Snider winter guard offers ‘A Mother’s Prayer’

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PHOTO BY JANE SNOW

Flags soar toward the roof as the Snider Varsity Winter Guard rehearses at the Shawnee Middle School gym.

As the Snider Varsity Winter Guard’s show unfolds across the gym floor, so does the the text that inspired the show.

Bit by bit, the guard reveals words from Celin Dion’s “A Mother’s Prayer.”

“She’s hoping God is watching over her daughter,” guard director Ryan Long said. The show’s title is “My Mother’s Prayer,” making the message even more personal.

As the tarp unfolds and Dion’s voice is heard, guard captain Kiersten DeLong can be heard, too. “She does voice-overs, which add a nice touch for her senior year,” Long said.

The show is a reminder to go home and take time to be with those who mean so much to us, said guard captain Desmond Reynolds, a junior. It’s a reminder to thank that person for just cooking a meal, he said.

“It’s about being appreciative of those we love,” said junior Kierstin Steinlight, the third guard captain. “The time will come when you won’t see them again.”

The colors of the tarp are mirrored in the guard’s flags, and even referenced on the 18 uniforms. Guards from other schools return to the festival gyms to watch the show unfold, Steinlight said.

The applause confirms that the show works. “They love us,” Reynolds said. “When they come back and they cheer for us we think, ‘Oh, they understand us.’ “

Snider needs a strong show once more among Class A guards this season after finishing first last year in Divisional Finals. “So they bumped us up [a class],” said Trinity Meadows, assistant director.

To reach the Indiana High School Color Guard Association finals in the new class, Snider will have to excel at the preliminaries, March 11 at Center Grove High School. The Top 16 Class A guard units will go to state, Meadows said.

The guard has matched up with the Class A competition so far this year, placing third among nine schools in Round 1 on Feb. 11 at Greenfield Central High School, and third among six schools Feb. 18 at Goshen High School.

This year’s Snider guard welcomes one varsity member and one JV member from Northrop High School, which did not field a guard this year. The guard rehearses at Shawnee Middle School, which is squarely within the Northrop attendance area. “We had the opportunity to practice here because of Northrop,” Meadows said.

That success takes work, according to guard captrain Steinlight. Competing among larger schools presents new challenges, she said. The flag tosses are higher, and the behind-the-leg catches are more difficult. “We rehearse from 5:30 to 9 three days a week,” she said.

“This show definitely has more advanced skills,” said Reynolds. “We’re really pushing the limits of the advanced skill set.”

“It’s just gotten so much better each week,” DeLong said. “We love being together and building each other up.”

Long said the guard meets its artistic goals and self-funds its expenses thanks to “a lot of supportive folks.” He thanked Snider band director Kevin Klee and assistant director Helen Hockemeyer, and Shawnee Principal Matthew Schiebel.

Both Long and Meadows also work with the Snider marching band. Long said they began writing the winter guard show in November.