Winter color guards can be found in high schools, middle schools, universities, and other independent organizations, some of which are related to drum corps.

Programs in our area are primarily governed and facilitated by two organizations: Winter Guard International (WGI) and the Carolina Winter Ensemble Association (CWEA).  

The competitions are hosted by CWEA, but the rules, regulations, and scoring criteria are mandated by WGI. 


There are two levels of classification: Independent and Scholastic.

Independent groups are self-organized and funded, sometimes they are an extension of a college program. Scholastic ensembles are programs that compete on behalf of their school. 

CWEA Color Guard Classifications

Novice Class

Scholastic Only

The novice class is designed for the newest ensembles to our activity. Performers in the class will display purely introductory skills with regards to vocabulary, technique and conceptual design. Evaluation for the Novice class will be based on the WGI Regional A Criteria. Color Guards performing in the Novice class are eligible for promotion to the Scholastic Regional A class.

Cadet Class

Scholastic Only

This class is for all units whose performers are junior high/middle school age or younger. High School students are not allowed to compete in this class. Evaluation will be on the WGI Regional A criteria. Color Guards performing in the CADET Division will not be promoted outside of this class.

Regional A Class

This class is for the beginning performers who are just entering the performance arena for the first time. Show concept, equipment and movement skill, and performance are achieving only at an introductory level. This class is made to encourage and develop the growth of units that are only beginning to understand indoor color guard. Evaluation will be on the WGI Regional A criteria.

A Class

Participants in A class should have beginning vocabulary, programs, and achievement levels beyond the introductory level. Evaluation will be on the WGI A Class criteria.

While all Independent A groups compete directly with one another, Scholastic A groups are divided into one of four subcategories based on progress toward intermediate skills:


  • Scholastic AAA

  • Scholastic AA

  • Scholastic A

  • National A - teams competing at WGI Regionals or World Championships in the A Class.

Open Class

Participants in this class should have intermediate vocabulary, programs, achievement level, and are beginning to incorporate advanced concepts. Evaluation will be on the WGI Open Class criteria.

World Class

Participants in this class should have advanced vocabulary, programs, achievement level, and are exploring new material. Units in these classifications should be setting the standard all other units strive to achieve. Evaluation will be on the WGI World Class criteria.


Carolina Winter Ensemble Association

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Mailing Address:

Boiling Springs Band Booster

P.O. Box 160098

Boiling Springs, SC   29316

Director of Bands

Bobby Cotter

(864) 578-8465 ext. 1448

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