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South Brunswick Visual Ensemble: Just Keep Spinning

By Kaitlyn Gilmore (‘22)

Photo courtesy of SBHS Winterguard

The South Brunswick Visual Ensemble (SBVE) spun their way to tenth best guard in the Scholastic Open class at last year's Winter Guard International (WGI) World Championships with a final score of 88.3. The team is ranked fourth best guard in the United States. Each year the SBVE has a theme for their show. This year, the theme of the show was Spin Cycle.

The definition of Winter guard is “Unlike traditional color guard, Winter Guard is performed indoors, usually in a gymnasium or an indoor arena. Performances make use of recorded music rather than a live band or orchestra.” Performers use flags, wooden rifles, and plastic sabres along with any additional items to support their theme. This year, SBVE is using stationary bikes, actual bicycles, and painted bicycle wheels to portray the theme of Spin Cycle.

The team is made up of 18 girls and has 4 coaches that help teach the routine(s) and help tech drill. The coaches are: Mrs. Ashley D’Amore, Mr. Chris Carbone, Ms. Sam Satnick, and Mr. Anthony Tanasy. Mrs. Ginny Kraft, the choir teacher, is the head coordinator and helps with making sure everyone knows their drill (where to stand). She also watches to make sure everything looks clean and perfect, along with buying the floor they work on.

SBVE has practice every Tuesday and Thursday from 6-9, Fridays 6-10, and Saturdays, when the team is not competing, from 9-4 or 5. Winter guard season starts in November with tryouts and ends in mid April with Color Guard Championships. The team is competing in 10 competitions throughout the season at places ranging from Somerville, New Jersey to Dayton, Ohio.

Mrs. Kraft said “I like that it’s a bike theme because, you know, it’s what I like to do… I like the opening dance to it. I love when the rifles stand up on the bikes and throw [them].”

The SBVE team competes with teams from their division and class in the Scholastic Open. There are two divisions, Scholastic and Independent, with four classes in each: A class, AA, Open class, and World class. SBVE has won their competition at Springford with a score of 62.40, at Hillsborough with a score of 63.5, and at Council Rock South with a score of 71.9.

SBVE recently competed here at SBHS during the WGI Regional Competition, which took up the entire weekend of February 23. SBVE was one of the 35 guards to preform. The team tied for first on February 23 at prelims with an outstanding score of 77.20 and won their division on February 24 at finals with a score of 79.70 beating the four other teams in their division.

Regarding the team’s goal for the season, Mrs. Kraft said “We’re not people that define success by a certain...something. Every week’s success, you need to celebrate and then you need to get your tail back out and get going for the next week. Certainly I think everybody in indoor wants to make it to the finals at the international championships. That’s always our goal.”

She continued by encouraging those interested to try out, “I truly believe that if you work at something you can achieve it. I just, I think the difference between people that are successful and the people that are not successful is their ability and willingness to do that so, Anybody can do it if they want to they just need to have a drive to work.”

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