Tarleton music department to install Winterguard program


The JTAC/ Alex Huerta

The ULTRA statue located outside of the Clyde H. Wells Fine Arts building.

The Tarleton music department will be instating a Winterguard program for the 2020-2021 season. Winterguard is an indoor version of color guard similar to what marching band does on the field during a football game. It is referred to as the “Sport of the Arts” and is one of the most prevalent pageantry events. Theatrics such as flags, sabers and dance are used to bring pre-recorded music to life. These performances take place inside on a gymnasium floor and include costumes, floor coverings and sometimes props.

Because of the interests of the students, the music department has been looking into having a Winterguard program since 2009. This year became a great opportunity to start a Winterguard program with the recent hiring of Dr. Estelle Murr, who is in charge of design, programming, choreography and instruction for both outdoor and indoor color guard productions for The Sound and The Fury’s color guard, Purple Pride.

“As an educational institution, it is the responsibility of the university to prepare students for a variety of careers including teaching and performance,” Director of Athletic Bands, Associate Director of Bands and Coordinator of Undergraduate Music Education, Dr. Gary Westbrook said. “With a Winterguard, we provide our band and color guard students with the tools and experience needed to teach or perform at different levels.”

Usually marching band pre-season is early summer with performances in the fall and Winterguard pre-season is early winter with performances in late winter and spring, but because of the pandemic, the marching band and Winterguard teams will work alongside each other for the 2020-2021 season.

Winterguard will look differently due to the pandemic. Rehearsals will be shorter and less interwoven than usual, along with the requiring of social distancing and face coverings. Traditionally, the team would compete state-wide and then move to competing nationally. However, travel opportunities to represent Tarleton in competitions may be restricted. With the North Texas Colorguard Association, there will be a hybrid system that will incorporate both in person and virtual opportunities to perform locally and in competitions. With Tarleton’s approval, the Winterguard be able to compete three times in the DFW area.

“Establishing a Winterguard will provide Tarleton students with an additional outlet for performance and competition and will ultimately serve as an outstanding recruiting tool for color guard members who perform during football season with The Sound and The Fury,” Westbrook said.

With the addition of Winterguard, Tarleton color guard will now be a year-round activity with Purple Pride in the summer and fall and Winterguard in the winter and spring.

“Students will have the opportunity to participate with winds and percussion during marching season and in their own productions while the instrumentalists are performing as concert bands,” Westbrook said.

By adding the Winterguard program, the music department hopes to expand the number of students in color guard, accolades for Tarleton and happier students who are now able to rehearse and perform year-round.

“I had the opportunity to be a member of the Winterguard in my high school and absolutely loved every moment. Since my freshman year of college here at Tarleton I have been begging and repetitively asking to have a Winterguard team at this university,” head drum major for The Sound and The Fury, Taylor Welch said.

Welch is a Senior Music Business major here at Tarleton.

“I am so excited [for Winterguard] that I have already begun spinning my flag and doing some dance practice to get prepared,” Welch said. “A Winterguard program at Tarleton is important to have simply to be able to claim such a strong and beautiful group to grow and represent Tarleton with pride.”

The Winterguard for the 2020/2021 season will begin late winter and early spring alongside the marching band. More information can be found at https://www.tarleton.edu/band/index.html.