Mike Lawson • News • August 12, 2014

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WGI Sport of the Arts presents the Next Step in the Marching Arts: WGI WINDS!


After more than 37 years of presenting exciting indoor color guard and percussion competitions, WGI is expanding into the next step for the marching arts.  Beginning in 2015, the organization will begin offering a new type of competition in full support of the total band program: WGI Winds! 

“We had been considering events for indoor marching music ensembles for a number of years,” says WGI Executive Director Ron Nankervis. “With the explosion of color guards and percussion ensembles that keep growing each year, Winds is a natural extension of the WGI organization. Last summer, the WGI board of directors considered the creation of a third division, and Winds was overwhelming approved to begin contests in 2015 culminating in the first WGI Winds World Championships next April.”

Though it will continue the Sport of the Arts tradition of performance and competition, WGI Winds will be a unique form of the marching arts. In fact, “Winds” doesn’t mean “winds only.” Groups can include anything found in a concert band or orchestra. So in addition to brass and woodwinds, you may also see strings, keyboards, electric guitars, synthesizers, and other instruments. There will be two levels of classification – Independent (all-age) and Scholastic. For each of these levels, competition will be offered in A Class, Open Class and World Class. This will allow ensembles to compete in and be compared with similar skill level groups. “The program will offer an opportunity for musicians to perform in a competitive arena during the winter months,” says George Lindstrom, who was instrumental in getting Winds off the ground. “The creative potential is wide open – and that is very exciting.”


Last November, an advisory committee was established to set the parameters for the inaugural Winds division season. Rules and a scoring system were developed over the winter and announced in April. Students will be judged by the some of the most skilled adjudicators working in the marching arts. “The minimum group size is ten people,” Lindstrom says. “But most will have between 15 and 50 members. There’s no maximum size limit.” As with the color guard and percussion divisions, an advisory board comprised of participating ensembles will govern the division and oversee artistic and judging policies after the first season. But for now, the rules and policies are very broad so that the new division can flourish and create something totally new to students.

“If the early response from our demonstrations at the World Championships are any indication, WGI Winds will prove to be a fantastic opportunity for more students to make music and perform,” Nankervis concludes. “In addition, many countries have already contacted us about bringing this new form of marching music to their existing events or create new contests for their performers. It really has struck a nerve that appeals on many levels to groups wanting the WGI experience.”


Beginning in 2015, WGI Winds competitions will be added to select existing regional competitions:

  • February 14, 2015 – Indianapolis, IN
  • February 28, 2015 – Dayton, OH
  • March 7, 2015 – Atlanta, GA; Denver, CO; Houston, TX
  • March 14, 2015 – Orlando, FL
  • March 21, 2015 – West Long Branch, NJ; Bowling Green, KY; San Bernardino, CA
  • April 11-12, 2015 – WGI Winds World Championships in Dayton, OH


For more information, visit wgi.org. 



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