By Dalyn Baxter
From 7 – 8 p.m. on April 16th in Tustin High Schools new Sports Pavilion, the Tustin District put on a district showcase featuring performers from Tustin, Foothill, and Beckman High. The night was filled with talent and thrilling performances as the audience gathered to watch the three high schools put away rivalries and give a good show.
Beckman’s Drum Line, created in 2013, kicked off the night. Their 14 piece line consisted of two cymbals, two snares, two bases, one tenor, one electric guitar, bells, three marimbas, and two auxiliary players. The show started with a building crescendo in a battery roll accompanied by a catchy and upbeat melody from the pit. The second movement focused more on the lyrical side, with gentle crescendos in the pit, small visuals added by the battery, and a slightly suspenseful final chord to tie in to the final movement. It wrapped up nicely with a dramatic theme full of action and a feeling of completeness.
Following Beckman, Tustin’s J.V. Winterguard, whose 11 performers danced, spun, and tossed to Florence + the Machine’s Dog Days are Over. The guard had performance smiles on their faces through the whole show, were in time with the beat and each other, and performed their hearts out. The two soloists, Krystina Kusik and Juan Avila drew attention to their sections beautifully. Juan was the first in the show to spin flag, and Kristina’s full solo consisted of both flag and rifle intermixed with high fan kicks, a firebird, and a rifle toss to be caught going into a full right-splits.
Foothill’s nine person Winterguard followed with a stunning piece to Lindsey Stirling’s Shatter Me, featuring Lzzy Hale. Swan lake style costumes, a music box floor and platform, and black, pink, and white flags mirrored Stirling’s music video fantastically. The soloist directed attention back and forth between four girls wearing black costumes and four girls wearing white costumes until they mixed at the chorus for a gripping ‘battle.’ Each girl paired up, trading flags and rifles back and forth using high tosses to amaze the audience. The symbolism between the fight fit the lyrics perfectly, and was emphasized by the soloist stepping on her flag to slam it on the ground defiantly as the music ended.
Next up, the Beckman High School Majorette Anyssa Nunez, who performed to Fall Out Boy’s Uma Thurman in signature Beckman colors. She performed as if she were flirting with the audience, drawing their attention with no intention of letting it waver. She twirled her baton around her waist, arms, and neck while performing cartwheels to pick up a second and third baton. She tossed throughout her whole performance, her highest making ten full rotations in the air.
Tustin’s 11 person varsity guard followed with an ocean themed performance to an instrumental score. They moved with the music as if they were made of water, and they were always smiling or staring ahead seriously, depending on the mood of the music and the style of their dancing. They were in time with each other to the point where an audible slap could be heard whenever rifles were caught as a group. Difficult moves such as firebirds or catching tossed rifles for six or seven rotations were present throughout their whole performance, which ended with a dramatic walk from one member at the end of the floor as the rest collapsed like sea people bowing in reverence to their queen.
Following varsity guard was Foothill High School’s Majorette, Jillian Taylor. Her performance was bursting with extended kicks, one handed cartwheels, and several sweeping great arabesques, which she used to pick up a second and third baton. She juggled the batons, twirled one around her neck while performing three chainé turns, and finished by tossing the baton over 200 feet in the air and catching it going into a full splits.
Miss Tustin, Danielle Weniger, followed with a red costume, single white flag, and a rifle. She performed several tricks such as spinning by the flag’s silk, and catching the rifle behind her back. She finished her routine by tossing the rifle for six rotations out of a high fan kick and catching it while sliding into splits. Her enthusiasm was catchy, and the audience was enamored watching the soloist.
Beckman’s seventeen member Winterguard performed next with a gripping and emotional retelling of Shel Silverstein’s The Giving Tree. The black floor had a simple painted-on tree, and four more prop trees were rolled on, as well as a stump for the end. The show consisted mainly of gymnastics oriented dancers that used props to their advantage. As the show progressed, they built scenes with their flags and rifles, engaging the audience in the classic tale. They showed excellent control as they avoided hitting the trees and jumped over fellow performers while tossing their flags to other teammates. It ended with a gripping seated catch of a rifle toss before guard members posed as more trees in the forest or gathered around the boy who was loved by a tree.
Tustin’s 30 piece drumline wrapped up the showcase with the story of a boy reflecting on his life. Dramatic crescendos and decrescendos kept the audience enthralled as the pit played complicated runs and triumphantly finished each movement powerfully. The ballad slowed down as the narrator fell in love, only to break his love’s heart as the music turned darker. Loud crashes symbolized his emotions as he chose his friends over his love, and the realization that he made the wrong choice came with a dead silence followed by a shattering crash as the whole drumline became his violent emotions, until they trickled off into solitude.
The audience left with a feeling of awe from the performances. Each gripping dance or story affected every member, and the showcase perfectly showed how talented each school is. Next year’s showcase can’t come soon enough.