University Winter Guard preparing to take on competition this Saturday


Photo courtesy of Charger Bulletin/Charlotte Bassett.

Winter Guard rehearses at North Campus, West Haven, Feb. 19, 2023.

The Winter Guard will be traveling to Naugatuck High School in Naugatuck, Conn. for the Musical Arts Conference (MAC) competition next Saturday.
Gia Burgener, a junior chemical engineering major, takes positions on both the rifle line and saber line. “I do not have any specific jobs,” they said. Burgener’s job on the guard is to support the team as much as they can, which ranges from answering choreography questions to cheering teammates on.
Burgener said their favorite part about the competition is “seeing everything coming alive after the show has been worked on in parts.” These parts include uniforms arriving, show silks being taped to the poles and the choreography coming together. Burgener said it is great “to take it all and to perform your heart out in front of an audience that loves to cheer your team on.” The passion pouring from this team is immense, and it will show itself when the guard performs.
The team values interpersonal support in their endeavors. “If one of us sees that someone is struggling with a part or confused about counts, for example, we will always help each other out,” said Burgener. They said it is important to “build each other up and cheer each other on” because of the frustration that can easily come when vying for success.
CiCi Bushay, a sophomore English major and member of the dance line, discussed the challenges of the upcoming competition. “Even though it is our first competition, the competition season has already started,” said Bushay. “The judges will expect more from us, regardless of the fact that it is our first competition this year. Our first competition is the same week that the lax [lacrosse] start-of-season rules stop being used because we’re farther into the season.”
Despite the challenges ahead, Bushay hopes that the team will “have fun” since it is “the first competition of the year, so the energy is going to be really high.”
Bushay also said that even before the competition begins, both team members and observers have been supportive toward the Winter Guard. “Everyone with cars offers rides to people who can’t drive, we help each other with hair and makeup before we go on, veterans talk rookies through every step of the day, we stretch together, and get our minds calm and ready for the competition as a team,” she said.
Kenziy McClure, a senior theater arts major and co-captain of the Winter Guard team, said there has been “a crazy amount of rehearsal and learning to prepare for competitions.”
“Trying tricks and teaching each other new things is as enriching and fun as it comes,” said McClure. McClure said that their hope is for their love of performing and for the sport to shine through to the audience.McClure also admitted nervousness when preparing for the team’s first competition, “It is really hard not to be nervous during shows with so many moving parts, but trusting each other through every stage of the process, from auditions to rehearsal to performance, gets us through to being excited to burn the place down,” they said.
McClure says they will cherish every minute spent on the floor with the rest of the Winter Guard.

Winter Guard rehearses, West Haven, Feb. 19, 2023. (Photo courtesy of Charger Bulletin/Charlotte Bassett.)