SRU Winter Guard to compete at regional competition, travel to compete in Winter Guard International

Published by adviser, Author: Ron Owens - Rocket Contributor, Date: February 19, 2015
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Fresh from their first place win at the Three Rivers Winter Ensemble Association Contest on Jan. 31, Slippery Rock’s Winter Guard aims to add another win to their list on Feb. 28. The Guard will be competing at the Winter Guard International (WGI) Regional Competition at Norwin High School.

The Winter Guard recently won their second Three Rivers Winter Ensemble Association Contest at Gateway High School with a first place score of 87.25.

“We will be competing against 40 groups from across the eastern seaboard, New York, Virginia, North Carolina, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware to name a few,” said Bruno Zuccala, the Winter Guard’s coach and a 1979 graduate of SRU. “The Collegiate Groups are the fastest grouping. Locally Thiel College is one of our competitors.”

WGI is the world’s leading organization for Winter Guard competitions. They host competitions for color lines and marching bands at the local, regional, national and even international level.

“The fact that we are attending the regional is a new step for us actually,” said Samantha Passarello, an information systems and technology major and member of the Winter Guard. “I believe that attending a regional in the international circuit for Winter Guard will get our group and Slippery Rock University a lot more publicity.”

SRU’s Winter Guard is looking to step up its performance for Regionals. “There are improvements made every rehearsal,” said Zuccala, “We continue to develop our equipment and movement technique. We also enhance the show with detail and nuance. Making it believable for the audience is paramount. We are always looking to engage the crowd and make them a part of the program through our emotional presentation.”

Preparing for a competition like Regionals is a routine in itself. “We usually practice for a few hours in Morrow Field House. We also try to mentally prepare by relaxing and running through the show in our minds with the music,” said Passarello, “Just like learning a musical instrument or any other sport, it helps us with muscle memory and giving us the confidence that we will perform well.”

Though competition at the regional level may seem fierce, it is really quite friendly. “Honestly we are really just trying to beat our own scores,” said Passarello, “We’ve been doing so well since the beginning of the season that our real challenge is to keep finding ways to improve ourselves.”

“Our biggest competition is with ourselves,” added Zuccala, “We strive to produce a better product and set higher standards for ourselves. The Regional Contest will have many groups we have not seen before, so that will make the day very exciting.”

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