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Demon Heat Colorguard earns second place with their show “A Splash of Color”

Submitted by Demon Heat Colorguard Instagram
Demon Heat after performing a “Splash of Color.”

The Northwestern State University of Louisiana Demon Heat Colorguard participates in competitions under the Louisiana, Mississippi, Colorguard and Percussion Circuit (LMCGPC).

LMCGPC operates under Winter Guard International which hosts several local, regional and national competitions during each spring semester competition season.

Classifications under LMCGPC include the Novice Class of middle school competition, Scholastic Regional A of high school competition and Senior Division, which are teams unaffiliated with any school. Demon Heat performs in a classification called Independent A, meaning they are an independent team affiliated with a university.

David Steele, director of Demon Heat, explained how the competition season operates.

“Basically, there are competitions every weekend from the beginning of the season to the very end of the season,” Steele said. “The last show is called championships and it’s where everybody gets together for one final performance, and we all compete for our medals.”

This season, Demon Heat has participated in five competitions against Louisiana State University, Crescent City New Orleans and University of Louisiana at Lafayette.

“It’s rare that people go to every single competition throughout the circuit,” Steele said. “Every time you perform, you get comments from judges and based off of those comments, you sort of make little minor changes to the show, so the show sort of develops throughout the season.”

Each competition, the teams perform for a new set of judges to gain fresh perspectives on their routines.

“It’s different judges from all over the United States, there may be a repeat judge at some certain competitions, but for the most part it’s a different panel of judges every single time that you perform it,” Steele said.

The panel is made up of five specialized judges that each focus on separate aspects of the routine. The judges will come together to score each team based on their choreography and dance technique, routine design, rifle and flag handling and general effect.

“(These) are sort of the five categories: movement, equipment, design, and then two GE judges and then the timing and penalty judge,” Steele said.

The timing and penalty judge is a separate judge which does not affect the initial score but can later alter it.

“We have seven minutes to bring all of our props on, perform our show, and take all of our props from behind the middle penalty line so the next group can sort of set up,” Steele said. “So, the penalty and timing judge is mainly there for safety, to make sure that we’re not stepping outside of our performance boundary and to keep the shows moving.”

Though teams are given scores following each completion, Steele explained the scores do not affect their circuit ranking.

“The only time that the score and the ranking matters is at championships, so these shows you go to, to sort of better yourself and to grow throughout the season have the show evolve,” Steele said.

Steele feels the team has done well in taking constructive criticism to better their routine.

“Our first competition I think we scored a mid-60s out of 100 and then each competition, the score went up and up and up,” Steele said. “At our last competition in Denham Springs, which is in Baton Rouge, we broke 80.”

In the 2023 competition season, Steele shared the only time Demon Heat broke 80 was in their championship competition.

“As of last weekend, Demon Heat has the highest score in our classification so we are hoping that we will get a medal, whether that’s gold, silver, or bronze, we’re not really quite sure yet,” Steele said.

Demon Heat has worked on and developed a routine called “A Splash of Color,” which Steele began working with fellow Demon Heat leaders on during the Fall 2023 semester.

“It’s a very interesting show, it’s been, I would say it’s probably one of my favorites,” Steele said. “I was an integral part of picking the soundtrack and Jena, the other director, was sort of the one who came up with the theme and the idea and the design around the soundtrack that I picked.”

The soundtrack Steele selected was composed by Josh Vek who he found on TikTok and has stayed in contact with to update throughout the season.

“The trick is you have to pick a track, musically speaking, that you’re not gonna mind hearing a billion times and also musically has a lot of opportunities in it for you to sort of build moments in the show,” Steele said.

Dakarrius Shackleford, freshman hospitality management tourism major, performed “Splash of Color” in his first Demon Heat competition season this semester. He described his experience differentiating the competition season from marching season.

“I feel like it brings us a lot more together because on the field we’re a lot more spaced out and we’re also with the band and with the dazzlers, but with winterguard it’s just us, it really shows what we can do,” Shacklford said.

Mickey Williams, senior general studies major, emphasized the hard work and effort Demon Heat puts into their competition season.

“I feel like the season is going so well, we’ve already broken our record high score,” Williams said. “We have been working hard and the payoff is tangible!”

In the spring season, Demon Heat will typically spend 12 hours a week plus the mornings before the competition rehearsing for the show. Williams compared the Demon Heat marching season to the spring semester competition season.

“There’s higher expectations and more time commitment for winterguard than marching” Williams said. “We’re a very competitive team and we’re up against talent, so it’s hard work.”

Steele agrees that the students of Demon Heat put hard work into their competition.

“These kids, and the staff, dedicate a huge part of our lives to this show and to the development of the show in the spring season, it becomes literally a full-time job,” Steele said.

He expressed that though the work is hard, the payoff shows greatly.

“It’s well worth it to see the product at the end of the season and to see sort of how the show has evolved and developed throughout the season,” Steele said. “To see the kids pull off something that at the beginning of the season seems impossible, they find it within themselves to sort of grow into these really incredible athletes and performers on the day where it really counts at championships.”

The Demon Heat Winterguard earned a second-place silver medal at their championship for the Spring 2024 competition season.

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About the Contributor
Nina Ovalle
Nina Ovalle, Current Sauce - News Editor
Nina Ovalle is a junior hospitality management and tourism major. This is her third year in The Current Sauce, and second year as News editor. She hopes to bring important campus information to light and make students aware of everything that goes on around them.

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