Blending dance, gymnastics, energy and team choreography, 24 teams converged Saturday on Lake Park High School's West Campus for the Midwest Color Guard Circuit Contest.
The contest mainly drew teams from the Chicago suburbs, but Wisconsin and Indiana were represented as well.
Margaret Ladis, a Lake Park sophomore and member of the marching band, came out to support her school's color guard team, which includes plenty of crossovers from the marching band.
"(Color guard) focuses on expression and how you feel. You can feel it when you watch them," Ladis said. "These two are very close. Both of them support each other. It's really cool seeing people you know in this activity, working together and creating the shows."
Anthony Gnutek, band director for Jacobs High School in Algonquin, also came out for the competition, which he says is a good opportunity for members of fall color guard to hone their skills in the winter months. He said kids practice 12 hours a week, including four hours in Sundays.
"It's a good team building effort for the kids who are interested in dance (and music)," said Gnutek, a Lake Park High School alum. "Not everybody is a football player or basketball player."
Ray Trygstad of Naperville was one of the few people allowed to record the event. As videographer for the Steperette Cadets, which operates out of the Naperville Park District, his duties include recording routines, making a DVD for the coach and putting the show on youtube.
"It's remarkable how much they improve during the season," said Trygstad, whose seventh-grade son, John, has been on the team for five years.
Geri Pratus has two daughters on the team from Stagg High School in Palos Hills. She was at Lake Park at the beginning of the four-hour contest even though her kids didn't come on until near the end.
"I love the way the kids are able to get together and do it. It takes a lot of talent and hard work," she said. "These girls give 100 percent and a lot of practice."