Jump to content

WGI World Championships 2021 - Face Mask Edition


Recommended Posts

Really I'm just here to direct everyone to Pride of Cincinnati's eShowcase, A New Way of Living. It might be the most sublime thing I've seen out of the marching arts. Obviously it helps that it's an edited video, which allows the creators to get a "perfect" performance and play around with lighting and setting, but it's still a remarkable work of art.

This is a very weird year for WGI. All competitive performances are single-take videos taken by the competing groups and are evaluated by two judges -- one focusing on Skills (Equipment Vocabulary, Movement Vocabulary, and Achievement), the other focusing on the Program (Repertoire, Composition, and Performance). Groups "compete" each of four weeks for spots in semifinals, and some are awarded Excellent and Superior ratings based on a tally of the group's scores in each of the 6 aforementioned subcaptions.

This weekend is week 4. There's a Semifinals A and Semifinals B event starting next week, followed by a cumulative Finals event. I think it was 50% of A groups progressing to semis, 75% of Open groups, and 100% of World groups. As such, I find it a little bit more useful to look at the groups with Superior ratings. Here is a list of Texas groups who have achieved that feat based on my quick eyeballing. Note that not every group performs every week, and a group only needs one performance to qualify for semis.

 

Week 1

Hebron - SA

James E. Taylor - SA

Week 2

Cedar Park JV - SRA

Hebron - SA

Hebron JV - SRA

Lake Travis JV - SRA

McCullough JH - Junior

Spring ISD - IRA

The Woodlands - SW

Vista Ridge - SA

Week 3

Bastrop - SRA

Cedar Park JV - SRA

Friendswood - SO

Georgetown - SA

Liberty - SA

Lubbock-Cooper - SRA

Pearland - SA

Rouse - SA

Seven Lakes JV - SRA

Vista Ridge - SA

Westwood - SA

 

I just started watching last week. Despite the hardships this year and the general paucity of performances, there are actually some remarkably good shows. Onyx, for example, looks just about as good as they always do, performing a show that they almost always do 🙃.

Avon and Center Grove have no competition in the scholastic world class. Both look like typical medalists. Center Grove's The Sound of Rain is actually my personal favorite. There's just such clarity and elegance to almost everything they do. The phrases are so cleanly articulated that I'm never questioning what they're trying to accomplish. Avon's In the Stars is wonderful as well, executing a very emotionally affecting show at an extremely high level. If this were a normal year, they'd be the front-runner. (Not the biggest fan of Clint Eastwood's singing voice, but it's a nice song!) That rainbow-y flag feature at the end is pretty much what every guard fan needed this year. Just that wonderful WOOSH in unison!

I kind of gasped at East Coweta's floor design, which is more like a set design. A full city on the floor! Unfortunately, it sort of gobbles up the group. You can tell, though, that this was supposed to be a big year for them, which kind of makes me sad.

Missing James Bowie and their weirdness this year -- they used to be on the list! -- but The Woodlands continues to improve and impress. The show is Ladies and Gentlemen, Ms. Celine Dion. Definitely not as "high concept" (oblique?) as usual; it's more of a typical, fun, "diva" concept that you'd see from an A or Open class group. But I gotta say, the density of the elements is there. The phrases are longer, faster, more complex, and this group is really starting to consistently execute them. In fact, the only groups I'd for sure have ahead of them this year are Avon and Center Grove -- not that that's saying all that much given the fact that only something like 10 groups are competing in the scholastic world class, but still. They are really starting to look like a consistent world class finalist group.

I don't think we're going to actually get any placements this year after Finals. Just general categories for each group, but I suppose if, for example, Avon ends up in a higher category than Center Grove, we'll kind of indirectly know who the "champion" is this year!

Link to post
Share on other sites

I’ve enjoyed getting to watch the wgi shows on the weekends.  Normally chaperoning I only get to watch our show- so it’s great to see so many shows each weekend on Flo.   Miss the in person wgi events, but am glad we get a small version of in person with the tcgc local circuit.  

Link to post
Share on other sites

Here are the Week 4 Texas groups that got superior ratings. Again, I'm just eyeballing the lists, so I apologize if I missed a group!

 

Aledo JV

Bastrop HS

Cedar Park JV

Cedar Ridge

Cypress Creek

Frisco Centennial

Hebron

Hebron JV

James E. Taylor

Liberty

McCullough JH

Prosper HS A

Rouse

Southlake Carroll

 

Congrats to all!

Link to post
Share on other sites
10 minutes ago, LeanderMomma said:

@Rubiscoyou are really missing out if you aren’t also watching TCGC. Their live competition this weekend was phenomenal!  And have you seen Invictus this year?!  Wow. Just wow. 

No, I haven't been keeping up with TCGC. I just assumed that if a group is competing live that it's also competing in WGI, but that must not be the case!

Link to post
Share on other sites
Just now, Rubisco said:

No, I haven't been keeping up with TCGC. I just assumed that if a group is competing live that it's also competing in WGI, but that must not be the case!

No it’s definitely not the case and you have missed some great shows. I may or may not have some private videos I can share with you. :)

Link to post
Share on other sites

"In Semi Finals, all color guards receiving a “Superior” Rating (Final Rating Value of 9 or less) will automatically progress to Finals. If the class target maximum has not been met, then color guards achieving the next rating value of 10, from both Semi Finals Contests, will progress to Finals. This continues, considering progressive rating values pulling from both Semi Finals, until the target maximum has been met. All color guards achieving the breakpoint rating value will progress to Finals. This may extend the number of color guards to exceed the target maximum."

The class target maximums are 20 for World, 25 for Open, and 30 for A.

Methinks that WGI may have thought more groups would be participating this year, if I'm reading these rules correctly. I haven't counted, but it seems to me like the class maximums for finals are higher than the number of competing semifinalists in at least a few of the classes, which raises the question: why bother having a semis in the first place if everyone is just going to make it to finals?

Weird year. Anyway, I see all of these various ratings and rankings as having a giant asterisk next to them. We're already seeing inconsistencies with the ratings, which isn't surprising, given the ad hoc nature of this new system and the use of only two adjudicators.

I wandered over to the TCGC site and took a peek at the posted rankings. It looks like there's actually a fair amount of overlap between WGI and TCGC this year, at least at the top. Some exceptions include the highest ranking central TX Open groups, like CTJ and Reagan. I'm wondering why they opted out of one but not the other. Maybe they just didn't like the video format? The recorded format doesn't really have the same competitive spirit as a live performance, I guess.

Link to post
Share on other sites

You know what, I looked again at the lists. There are enough in at least the Scholastic A and Open classes to warrant a semis. World class not so much, but that's kind of always been the case. Usually a very small number get eliminated after a world class semis event.

Another revelation: actually, I have seen Invictus! I went over to their Facebook page and saw a very familiar-looking still from the show. That pastel blue floor. I know I watched at least part of it, must have been the eShowcase. They do the Onyx 2014 thing where the guy twirls the two people around on his shoulders, right? I don't remember it that well. I was jumping around from video to video. Maybe I should give it another chance!

Link to post
Share on other sites
18 minutes ago, Rubisco said:

You know what, I looked again at the lists. There are enough in at least the Scholastic A and Open classes to warrant a semis. World class not so much, but that's kind of always been the case. Usually a very small number get eliminated after a world class semis event.

Another revelation: actually, I have seen Invictus! I went over to their Facebook page and saw a very familiar-looking still from the show. That pastel blue floor. I know I watched at least part of it, must have been the eShowcase. They do the Onyx 2014 thing where the guy twirls the two people around on his shoulders, right? I don't remember it that well. I was jumping around from video to video. Maybe I should give it another chance!

Yes that’s the one!  

Link to post
Share on other sites

Semis A is complete! Which is to say the videos have been uploaded. No word on finalists until semis B is done.

Reaaaally love Berkner's (SO) floor design this year. The show is called Up in Smoke, and they've recreated the interior of a house that has burned down. Blackened couches, smeary, ash-covered clothes, a lonely table with a vase on it, a charred vanity. There's some sort of burnt up double-decker structure in the back that the performers climb on top of. The second floor? Just really, really interesting to behold. It paints a picture. It also seems to have some sort of deeper, allegorical meaning about relationships, since the girl who somersaults over the couch at the end appears repulsed by her guy friend and goes over to sit at the vanity. Maybe I should have been paying closer attention to the lyrics. Anyway, pretty strong performance of a melancholic show. Some exposed drops, but hey, it happens. Unfortunately, it only really lasts the length of the country tune, which is around the 3 minute mark.

Friendswood (SO) is probably the best of the three TX open groups I watched. Party of One. Fairly minimalist floor design -- just a single white table in the middle of the floor, along with some blue patches in the corners. The guard wears long, blue dresses, which look great when they open the show with that elegant choreography set to a rich orchestration. Lots of difficult work from the floor level, but well executed. Some nice, layered staging. Also, the forms they make are just nice to look at, there really isn't any other way to say it. The energy of the performers doesn't seem to dip as much as it does in some of the other shows. That may be because there's more to connect the various skills, so you get less of that sort of confused-looking pausing between them. I love how all but one of the girls collects at the table at the end for a nice sculpted moment, with that beautiful, but maybe not-fully-extended leg extension from the girl in the back. Sort of reminiscent of Fantasia's legendary 2008 production, The White Table, when they all gather around the rocking chair. Just an all-around clean show.

Klein Oak (SO) is making color appear this year with The Appearance of Color. Naturally, everything starts out black -- both the floors and the costumes of the girls. Lots of nice, one-handed sabre catches to open the show. The music is very sombre. Pretty hopeless, actually. Then the guard members start to peel open little circles of color on the floor, starting with a mint green patch. The music shifts suddenly to a hyperactive, techno song -- sort of like something you'd hear in the Mega Man video game series. The rifles come out and the energy of the performers rises, which is good, because the energy runs a little low in the first part of the show. Very nice rifle catches while seated on the floor. That's more of a world class skill right there! Towards the end, the performers start to strip off their black clothes to reveal the color underneath, and they bring it home with a pretty, colorful flag feature.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hebron's varsity show (SA) is pretty sparse from a design perspective. It's called ...Beside the Golden Door. The floor is darkly colorful with an almost spray-painted, urban look, which encapsulates an image of the Statue of Liberty. The music repeats over and over again, "There will be better days." Let's all hope so! Anyway, the real star of this show is the skills of these performers. Confident and clean. They get some real speed on those tosses, and when they catch those rifles, it is a clean, cleaaaan SNAP. It is so very satisfying to watch and hear. It kind of reminds me of the speed and clarity we got from Leander back when they won the SA title a few years ago. It's so heartening to see how far this guard has come. In the past, watching Hebron's marching shows, the guard has kind of seemed like an afterthought. As their skills continue to improve, I suspect they'll assume larger and larger roles in the future. Looking bright!

Vista Ridge's (SA) floor design stands in stark contrast to Hebron's. We get some fairly large smartphone props, of the sort we saw in Pride of Cincinnati's 2015 production, Look Up. This time, they're in service of what I think is a show about Tinder/dating apps. It's called Swipe Right. Really the central message is about self-empowerment in this era of dehumanizing social media. While the execution here isn't as clean as it is in Hebron's show, I do like the staging. It keeps my attention from moment to moment. What I'm not a huge fan of is the music selection. It just kind of sounds... I don't know... too hopeful? -- sort of like a cheesy pop tune you'd hear in a mega church. We get lines like "All is good! You will be found! You are worth it! I am worth it!" sung with, like, a full chorus. I'm probably a bit too cynical to appreciate this music. I'm sorry! But it's a good show. At least I can recognize the skills of the performers!

Speaking of music I didn't care for, Blue Springs' (SA) show, You, has one of the more bizarre musical mishmashes I've heard. This time it's Charles Ives' Unanswered Question combined with Whitney Houston's I Have Nothing. Yeah.... Yeaaaaaah.... Let that sink in. Don't get me wrong, I like it when groups take risks, but this one seems a little try-hard. But here's the kicker: this is otherwise a GREAT show. One of the best. I mean, just great energy, great execution (of sometimes above-class skills), great staging, the floor looks awesome, with this bright, pop-art face that looks like it got ink spilled all over it, fashionable, 80s-looking spandex outfits, you name it. Literally everything else about this show is great. By the end, the Whitney Houston track sort of takes over, and you can hear the crowd really get into it.

Liberty's (SA) show Oceanum is just lovely. Another fairly sparse show, like Hebron's, with a very clean performance as well! Shades of blue and white, as you would expect, cut with beautiful pink flags. I'm not very familiar with this group, but this a really solid performance, one of my favorites of the Texas groups. I'm not typically a big fan of purely electronic orchestrations, because I'd prefer, you know, the real orchestral instruments, but it doesn't detract too much from my enjoyment of this show. Like Hebron, the show is not super involved; it's just clean.

McKinney (SA) is another group I'm not as familiar with, but impressed me. The show is called, "I'm Sorry." The floor kind of looks like a kitchen mat or something with maybe part of a yellow bouquet in the lower right corner, like maybe somebody had just set down some flowers they had received as an apology. The guard starts out sitting in a ring of benches that gets rearranged as the show progresses. I'm a sucker for shows that have props that kind of reshape the performance space. As you'd expect, lots of equipment skills involving the benches. It's a little bit lower energy than some of the others, but the execution is solid.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't typically watch Junior High shows, because usually the skills in them are very rudimentary and the compositions are very basic -- at least in Texas. The goal seems to be teaching the kiddos basic movement and how to hold the flags and rifles and do some very basic phrases with them -- with rare tosses here and there that don't get very much height.

So, I really wasn't prepared for McCullough Junior High's show, Don't Kill My Vibe. My expectations were way too low. I'm still picking my jaw up off of the floor. Who is teaching this group?! There's something like 30 girls on that red floor dressed up like Rosie the Riveter from J. Howard Miller's classic "We Can Do It!" poster, and they are pretty cleanly executing skills that you see from high school varsity groups. Like, when did this group get this good? Has it been like this for years? I feel very ignorant right now. I mean, we're talking, like, full-group 3+ rifle tosses with confident, clean catches, some of them one-handed catches that transition immediately into another skill. Wow! And the composition is beautiful as well. Simple, yes, but elegant, with some real contour to match the rise and fall of the music. This is without question the best junior program of semis A (although Badger MS was also impressive). Is this what top feeder programs are supposed to look like?! Bravo!

Link to post
Share on other sites

So Cyndi is directing and designing 4 groups this season?! I think I would overdose on Xanax. I guess it's a good way to ensure that the kids coming into the high school know what you want them to know. How long has Cyndi been directing the McCullough rehearsals? I ask this because I searched on YouTube for other videos of the group, and the most recent one I found (2016) looks more like the typical junior high show I'm used to seeing.

I watched the TCGC spotlight video. I've always been curious about the Code Black connection. I see a lot of the same names popping up in Houston-area guard instructor/designer lists. (If you haven't seen the 2007 show that CB won the Independent Open class with, I strongly suggest watching it. That final flag feature. Ugh! Also, it looks like their excellent IW finalist show from 2008 is now available to watch on YouTube.)

Definitely the world class is where guards seem to go to die in Texas. Not completely sure why. Maybe it's because the guards in Texas aren't the "well-oiled machines" that they are in the Midwest and a handful of other places. That's part of what made the McC performance so exciting. A great feeder program is one of the first steps to building a machine. I'm just sitting here thinking, if the kids can do that as 6th, 7th, 8th graders, how far along will they be by the time they're seniors in high school, assuming you keep them motivated? Another factor may be the proximity to healthy guard organizations. Having WGI in your backyard probably helps, because that organization comes with experienced people. Sometimes I feel like the instructors in Texas don't fully understand what WGI is looking for in the world class. It doesn't help that a guard director job is often a sort of adjunct position with no formal university counterpart outside of the dance department. Lack of competition in the world class in Texas also probably doesn't help. Competition can be a great motivator.

Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, propsquaddad said:

Does anyone know when the results from semi's is going to be posted? I'm dying to know what Texas groups are going to finals.

I think after the second semi-finals..  i heard they are taking the top ones of them all combined.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
×
×
  • Create New...