The winter guard and indoor percussion groups each placed first in their divisions.
For six minutes, two Seabreeze High School groups became storytellers.
The school's winter guard and indoor percussion each made the Ocean Center their stage during the 2019 Florida Federation of Colorguards Circuit Championships, held from March 29-31. The winter guard twirled flags, rifles and sabres to the beat of a Lindsey Stirling song, surrounding an orchestra student on a pedestal with her violin. The indoor percussion group, directed by Clifton Benoit, transformed into the Seabreeze Pizza Co., telling the story of a pizza delivery through music and drills.
Both groups are relatively new to the competition world. Still, the winter guard and the indoor percussion won first place in their respective divisions at the championship.
“To make art, whether it’s with a drum or with a flag, I think it’s going to help define our culture in the future," SHS Band Director Jarrod Koskoski said.
While there was a program before he arrived at Seabreeze, the winter guard program in its current form began six years ago, Koskoski said. The prior program wasn't competitive, and it took an extra year after its revamping to participate in competitions. It's not like the old drill teams people think of when they hear "color guard," he said; it's a theatrical production.
Winter guard director Dominica Stanger said competing allows students to go against a larger group. There are 27 guards in the classification level Seabreeze is at, and the schools don't always interact. In a championship, everything is bigger, she said — the audience, the performance venue.
The winter guard also came in second at the state level by two-tenths of a point. For her, it's satisfying to see the students get the recognition they deserve. To perform, they have to put aside all of their fears and anxieties, she said, and they need to feel like they were successful, no matter the outcome.
“It’s super important that they can feel that — that they can walk away being better, stronger people," Stanger said. "When they ask to rehearse, when they ask for extra practice, it is paying off.”
Koskoski said he enjoys seeing the students grow and start believing in themselves and their leadership. It's not about the placement, he said. It's about the students bettering and applying themselves in an activity they love.
“That to me, is the measure of success," Koskoski said.
The indoor percussion group started two years ago. Last year, the group came in fourth place at the FFCC championship. When it was announced that the indoor percussion and the winter guard won first place, Koskoski it was like an eruption. Stanger said the students were ecstatic. They cried.
“All that emotion came down in one fell swoop because it’s been that long for some of these kids," Koskoski said. "Some of these kids have been doing this for four years. It’s been four years in the making.”