A New Season Begins for KHS Winterguard


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Members of the Karns High Winterguard Smile after winning gold at a recent competition.

Rebecca Veach, Senior Reporter

On Saturday, January 25, the Karns High School Winterguard teams and Percussion Ensemble rode out to Jefferson County High School to compete in the first ETPAA competition of the season. This competition sparked a brand new competition season for dozens of Knox County Schools, including Karns. The East Tennessee Arts Association, ETPAA, is a competitive circuit for winterguards, percussion ensembles, woodwind ensembles, and independent competitors. It was founded in 2014, and has been the most popular, and fastest growing, competitive performing arts circuit in East Tennessee, and has been a host to Karns High School for several years. The circuit holds several different divisions of competition such as Prep, Novice, and Scholastic A. Each division is made up of different difficulty levels starting at Prep, the middle school division. From there the divisions go up by skill and difficulty level. Karns High School competed in three divisions in the circuit: Novice, Scholastic AA, and SRA, Novice being the lowest competitive division and SRA  being the highest competitive division. 



Last weekend, at the ETPAA Qualifiers, all Karns groups performed their show in front of a panel of judges. This gave all Karns groups the opportunity to perform their shows for the first time, and get feedback for how each team can improve. 

The Karns High School Blue Winterguard was the first Karns team to compete. Karns Blue’s show is to the Wildflower by Tom Petty and is called “Growing a Garden”. Their show is about growing a fresh, new garden. Karns Blue captains are Kelly Bollman and Lauren Thompson. Just like their show, Karns Blue has enormous opportunity for growth and continues to improve every aspect of their show. Blue captain, Lauren Thompson, says, “I think our show will only get better and better throughout the season, and I think we could place really well with it.” Another Karns Blue member, Destiny Collins, says on the show, “I really like our show. I think it’s symbolic for us, because we are all new and fresh and together we’re growing.” 



Next was the Karns High School Percussion Ensemble. They were the second Karns team of the day to compete. The percussion show is called “In the Dark with music by Visaudio. Their show is about the transition from dark to light. The show starts off dark and quiet and by the end the team has done a uniform change, from black capes to yellow shirts, representing it going from dark to light. The Percussion captains are Mary Jefferies, Marissa Schnieder, and CJ Zimmerman. It is also predicted by several people, including the Karns directors,that Karns Percussion also has a very high chance of moving up a competitive division this season.


Finally, the Karns High School Gold Winterguard was the last Karns team to compete that day. The Karns Gold’s show is to the song Saturn by Sleeping at Last and is called “Finding the Lights”. Their show is about seeing the Northern Lights for the first time and seeing how amazing and beautiful they are. The Karns Gold captains are Maya Calnan and Rebecca Veach. The Karns Gold Winterguard team will also be competing in a few Winter Guard International (WGI) competitions as well and also has the chance this year to travel to Dayton, Ohio for WGI World Championships and compete against world  class groups. The Karns Gold team is more than excited about this opportunity. Karns Gold captain, Maya Calnan, says about going to Dayton, “I am really looking forward to walking off of the floor at WGI Worlds with the best feeling, the feeling that everyone is happy and more than pleased with what they accomplished this season.”




After every team competed, all students from every school went to the gym,waiting for awards. After a small dance party, they finally announced for captains to head to the hallway to wait for Retreat to start. Everyone in the audience took their seats and the judges finalized their scores. Once all the scores were in, all captains were led into the gym where their school was announced and awards were being passed out. At the end of the day, Karns Blue came in 10th out of 11 with a score of 45.83, Karns Percussion came in 1st out of 4 with a score of 67, and Karns Gold came in 3rd out of 4 with a score of 47.76. Karns guard director, Haleigh Whitson says on the placements of the guards, “For the first competition of the season, I am pretty impressed with the scores, and I know with a lot of hard work that each team has a high chance of placing higher and higher every competition.”  For the first competition of the season, Karns team’s are in the position they want to be in and are excited for future competitions. Karns Gold member Kirsten Benesh says, “I can’t wait for the season to go on so we can prove just how good our teams actually are.” The Karns High School Winterguards and Percussion are ready to prove that they have what it takes to win their divisions and excel in every aspect of this competition season.