Successes of Winter Band Programs


As extension programs of marching band, Winter Guard and Percussion are smaller group performances done indoors, showcasing the abilities of specifically color guard, drumline and front ensemble. Returning to the activity after several years of hiatus, Cupertino High School’s Winter Guard has spun to new heights, placing 1st out of 13 groups at World Guard International Union City Regionals on March 11 and getting bumped up three divisions. On the other hand, Winter Percussion beat longtime rivals, placing first at Northern California Percussion Alliance James Logan on March 18. 


Winter Guard

On January 21, Winter Guard had their first performance in the California Color Guard Circuit evaluation, moving them from the Scholastic Regional A to the Scholastic Regional AA division. Following several more CCGC competitions, the guard continued improving as they won their first competition at WGI. 

As a circuit that spans the entire nation, WGI hosts regional competitions in different states leading up to their April world championship in Dayton, Ohio. With fewer divisions than CCGC, WGI competitions are much more competitive. 

Said junior Hrishvi Bansal, “We went there thinking we would go home after prelims. But then we placed first in prelims and finals. We got moved up two divisions [and] it was an honor.”

Returning to CCGC, the guard was promoted to the Scholastic National AA Division. With this new change, the guard was pushed to greater precision, required to pay attention to small details they never had to before. Despite the challenges they had to overcome and not placing as well, Bansal noted that their improvement was the most important part.

Said Bansal, “When I’m frustrated, I like to go back to the beginning of the season. [Where] everything was really bad, and no one was together. [However,] I see it now, and even though it’s not perfect, I can see the improvement. That’s what’s nice about it.”

With their significant improvement this season, Bansal also touched on the struggles they’ve had to overcome, like needing to fully commit to the activity due to the intense amount of extra practice during tutorials, free periods and after school. Despite these struggles, Bansal is proud of creating a close and comfortable environment within guard, where people can be themselves in a place that distracts them from academics and outside life. 

“One thing that’s really special is seeing all the new people learn about guard, enjoy it and find a new love for the activity,” said Bansal. “Because we have a lot of new people, it’s really cool to see all [their] growth.”

On April 1, Winter Guard competed in their final championship competition, placing 4th in their division. Although their 2023 winter season has come to an end, clinics for the upcoming season are not far away, and their record-setting season will always live on in their memories. 


Winter Percussion

Unlike Winter Guard, who returned to the floor after several years of hiatus, Cupertino’s winter percussion took the floor this season after a record-breaking 2022 season. For the first time in CHS history, percussion traveled to Dayton, Ohio, in April of 2022 to compete in the WGI World Championships. Finishing off a highly successful season, they placed 6th in the nation. 

After that historic season, most members graduated and percussion needed to get back on their feet, with more than half of the group completely new to their instruments. Despite this, percussion consistently improved at all their competitions, beating out their longtime rivals from James Logan High School for the first time this season. 

Although this win was an impressive and rewarding feat, what mattered most to both drumline and front ensemble section leaders was more than just the win.

Said Senior Vivek Krishnan, “Winning to me, I think it’s keeping the same attitude no matter what place you get. [It’s about] if you can keep the same attitude, and you don’t try [to] give up and you keep pushing forward.” Adding on to Krishnan, Senior Vihaan Manglani said, “Sometimes our rehearsals take precedence over our [competitions]. Winning to me is having a good rehearsal each day, and when we don’t have a good rehearsal, I feel like we’ve lost something.”

Much like guard, Krishnan, Manglani and Sophomore Kaiden Furton stressed how rewarding it has been to watch everyone improve and grow both individually and as a group.

Said Manglani, “We started as the underdogs of our competitive class, [placing last] at WGI San Bernadino in 2019 and then made 1st place at [NCPA] championships last year. It was magical and I love that we’ve consistently stayed positive people.”

With two competitions left this season and NCPA championships held on April 15, Furton and Krishnan spoke on the season coming to a close.

Said Furton, “I hope within the next two competitions, and especially in finals, that everyone feels like they’ve performed to their best and are satisfied.”

“I just want to escape the season with no regrets. [To] take every opportunity to play as a way to express myself and perform to my best, and I want [others] to feel [emotion] more than just winning or being clean.” Krishnan adds. 

No matter the results, the group hopes for the Winter Percussion season to go out with a bang and continue to grow through upcoming clinics and seasons.