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Newsies Winterguard

My Color Guard team performed a Newsies themed Winterguard show during the winter season of 2005. Being able to perform this show was really a dream come true for me, and honestly ‘05 was probably the best year of my life because of it. Allow me to share with you the process that we took to make this show a success, and then watch the show yourself. I hope you guys enjoy it!

CAST: (top left to right) Mush, Skittery, Jack, Specs
(bottom left to right) Les, Spot, Snipeshooter, Kid Blink, David, Racetrack, Crutchy, Bumlets

So January 2004 was when I became absolutely over the top obsessed with this movie that we all know and love—Newsies. My best friend Amy and I would annoy our friend Elise by singing it all the time, and that’s kinda where this all began. One day in Color Guard class, we were telling Elise how much we would loooove to do a Newsies themed winterguard show, and she replied with “If we were ever to do a Newsies themed show, I would totally quit.” Well, apparently my guard coach Larissa had over heard us talking and said, “Well Elise, then you better quit right now, because that’s what we’re doing next year.” Of course, me and Amy started screaming and freaking out, and well… that’s where it all began. Larissa had been a fan of Newsies back when it first came out (when she was a teenager) and she had always wanted to choreograph a show to it. Our guard was the biggest guard she had ever coached, and she had been waiting for a large guard to do this huge production with. Also, what better guard to have do this show than one where a bunch of the members were obsessed with the movie? :)

Practicing "Carryin' the Banner" before a competition.

So, over the next year, me and Amy worked hard on getting the rest of our team obsessed with the movie and as excited as we were about the show. Our team came to know me as Racetrack, and Amy as Spot, and we gave each of the girls their own newsie based on personality. (We made Elise be Crutchy, but lucky for her, the guard was split into two separate guards before we performed the show, so she didn’t have to be in Newsies. ^^;;) Me and Amy’s closest friends on guard were Cynthia and Liz, and they became our Mush and Kid Blink. (So the four of us were Blink, Mush, Race, and Spot, which is what this site’s current layout ^ is a tribute to. Awe… how sweet. haha)

When the school year of Newsies actually came, my coach and I had private practices outside of normal practices (because I was the Captain of the team) to write the work for the show. That was a lot of fun. It probably helped that I was so obsessed with the movie because I was able to help with writing the dance work, and the music was super easy to work with. :P We started writing the work when the school year began, but didn’t teach the girls until the beginning of November. The actual Winterguard season didn’t begin for us until February.

Mush and Race practicing "King of New York."

Practices were incredibly fun, as they were expected to be. We had a blast painting the sets, and wearing our newsie clothes all the time. A lot of the girls had problems at first learning how to spin their flags and rifles with newsie hats on (because sometimes it’s hard to see the flags/rifles to catch them when you’ve tossed them) but Amy and I were used to it. We pretty much wore our hats at every practice the year before too. haha ^^;; Our set was made up of a 300 pound color guard “floor” that we painted to look like it had cobble stones, (man was that thing a pain in the butt to haul around AND it took freakin FOR-E-VER to paint. -____-) We also had two real wine barrels (that were also extremely heavy), and backdrops that we hand painted to look like a brick wall, the World Building, the Newsboys Lodging House, a random house, and “Tubby’s” restaurant. (not “Tibby’s”… we didn’t want to get sued. heh.)

My team and I carrying our insanely heavy guard "floor."

The best part of this show was getting into character. My coach and I casted our whole team as different Newsies (mostly the same ones me and Amy had picked the year before.) I remember a couple of performances where people would actually know which newsie we were. That was awesome. One girl who was working at the Championships competition wanted to give my friends Cynthia and Amy a hug because they were her favorite newsies—Mush and Spot.

I think we performed the show about 7 times total in competiton over the season, but if you are familiar with color guard, you know that a show is never the same from the beginning to the end of the season. It changes majorly due to what the judges have to say about it. So basically the show gets progressively harder, and is supposed to get progressively more impressive. Our very first performance was dirty as heck, but by the end I think it looked pretty good. :) One of the places we performed was Las Vegas, and the night before the performance, me, Amy, our moms, and our coach Larissa snuck out of our hotel room without our band director or the rest of the guard knowing (with the exception of Liz and Cynthia because we were rooming with them). We went to the Mandalay Bay hotel on a mission to find Trey Parker and invite him to come watch our performance the next day. We did meet up with him, but he told us he probably wouldn’t be able to make it because he was singing at a wedding the next day. :( Well, it was totally worth a shot, and that night was insane and one of the craziest I’ve had. It’s fun sneaking around. haha

So back to the show… The show was made up of 3 songs; the beginning was the “Seize the Day chorale” where we spun “strike flags” and then danced like they do in the movie. The dance was similar to the one they do, but my coach and I changed it up a little bit as not to copy Kenny Ortega’s work completely. Along with the dancers, there were other dancers who danced with buckets and bucket lids. (like in the movie where the small newsies play the bucket drums.)

The "Seize the Day Chorale." I am the "R" for obvious reasons. :D

The next song was “King of New York” which is my favorite song, and my favorite part of the show. My coach was awesome enough to give me Ractrack’s solo, and I will never be able to thank her enough for that. o^.^o (I even got to do one of my signature newsie jumps during my solo! :D) This song was completely rifles, and at one point the guard member who played Bumlets (my good friend Jessica) tossed a seven revolution rifle toss (which takes some crazy power believe me. I’ve never been able to toss over six... and six is haaard.)

The emsemble in "King of New York." That little white thing miles above us is the rifle Bumlets tossed! :O

The finale of the show was another flag ensemble but this time with newspaper print flags to the end of “Carryin’ the Banner.”

The finale of the show, "Carryin’ the Banner", with our pape flags.

Our flags were designed to looks like “papes." (My coach actually let me design the flags and write the article that's on them.) Our rifles were covered in newspaper. I always knew which rifle was mine because it had an add for pet Chinchillas on it. lol One girl on my team, our Skittery (her name was Monica) had the obituaries on hers. I remember her and our Mush (Cynthia) fighting over who had to have to obituaries. ^^; How in character of them.

My flag and rifle.

I am really glad that the audiences at the winterguard competitions loved our show as much as we did. It really made all that hard work feel like it paid off. Now that you’ve heard all about it, please watch it! I hope you love it as much as I loved performing it! And thanks for reading all of that!

Click here to watch the completed show!

Our team pictures. I bet you'll recognize the pose from the second one! ;) Click to enlarge! :D Unfortunately, Cynthia was sick in the hospital and had to leave the second we finished performing that day, so we have no Mush in these pics. :(