A class designers talk about making your show memorable to the audience AND your performers
It’s the biggest dilemma guard designers face. In large classifications, how do you make your team stand out with the audience and judges? Some of the top A class designers in the FFCC seem to think that finding programs that are, first and foremost, memorable to your performers is the key to it all.
Hector Fermaint, director at Oak Ridge High School, has led his program through 15 years of consistent growth that now has them battling in the ever-competitive Scholastic A class in the FFCC. Fermaint feels the key is finding the balance between being unique but also connecting with your kids. “Through music, I like to stay out of the box but you should always know your performers and the types of music they will enjoy performing to.”
Knowing your students and what will be memorable to them will naturally translate and become memorable to the audience and judges. FFCC Hall of Fame member, Michael James, who currently designs in Scholastic A for Sunlake High School says, “I try to stick to their ‘identity’ as a color guard. When everyone spends their time copying or recreating someone else’s ideas, I’d rather remain true to who we are. Diversity is a beautiful thing. We need to embrace that again.”
Jade Bouza, from Newsome High School echoes the same sentiment. “Find what makes your team special, whether it is performance quality, weapon, training, movement, etc. and embrace it. Each team is different. Each season is different. Most importantly though, give the students something to connect to in their program, but don’t do all the work for them. Ask THEM how they connect to it – empower them a bit. The best inspiration is when students and staff are both equally invested in the creative process, and it makes for a memorable season regardless of the numbers or placements.”
So, it seems the most successful designs are ones that are synergistic with who the designers, instructors, and performers really are. Ricardo Robinson of Braden River High School mentions, “I’ve found the most success designing shows around my personal, as well as my student’s personalities. Since I am typically a ‘happy-go-lucky’ guy, and my kids are comical, we usually do something that is lighter and more crowd entertaining.” FFCC audiences who have seen the delightful Braden River show this year entitled, “Pure Imagination” will verify that Robinson’s quote above is completely true.
Jarret Thompson, from Lake Howell High School adds, “A class is so large it is easy to get lost in the crowd, so I try to make my team stand out by creating a unique mood in the gym or arena. People will always remember how you make them feel”.
Memorable shows to the audience and judges must first start out as being memorable to the performers. The advice of these A class experts seems to encourage all instructors and designers to get to know their kids. Find what excites them. Find out who they are. Then from there, develop a program that engages them and the audience and judges will follow right along.
Good Luck to all of our FFCC ensembles as they create memories in 2016!