The Council Rock South Winter Guard took the floor for the first time in the winter season of 2013. John Burns and Color Guard instructor Lauren Moffatt Burns initiated the program from a deeply held belief that Winter Guard is an essential aspect of the high school band experience. 18 young ladies and gentlemen took to the floor for the first time in the Scholastic Novice class to perform “A New Dawn” featuring an original arrangement of “Morning has Broken.” With a borrowed floor, borrowed flags, and stock costumes, the team worked diligently and finished the season in 13th place with a score of 83.5.
In 2014 the South Winter Guard performed a Production entitled “Boxed In” featuring an original composition that was crafted simultaneously alongside our staging. This was also the first time that the team donned a custom designed costume by Tommy Keenum of The Band Hall. At their first competition, South was promoted to the Scholastic Regional – A class! Council Rock South performed at their first Winter Guard International Regional competing in Regional-A and not only made finals, but also won the scholastic Regional - A division! Things continued to go well for South, and with a score of 90.98, Council Rock South won their first ever MAIN Event Championship, capping off an undefeated season!
In 2015 South moved up to Scholastic-A class with a production entitled “Indelible.” Once again original music was composed for the group. South purchased a floor and digital flags for the first time. South held their own in this competitive new class, placing as high as 2nd at various contests. The team made finals at the South Brunswick WGI Regional, and ultimately won the bronze medal at the MAIN Event!
Our 2016 production was entitled “Continuum.” In addition to an original soundtrack, South featured the vocal talents of Keith Spencer. Our costumes from the Band Hall included semi-detachable strips that were wrapped and unwrapped around different performers in the group. We stretched the fabric of space time across our stage in bold Neon Strips which the cast wrapped and bent around their bodies as they were spinning. South once again made finals at the South Brunswick WGI Regional, and ultimately won the Silver medal at the MAIN Event! Additionally, the color guard took the show on the road all the way to ITALY during March of the season!
In 2017 Council Rock South went “Beyond”. With another original soundtrack, South used monolithic props to change the shape and texture of the stage. The ‘horizon’ props were utilized in daring and exciting ways. Tommy Keenum’s costume design once again gave our kids a distinctive look! South advanced to finals at the WGI Eastern Championships in Bethlehem, PA and ultimately won the Bronze medal at the MAIN Event!
In 2018 the Council Rock South Winterguard presented “Alone.” With original music by John Burns, and costumes inspired by the Painting “Son of Man” by Surrealist artist Rene Magritte, and designed by Tommy Keenum of the Band Hall, South wowed audiences with an expressive and at times introspective presentation. A lone figure stands beneath an umbrella on a black stage. The thoughts of this soul alone in the rain literally unfold on the stage. Though storm clouds appear, there is a bright sky on the horizon. No matter how we feel in this journey, you are never truly alone.
The 2019 Council Rock South Winterguard presents "The Darkest Night." We struggle against darkness in our lives and in the world. The ominous dark covers the stage, and is draped around the performers. Even in the Darkest Night, you can still find the Light if you know where to look. With an original soundtrack, South will push through the darkness in search of the light.
We are very proud that we will offer this experience for a 7th year at Council Rock South. Bringing a quality Winter Guard production to the floor requires a lot of planning and hard work. Much like a theatrical production, modern Winter Guard utilizes artistic elements such as costumes, props, and music. Most of these props, flags, and the set itself are the result of the hard work of parents and volunteers. I’m very proud of our kids, and I try to make them cognizant of the fact that this experience would not be possible without the tireless efforts of our parents and volunteers, as well as the full support of our administration here at South. Thank you to everyone who makes Winter Guard a reality here at Council Rock South!
Council Rock South Winter Guard is under the direction of:
John Burns received a Bachelor of Music Education degree from Shenandoah University and is currently pursuing a Master of Music in Music Education degree from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, PA. He is currently in his sixth year as the Director of Bands at Council Rock High School South in Holland, Pennsylvania. Under his direction, the Band has received numerous accolades at State and Regional competitions including achieving the title of 2016 US Bands Group IV-A National Champions!
Mr. Burns also established the award-winning Winter Guard at Council Rock South. His public school teaching experience includes fourteen years in the Virginia, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania public school systems. His color guard performance experience includes: Dominion Winter Guard, The Cavaliers Drum and Bugle Corps, Field of View Winter Guard, Just Class Winter Guard, and the Pride of Cincinnati Winter Guard. His Drum Corps teaching experience includes the 2004 Lehigh Valley Knights, and the 2006 Crossmen Drum and Bugle Corps.
John and his wife Lauren founded and instructed Impact Independent Winter Guard, from Northern Virginia, and served as their directors from 2008 – 2012. Impact won the 2012 Independent A World Championships. Aside from their passion for color guard, he and his wife have a deep love and affection for their 4 year old puppy Monty.
Mr. Burns frequently serves as a consultant and drill writer for bands in Pennsylvania and Virginia. He is a member of the National Association for Music Education, Pennsylvania Music Educators Association, Kappa Kappa Psi and an alumnus of the Cavaliers Drum and Bugle Corps.
Lauren Moffatt Burns is one of the founding staff members of the Council Rock South Winter Guard, and is currently in her sixth year teaching these hard-working students.
She has performed with the Golden Sabers Winter Guard, the Magic of Orlando Drum and Bugle Corps, and the Crossmen Drum and Bugle Corps. She was also a member of the Micro Magic Performance Ensemble, which toured in the US and Japan.
Over the years, Lauren has taught numerous high school programs in Pennsylvania and Virginia, including 13 years at Upper Moreland HS. In addition to high school, Lauren has taught at the Bluecoats 2002-2003, Lehigh Valley Knights 2003-2004, and Field of View A 2014.
She and John were also founding staff members, choreographers, and instructional team members for Impact Independent Winter Guard (2008-2012). They are both very proud of their fifth place finish in 2010 and their World Championship title in the Independent A class in 2012. Lauren is also in her fourth season of service on the Executive Board for Mid-Atlantic Indoor Network (MAIN).
In real life, Lauren attended Lebanon Valley College (Annville, PA) and received a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education. She married her best friend, fellow designer, and love of her life in 2013 and they live in Glenside with their loving puppy, Monty. When she’s not teaching color guard, she is busy being the owner of a Hallmark Gold Crown store in Dresher, PA.