About Winter Guard International (WGI)
WGI Sport of the Arts is the world's premier organization producing indoor color guard, percussion, and winds competitions. As a non-profit youth organization, WGI also serves as the governing body for the indoor color guard, percussion, and winds activities. It is called the Sport of the Arts because it brings music to life through performance in a competitive format. Now entering its 40th year in 2017, the sport continues to evolve and grow. There were more than 36,000 participants at the regional level, and more than 12,000 participants at the Sport of the Arts World Championships this past April.
WGI was founded in 1977 to draw together the growing winter guard activity, standardize rules, and provide leadership and guidance. Now there is an international organization that offers:
- Standardized judging criteria within the activity
- Improved communication.
- Cooperation of local circuit organizations.
- An Educational Division offering clinics, and both printed and video materials regarding the color guard and indoor percussion activities.
- A network of Regional contests in the U.S., Canada, and Europe culminating in an annual International Championship in April.
WGI Sport of the Arts is governed by a Board of Directors composed of representatives from the top color guards, percussion and winds ensembles in the world, and “At Large” positions for individuals who bring their professional experiences to share with WGI.
WGI uses a competition-based approach for organizing events in order to showcase youth activities in pursuit of high standards of achievement. Events include about 60 Regionals and Power Regionals, which lead to the three-day World Championships that evaluate more than 350 guards, 250 percussion ensembles, and 40 winds groups.
Color guards, percussion ensembles, and winds groups are considered part of the music education curriculum by most schools. Education is the basis for the developmental criteria, which defines the measurement for competitive advancement. WGI Sport of the Arts provides curriculum materials for classes in equipment, movement, and design. WGI provides a full educational program for instructors and judges through seminars and video materials.
The organization promotes higher education by annually awarding over $20,000 in academic scholarships to students from our competing units.