Trophies are arranged along the back wall and various practice instruments are stacked almost to the ceiling. This impromptu monument to the Winter Guard team’s victories and dedication are easily visible in new LBJ/LASA Winter Guard Director Nick Roman’s office. His office is where the majority of the technical aspects of the Winter Guard show are created.

The LBJ/LASA Winter Guard team meets in this same office to discuss and prepare for their upcoming season. In light of a recent victory in the team’s first competition of the year, the team is now having to practice harder than ever in order to be successful in their competitions. Luckily, Roman is no stranger to Winter Guard, even if it is his first year working with LBJ and LASA. He has years of experience and plans to take the group in a challenging, but still fun direction. For Roman, perfection simply doesn’t exist. He said that in order for the team to be successful they need to constantly improve themselves and their peers.

“We are going to continue working on the show that we have, and we’re going to work and enhance it to its fullest potential,” Roman said. “Some aspect of our show can always be improved, and the team works hard to make sure that they’re getting better at something every day.”

One of the things that Roman thinks is most crucial to a good performance is communication. No amount of practice can prepare you for the real thing according to Roman, and he believes that the team has to have nearly flawless communication if they want to do well; everyone has to be on the same page.

“I feel like it’s mostly going to come down to solidifying our form of communication, and having, like, a stronger sense of who we are as a team, with me in charge of them,” Roman said. “Communication is critical, and if any one single person doesn’t know what to do during a show, it makes us look bad. Our team will need to be at the top of their game with communication—it may be the thing that makes or breaks our show.”

LASA freshman and first year Winter Guard member Emma Rodriguez thinks that the team’s win at the first competition of the year was exhilarating, but that there is always work to be done.

It felt amazing to get first in that first competition,” Rodriguez said. “This the first time I have ever competed in a more athletic competition, so, personally, knowing that I had contributed to that and being a part of that was really encouraging. [Practice] takes a lot out of you but it’s definitely worth it in the end!”

LASA junior Winter Guard member Thomas Reyes says that the win in the first competition was unexpected but welcome.

[The win] was surprising. We got a new director this year and it usually takes a few shows or even seasons sometimes for everyone to fall into groove with one another but that wasn’t the case. It was validating for sure but the best thing was seeing everyone feel so good because they did something impressive,” Reyes said. “It was especially nice to see the freshmen’s reaction to it all since it was their first show which was probably both exciting and nerve wracking for them.”

According to Rodriguez, practices are as frequent as they are important, are valued time for the team.

“We have practices three times a week for around three hours a day. It’s tough to balance that with my schoolwork, but I’m managing,” Rodriguez said.

For now, the team’s biggest concern is the Championship competition of the Texas Color Guard Circuit, or TCGC, at the end of March. Roman says he enjoys creating the whole show from the ground up and says he will be working extensively to make sure that the show in March will go smoothly. One of the things that the team is really good at is timing; Roman said that in their recent competitions timing has been really important and a good grasp of it helped the team immensely.

“On the floor, our kids do a good job of moving from place to place on time and being in their spots when they’re needed there,” Roman said. “Timing is probably the most important aspect of our show, and it is good that the students are internalizing it and working well together.”

In order to get ready for the big competition, Reyes said he expects nothing less than 100 percent from themselves and the rest of the team.

I expect everyone to put forward as much as they can,” Reyes said. “I want everyone to be kind to one another, foster a learning environment and practice hard. If we can perform like I know we can, we’ll have no issues.”

Overall, Roman is feeling very confident in the group’s chances of success. He believes that if they perform like they are capable of performing, nothing can stand in their way.

“This is definitely one of the strongest groups of kids that I’ve ever worked with in that they’re very committed to the goal, which is finishing our product and making sure that it’s the best it can be,” Roman said. “I’m proud of our kids, they internalize a lot of the things I used to have to stress, and I think that their determination and commitment will take us far in these upcoming competitions.”