester High School students to continue the legacy of excellence in winter guard.