By Brannigan Watson | Web Managing Editor
It was a very successful spring break for the Avon World Guard in Dayton, Ohio. From April 4 to April 6, the Avon High School World Guard was competing at Winter Guard International World Championships and defended their title of World Champions. Sophomore Riehley Johnson said that the win was a highlight of her life.
“It was a surreal experience,” Johnson said. “[Winning] was the coolest thing I have ever witnessed in my life, there was so much excitement and support from everyone in the arena and it was amazing.”
In 2018, the group received the gold medal in scholastic world class with their program, The Forgotten Circus. They were consistently seeded to win the championship yet again for the 2019 season and stopped nothing short of expectation. The color guard took home their third world title, second title in a row, Saturday night with their program, O’ Night Divine. Senior Breanna Mader said this win brought on some different emotions than that of 2018.
“This year was more meaningful because I am a senior and that was the last time I’ll spin with Avon,” Mader said.
Though taking home a gold medal is quite an accomplishment, the Avon World Guard didn’t stop there. The group scored a 98.95 with their finals performance, the new highest score recorded for a scholastic world program. Sophomore Caslyn Whitesell said that though numbers aren’t everything, the score solidified the strength of the group.
“While the score isn’t the most important part, it really is special knowing what our guard could accomplish this year,” Whitesell said.
The record-breaking show, O’ Night Divine, is about the owner of a dry cleaning shop in Dayton, Ohio and his passion of singing. His story is told by the majority of their soundtrack, Mr. Tanner by Harry Chapin. The color guard program brings Mr. Tanner’s story to life as he tries to pursue his dream and struggles to succeed. Besides the performers and their equipment, the show is complete with racks of clothes and marble counter tops. Mader says that her favorite part of the production is when the guard embraces the emotions of Mr. Tanner and engages with the audience.
“My favorite part of the show is when the critics are telling him he isn’t as good as he thinks,” Mader said. “We get into character and the crowd’s response is like nothing you can experience somewhere else.”
As it was an outstanding night for Avon, there were also multiple achievements for other outstanding groups in the state. Indiana is home to all three scholastic world medalists and the open class champion. Carmel High School took home the silver medal with their program, A Lot of Strength Left. The Carmel guard was the bronze medalist in 2018 and won scholastic world class in 2017. Center Grove High School was the bronze medalist this year with their program, Finding Peace. This is the first medal for the group since 2008. In scholastic open class, Fishers High School won with their program, A Self- Evident Truth. Whitesell says that the Indiana guards competing throughout the year is what makes them all successful.
“I think that the other Indiana guards’ [success] shows just how much the guards feed off of each other in this state to push themselves to be greater people and performers,” Whitesell said.
This being the fourth consecutive world championship medal for the Avon World Guard, there are great expectations for the group in the future and pride of members, past and present. Mader said that she is ready to see the guard get stronger and how proud she is of all of the members.
“I’m so glad that I can be a part of an amazingly talented group of high school [students],” Mader said. “I’m excited to see [the program] grow and become even better.”
The champions are led by director, Daniel Wiles, with staff members: Allison Alexander, Diego Castro, Blake Dutton, Jennifer Hinshaw, Kylee Hubbard, and Michael Townsend. Whitesell says that while the students have to learn and perfect their show, the staff is what inspires them to do so.
“While we work really hard together, the staff is what really drives us to be great performers. They taught us how to be great in and out of guard,” Whitesell said.
On that note, Tanner’s Cleaners is now closed.
Photo submitted by Avon High School Bands