Cummins, Medel broadening horizons of winter guard

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Coppell High School senior Brandon Medel stretches his quads before beginning to dance in the small gym Wednesday night at the JV practice. Brandon is one of two boys in the JV Winter Guard, and one out of the three total in the Coppell Color Guard.

Lili Lomas, Staff Writer

You would not think that three boys waving flags could be such revolutionaries, but at Coppell High School, they are changing the definition of color guard.  

Earlier this school year, New Tech [email protected] senior Dennis Shen became the first male to join the CHS color guard, the typically female-dominated dance group within the marching band that performs interpretations of the band’s music using props such as flags or rifles.

CHS senior Brandon Medel and sophomore Justin Cummins continue breaking the stereotype that it is a feminine activity, allowing for the formation of CHS’s first male and female junior varsity winter guard team.

The new male members were part of a large influx of members to the color guard as a whole. At the beginning the 2016-17 school year, the group consisted of 17 members and has now grown to 40. Because of the size, after the November auditions for winter guard, the group was split into two teams, a Varsity and Junior Varsity (JV), the first time in years that it has been big enough to do so. Medel and Cummins are a part of the JV team.

Prior to joining, Medel had been around color guard for years, playing the baritone saxophone as a part of the Coppell marching band since his freshman year and becoming more involved with the team when his sister joined in 2014. For one of the winter guard’s varsity shows two years ago, he was invited to perform as a prop and since then considered joining the sport.

“[People are surprised] since most people have a bias to it, and it’s for only girls but I don’t really think like that,” Medel said.

Because of the predominance of girls in the sport, he attributes people’s reactions when they find out he is in winter guard to this stereotype about it.

JV sophomore captain Delaney Bell has been able to see how Medel and Cummins progress in the sport and the benefits of having a coed team.

“It’s more exciting than anything because guys tend to be able to [learn movements] a bit easier because they have more muscle mass naturally so they can do [stronger choreography] and we can do more theatrical things when we have males and females,” Bell said.

This year’s JV winter guard show consists of a playful, Italian restaurant theme featuring  “That’s Amore” by Dean Martin and music by Andrea Bocelli. CHS color guard director Matthew Rummel intends to incorporate male and female roles in the show, creating a story with the routine.

“With adding the boys in the JV it does allow for us to tell a love story where you can actually see a boy character and a girl character,” Rummel said. “It allows us to do a little more boy-girl, romance type of plot line.”

With the advent of the JV’s competition season on Jan. 20, the team will be presenting the first ever male and female CHS winter guard show. The increase in number of team members leading to a division into varsity and JV teams and the addition of male members have proven that the 2016-17 school year is a time of change for the guard which they hope leads to success in competitions.

“The best part about it is that it opens up the color guard to being something that is less female exclusive and a little more inclusive of everybody that wants to be a part of it,” Rummel said.