Yukon varsity winter guard takes second in Choctaw

Teams next set to head to Deer Creek for Feb. 26 competition

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Kailyn Freeman performs during Yukon winter guard varsity’s performance at WGPO’s Choctaw competition. The team took second in its category. (Photo by Traci Chapman)

By Traci Chapman, Managing Editor

It was an exciting day for Yukon winter guard teams and their families, as they traveled to the first Winter Guard and Percussion of Oklahoma contest of the year, held at Choctaw High School.

Yukon’s varsity team took second in Scholastic A competition, earning a score of 68.620. The team’s program, “Cathedrals,” features music by folk group By Cry Cry Cry.

“This show illustrates the beautiful things that can be built from the hardship in our lives,” director Hailie Eaves said.

Yukon’s JV team took 8th in a crowded Scholastic Regional A field that saw Okarche High School win top honors. JV’s program, “This Woman’s Work,” is about the women’s rights movement and features music by Lucas Holliday.

The school’s middle school team – back after being sidelined during 2021 due to safety concerns surrounding the novel coronavirus pandemic – received a “good” rating for its program, “Polaroid,” performed to music by Jonas Blue. Middle school teams are rated, rather than competing against each other, WGPO contest director Kyle Myers said.

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The three guard teams are comprised of 56 members this season – 26 more than participated in color guard during marching band’s inaugural year under director Diana Williams, Eaves said. Staff have seen a significant interest in both color and winter guard membership this year, when compared to recent years. Two years ago, band and winter guard was completely sidelined due to COVID-19; last year, while competitions were held, the pandemic did cause an impact on participation beyond the middle school team, she said.

“We have gained over 30 new members between all guards,” she said.

In addition to Eaves, other educational guard staff include Madison Barnes, Miguel Zacarias and Paul Nguyen; Bruce Hulsopple serves in an administrative capacity. Three high school seniors – Anne Marie Beck, Candace Griffith and Maia Ross – serve as techs for the middle school team.

Guard members’ first scheduled contest – a Feb. 5 WGPO tournament expected to be held in Yukon – was canceled due to inclement weather. All three teams are next set to perform Feb. 26 at Deer Creek High School, at Southmoore on March 19 and during the WGPO championships, scheduled for April 2 in Jenks.

Yukon’s varsity is also set to compete during Winter Guard International’s regionals in Tulsa on March 5.

Once winter guard is finished in early April, staff and students alike will quickly transition to color guard, with a week-long audition process set for later that month to kick off the 2022-2023 marching season, Eaves said.

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