This year, the JHS Express Winterguard is a flurry of flags, rifles, dance and - under it all - a love story.
JHS Express has been competing since 2000, after an 18-year absence. Currently, Jamestown has three winter guards: the JHS Express high school team, as well as Expressions and Caboose for students in younger grades.
According to Winter Guard International, "Winter guard is the sport of indoor color guard. Modern color guard is a combination of the use of flags, sabres, mock rifles, and other equipment, as well as dance and other interpretive movement."
Students from the JHS Express Winterguard perform a run-through of their show, set to Ingrid Michaelson’s “Turn to Stone.”
P-J photo by Liz Skoczylas
Currently, JHS Express is ranked 11th out of 93 in the country for the Scholastic A group, which are winter guards that are associated with a school.
This year's show for JHS Express is set to Ingrid Michaelson's "Turn to Stone."
"When you're choosing a show, you want to choose something that will reach the students. You want something that they can handle, but will stretch them emotionally and physically," said Marc Lentsch, director.
Lentsch said that "Turn to Stone" was chosen because it provides a great soundtrack to the guard's show, and leaves an emotional impact on the audience.
"It's about atonement, love, taking initiative. They relate to it," Lentsch said.
The winter guard has 16 members this year. Included in the 16 are seven seniors, three male members and one student in eighth grade. The captains for the team are Joelynn Cassel and Chelsea Lees.
It takes about a month and a half to write a winter guard show, according to Lentsch. He said that the students began learning in November, and by the end of December a show had formed. However, based on judges' comments, the show is constantly being improved upon and tweaked.
Aside from Lentsch, there are several other people that make a show come together. The JHS Express show is written by Nick Boucounis and choreographed by Shari Bentley. Additionally, Mike and Mark Kearns run tech.
Jamestown will be hosting its annual Guards in Motion winter guard competition Saturday in the McElrath Gymnasium at 5:30 p.m. There will be 11 winter guards competing Saturday from New York, Pennsylvania and Canada.
In addition to the Jamestown winter guards performance, the Jamestown Winter Percussion Ensemble will be performing for the first time.
Tickets to the event will be $6 at the door.