Just as most corps were prepping for their season debut, Guardians was just arriving to spring training. It was a late camp for the Houston corps following arguably the best season in its history.
Coming off a seventh-place finish at the 2018 DCI Open Class Finals, three spots higher than their previous high, Guardians didn’t perform for the first time until Saturday night in Memphis.
“Throughout these four weeks of spring training, we’ve had some highs and some lows,” Guardians drum major Brian Lyke said. “But adversity is the game and we’ve just bonded through adversity.”
It seemed to be worth the wait.
“It went really well,” Lyke said about the corps’ 2019 debut. “It’s so exciting to have this show finally in front of a crowd that appreciates the arts. It was just great to see it on the field and great to see the kids enjoy it as well.”
The seventh-year Open Class corps recorded a score of 58.000 Saturday in Memphis, a two-and-a-half point jump from its opening performance a year ago, setting up a season that could top 2018 in terms of Guardians’ end-of-the-season placement.
“At the end of the year, we’re just looking to have a great season,” Lyke said. “We’re looking to enjoy ourselves. We set a record for the corps last year and we’re looking to set another record this year.”
Lyke noted that while the scores aren’t a focal point for Guardians, the corps puts a large emphasis on making its comparatively tight-knit alumni base extremely proud.
“We know that this year is a big year and this show is going to be a good show when we put it on,” he said.
That was evident Saturday night at the Liberty Bowl. Guardians’ 2019 production “Unpeeled” takes a philosophical look at a show through an energetic, fast-paced program that includes 15 massive picture frames.
They dissect and make the audience look at a performance differently. To support the theme, Guardians make use of a diverse repertoire of music, featuring the likes of The Beatles, Justin Timberlake, Irving Berlin and others.
“That’s kind of the concept of the show: What is a show? What describes a show and what is what we’re doing? It’s just performing,” Lyke said. “We’re just out there walking in time playing music. Why do you call that a show? Why do you call that a production?
“I think that’s what we’re trying to convey in our show, to give everyone a different perspective of why we call different things what they are.”
Lyke admitted that the members initially posed some of the same questions about the show that the show itself is asking. The “Whys” and “Whats” were in a constant flurry after the concept for Guardians’ production was revealed.
Soon, though, as the rehearsals started to pile on, the understanding around the corps followed. Lyke’s aim is that the audience gravitates toward that same process.
“We’re hoping the audience gets that same vibe,” he said. “The more it grows as a unit, the more you’ll understand what we’re doing and why we’re doing it.”