Dancing in two programs


File Photo/The Lion’s Roar

Members of the “Spirit of the Southland” color guard perform at home football games in the Strawberry Stadium. Other performances include Lionpawlooza at “Hot August Night” and “Strawberry Jam.”

Two university students keep dancing throughout the winter season.

Sarrah Gore, a member of the Lake Area Independent Winterguard and the university’s color guard, and Bailey Melancon, a member of the Voodoo Independent Winterguard, shared how they continue their passion for performing during the winter and spring seasons.

Before joining the Lake Area winter guard, Gore marched in the winter guard throughout high school. A third-year member of the Lake Area winter guard, she joined the group after seeing one of its shows.

“The vibe they gave off to the crowd blew my mind away,” explained Gore. “I knew I wanted to be part of an organization that would help me grow as a performer and a person, and they did.”

Melancon also started participating in the winter guard during high school. She started her journey at Hahnville High School in 2015, and after graduating, she joined the Voodoo Independent Winterguard in 2017.

Melancon explained that her season in the winter guard lasts about two and a half months.

“There are multiple competitions in the circuit I compete in, which is the Louisiana-Mississippi Color Guard and Percussion Circuit,” said Melancon. “They are held at various high schools throughout the state each Saturday. This year, the season started Jan. 19 and ends March 30.”

During the winter guard season, both Melancon and Gore practice for several hours during the weekend. Gore practices from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. once per weekend, and Melancon’s group practices from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sundays.

Gore shared that winter guard allows the performers to create their own show as compared to color guard where the guard instructor collaborates with the band director.

“We get to put in cool tricks we know we can do, whereas there may not be the time made for us in a marching season show,” discussed Gore. “Winter guard is really where members refine their skills, but marching season is where you meet all of your friends for life. Also, there are things that you can’t do inside a gym that you can on a football field. So, both have amazing opportunities for growth and awesome work.”

Although Gore and Melancon were not students when the university had a winter guard program, they both believe that the university should create a team.

“I do think that Southeastern should start a winter guard program again,” stated Gore. “I think it is a great opportunity for people to get better at performing, and it keeps people busy and off the couch.”

The former winter guard program reinforced Melancon’s decision to attend the university.

Melancon said, “When I was a junior in high school, SELU took part in the 2016 winter guard season, and it made me so excited because I had decided that I was coming here in 2015. Winter guard is my favorite season.”

Of her experiences in winter guard, Melancon explained that her favorite part is the intimacy of the experience.

“It can be so personal, and the message a group can convey can be so powerful,” explained Melancon. “I would definitely encourage people to join because of all the freedom you have on that floor in competition.”

Gore enjoys the winter guard because of the friends she has made through the team.

“My friends are all very supportive, funny, sometimes annoying, but downright amazing,” shared Gore. “I wouldn’t trade them for the world. I encourage others to join because of the experience I had with Lake Area. They have changed my life two years, going on three, in a row, and I encourage others to find their passion that will constantly make them a better person.”