Opus X’s Evolution



“Its a Stretch”
Opus X Independent World
Competition: WGI Semi-Finals Championship
Placement: 23rd
Score: 79.7

Cast: Danya Ahram,Marguerite Buhr, Xander Craven, Peach Dance, Cristian Donis, Megan Facey, Shelby Fisher, Alex Hobson, Steven Irving, Heather Jacobs, Morgan Jamison, Marissa Keating, Katelyn Kellogg, Sierra Lester, Monica Mason, Michael Morris, Jeremy Orsini, Jon Paxton, Aaron Rodriguez, Marisa Wagner, and Jodee Whitehead.


Opus X Independent World
Competition: WGI Semi-Finals Championship
Placement: 16th
Score: 83.2https://youtu.be/MfrHVs2bHhY

Cast:Marguerite Buhr, Sydney Cole, Amber Connolly, Chanlder Dolan, McKayla Dolan, Cristian Donia, Shelby Fisher, Clyde Forland,Kelsey Hullinger, Marissa Keating, Katelyn Kellogg, Kayla Kenyon, Taylor Leak, Frankie Ma, Monica Mason, Jeremy Orsini, Jon Paxton, Joey Stanley, Eva Siskowski, Natasha Terrell, and Marisa Wanger


“Its Not Just Black and White”
Opus X Independent World
Competition: WGI Semi-Finals Championship
Placement: –
Score: –


Cast:Marguerite Buhr, McKayla Dolan, John Farabia, Clyde Forland, Jennifer Hage, Brooke Johnson, Taylor Kaiser, Joe Keating, Marissa Keating, Katelyn Kellogg Karen Klein, Frankie Ma, Michael McGee, Ashley New, Jeremy Orsini, Travis Prudhomme, Mary Raymond, Nic Rhine, Nick Santarelli, Kimi Schillinger, Justin Sparks, and Joey Stanley


“An American Tapestry”
Opus X Independent World
Competition: WGI Finals Championship
Placement: 10th
Score: 86.85

WGI Color Guard Wrap-up 2014: Marching Round Table
“The thing I loved about Opus X is, and I always respond about them, is that what I’m looking at, looks like the music.

…Everything, the tricks, the choreography, it all enhances what I am hearing, and so I love that it is so closely melded.

…It is like a dance piece, and [Rob] treats it as that, certainly staging wise, and it is so true to what the music does.

…There’s a purity to their design, that I think is really honest and heart-warming.

…[Rob] really understands when he hears [the music], he really understands it.

…I think [Opus] is all about serving the music, which is ultimately what I think we’re supposed to be doing.

…And I think that it is sometimes a lost art in this activity, quite frankly.

…I think that the guard sometimes is a little unappreciated

…Just the way they use the beginning of Appalachian Spring to lay the tapestry of the floor pieces out was so beautiful and that was very satisfying to me, and I thought ‘Oh, I can’t wait to see now that they’ve set this gorgeous stage.’

…I thought it was just so well done with that music.

…I thought it was just such a beautiful interpretation.”

Cast: Marguerite Buhr, Ashley Coffey, Amber Connolly, Peach Dance, McKayla Dolan, Clyde Forland, Michael Hernandez, Kelsey Hullinger, Brooke Johnson, Taylor Kaiser, Joe Keating, Marissa Keating, Kayla Kenyon, Karen Klein, Frankie Ma, Caitlin McDonald, Michael McGee, Ashley New, Jeremy Orsini, Kori Powell, Travis Prudhomme, Mary Raymond, Weston Schutt, Justin Sparks, and Mary Wolf

“An American Journey”
Opus X with Ascend Performing Arts
Competition: Taoyuan Band Festival

Opus X takes on Taiwan!
The Blue Knights Drum and Bugle Corps, accompanied by Ascend Performing Arts, invited select members of Opus X to participate in a 50 person ensemble that traveled to Taiwan to participate in educational clinics, a parade, and a field performance. While there, we performed at the Taoyuan Band Festival on Saturday, May 24th and we also represented Drum Corps International as a Sound Sport and Drum Line Battle exhibition ensemble.

Our field production was entitled, “An American Journey” which featured the music from Aaron Copland’s “Appalachian Spring” and “Red Pony.” Our production was designed and choreographed by our very own Rob Billings, who has been an influential part of the Blue Knights organization for many years. It was an experience of a lifetime and we thank you all so much for your love and support as we expanded the love for this amazing activity overseas.

Cast: Russ Carroll, Amber Connolly, McKayla Dolan, Michael Hernandez, Marissa Keating, Kayla Kenyon, Karen Klein, Frankie Ma, Michael McGee, Travis Prudhomme, Mary Raymond, Justin Sparks, and Mary Wolf


“Magnum Opus”
Opus X Independent World
Competition: WGI Finals Championship
Placement: 9th
Score: 89.30

Opus X presents their 2013 program “Magnum Opus.”
“Magnum Opus,” from the Latin meaning “great work,” refers to the best, and perhaps the greatest, achievement of an artist.

Opus X’s 2013 production is the greatest work of this unique ensemble to date. Since the transformation from Oracle to Opus X, this color guard has become well known for its incredible musicality, pure colorguard, art, and skill. This year’s production tackles the impossibly difficult Piano Concerto No. 3 by the great composer Sergei Rachmaninoff. It is one of the most technically challenging piano concertos ever composed, and is considered by many to be Rachmaninoff’s “Magnum Opus.”

For many years Opus X has been regarded as the finest dance ensemble and equipment handling unit in the activity, embracing the pure art form that is color guard: rifle, sabre, flag, and movement, to interpret the greatest music with an authentic performance. Opus X will once again wow audiences with beautiful choreography, deft equipment handling and musicality, while offering the audience an opportunity to hear the music like never before; the visual interpretation by this trained dance troupe will no doubt recapture the magic of the music again and again.

Cast: Becca Cassidy, Ashley Coffey, Amber Connolly, Paula Crosse, McKayla Dolan, Cristian Donis, Clyde Forland, Devin Greenlee, Michael Hernandez, Kelsey Hullinger, Danniell Issac, Brooke Johnson, Taylor Kaiser, Marissa Keating, Kayla Kenyon, Karen Klein, Anthony Mondragon, Natasha Neil, Ashley New, Kori Powell, Travis Prudhomme, Mary Raymond, Weston Schutt, Lindsay Vest, and Mary Wolf


“Fearless Symmetries”
Opus X Independent World
Competition: WGI Finals Championship
Placement: 7th
Score: 92.50

FOCUS Magazine – Summer 2012
Fearless Symmetries by Opus 10 (Colorado) was like the brush strokes of an abstract modern painting coming to life.

Colorguard Trends
Opus 10’s performers fearlessly explored the boundaries of symmetry, and I found it refreshing to watch a show that held no concept of darkness and/or melancholia.  The guard uniforms were fairly neutral as well with a black tank and black fitted pants with a gray band at the waist, this was topped off with navy cardigan left open to add swing a movement. The first flag was a bright almost plaid-like pattern in aqua, pink, and orange with thick black stripes.  The second had soft pastels with lilac, white, a stripe of aqua, and smidgen of buttery yellow.

Cast: Russ Carroll, Becca Cassidy, Katie Cox, McKayla Dolan, Cristian Donis, Devin Greenlee, Michael Hernandez, Kelsey Hullinger, Jillian Jones, Kayla Kenyon, Karen Klein, Frankie Ma, Michael McGee, Anthony Mondragon, Natasha Neil, Ashley New, Yumi Okubo, Weston Schutt, Katie Sparks, Charles Turlington, and Mary Wolf


“il Conservatore di Mozart”
Opus X Independent World
Competition: WGI Finals Championship
Placement: 6th
Score: 91.45

Independent World Final Review – by Michael Reed
Opus 10 is regarded as the closest thing in the activity to a professional ballet troupe. “il Conservatore di Mozart” allowed the men and women to demonstrate the dance skills this ensemble is famous for. An attention-grabbing pre-show featured Mozart’s jealous rival composer Salieri describing the undeniable beauty of his music in a voice-over from the film “Amadeus.” The cast kept complete body control throughout, maintaining the stamina needed for the lengthy, smooth motions the music demanded even as the finish was in sight. The equipment book was a perfect complement to the choreography, melding into a seamless visual tapestry. The program faded quietly, ending with an exhale audible to the upper reaches of the arena as the crowd sat in rapt attention.

Cast: Katie Allison, Brenna Brown, Russ Carroll, Becca Cassidy, Christina Cloyes, Amber Connolly, Paula Crosse, Cristian Donis, Emily Fowler, Kelsey Hullinger, Kayla Kenyon, Michael McGee, Natasha Neil, Ashley New, Michael Richman, Weston Schutt, Justin Sparks, Lauren Triche, Lindsay Vest, and Mary Wolf


“The Music Box”
Opus X Independent World
Competition: WGI Finals Championship
Placement: 15th
Score: 82.25

Field and Floor Sweet Sixteen
With the wind-up “Music Box,” Opus 10 brought notions of neoclassical ballet to the floor: extreme tempos, technical feats, and a focus on structure. As a more relaxed and contemporary cousin to classical ballet; the approach was less rigid, although still exacting. As a color guard design, the infusion of “classic” drill, thrilled!

Cast: Melissa Allgyer, Becca Cassidy, Amber Connolly, Paula Crosse, Devin Greenlee, Gabriel Gonzales, Katie Harris, Katie Hernandez, Kelsey Hullinger, Greg Humphrey, Danniell Isaac, Jillian Jones, Kayla Kenyon, Ronnie Marshall, Anthony Mondragon, Natasha Neil, Ashley New, Rachel Newcomb, Kylene SanMiguel, Justin Sparks, Katie Sparks, Devin Stevens, Charley Turlington, and Mary Wolf

Opus X Independent Open
Competition: WGI Prelims
Score: 76.30

Cast:  Danielle Barr, Peach Dance, Seth Dean, McKayla Dolan, Alexis Jakuszeit, Karen Klein, Chelsea Kramer, Yumi Okubo, Kelsey Potter, Mary Raymond, and Lauren Triche


“Roch! Variations on a Theme”
Opus X Independent Open
Competition: WGI Finals Championship
Placement: 2nd
Score: 92.80

Performing on a floor tarp depicting a minimalist work of contemporary art, Denver’s Opus 10’s classy “Variations on a Theme” production accentuated the guard’s attention to detail, with every hand and foot meticulously placed. Elegant music provided a divine soundtrack while hand-painted flags were a perfect choice for this most graceful and chic performance.

Field & Floor Elite 8
Opus 10: a dance troupe. Color guard equipment as extension of arms, hands, and legs was the edge that lifted these Bach variations into the Elite Eight.
The harangue over dance in color guard should be moot at this point, but until everyone catches up with all idioms — like this splendid compendium — the end result from most units will likely be warmed over milquetoast.
A decided light touch was applied to the classic material, but the smooth, seemingly effortless posture and positioning in performance made this work a magnum opus.

Cast: Paula Crosse, Jennifer Hage, Katie Hernandez, Danniell Isaac, Jillian Jones, Kayla Kenyon, Anthony Mondragon, Alexandra Munoz, Natasha Neil, Ashley New, Alyssa Ritter, Lauren Triche, Charley Turlington, Fiona Van Tyne, and Mary Wolf


“Rhapsody in Blue”
Opus X Independent World
Competition: WGI Finals Championship
Placement: 13th
Score: 83.70

FOCUS Magazine – Summer 2007
Now in their tenth year of existence, Opus 10– formerly known as Oracle – joined forces with the Blue Knights Drum & Bugle Corps this season and staged a fun and entertaining production to the music of Gershwin’s famous “Rhapsody in Blue.” For many seasons this unit has been known for a somewhat serious approach, so it was nice to see the performers smiling and clearly having a great time. Highlights of the production included some very stylized dance, solid equipment work, and a tightly executed staging sequence which featured three sections flying across the floor in block formations.

Cast: Katie Allison, Russ Carroll, Sara Croce, Melissa Gadoury, Gabriel Gonzales, Amber Hamilton, Katie Harris, Katie Hernandez, Becky Holst, Mark Keating, Katie LaLiberte, Ron Marshal, Emily Martin, Sarah Martin, Megan McKinney, Elaine Moller, Anthony Mondragon, Amy Morrill, Aaron Moss, Alex Munoz, and Justin Sparks


Oracle Independent World
Competition: WGI Finals Championship
Placement: 6th
Score: 92.50

Indoor color guard, this medium that so enthralls us, has been called “The Sport of the Arts” for years now, but one type of artistic endeavor has a spotty history on our floors: dance. For judging purposes, it was dubbed “movement,” and certainly most every level of color guard these days “moves” in ways unforeseen 30 years ago. But as for the dance, even with designers and instructors who have trained and performed in the medium doing their best to bring it into the arena, it has only been since the turn of the century that a level of dance that ought be seen beyond color guard’s four walls has emerged. I can recall some stunningly gorgeous dance sequences from an earlier incarnation of Diamond Bar High School, and certainly Northview High School has propagated the traditional collegiate dance line on occasion, but it was not until this year’s invisible melding of dance into color guard by Colorado’s Oracle, that our sport can really boast of dance in our art.

And what a satisfying dance/color guard piece this was, turning performers, equipment, choreography, and dance into unified objects of movement and motion. From the first second of the unit’s mesmerizing solo turn, through the full encyclopedia of required — yet unwritten — color guard sequences, Oracle was as satisfying an entertainment as has been seen in many years.

(In fact, as I have spent this week reviewing my notes, the ten years of Field & Floor lists, and the activity itself, I was reminded of Emerald Marquis’ 2001 winner here, and how it also shone in the midst of really, really good color guard. How? By designing a set piece that was like nothing else on the floor that year.)

In the same way, Oracle had the most singular look of the year, placing yet another bar for designers in the world classes, but this one, like the Field & Floor color guards of the year for the past several seasons, is less about its height, than about its inclusion of those arts that we sport.

In a year that color guard was honestly dominated by the world classes, Oracle stood out for standing — or rather dancing — on its own two feet.

FOCUS Magazine – Summer 2006
The stirring music of Rachmaninoff provided a fitting soundtrack for a magnificent performance by Oracle (CO, tie for 6th, 92.50). Ever since their open class victory several seasons ago, Oracle has established itself as one of winter guard’s most technically proficient units, and this year’s balletic production did not disappoint. Starting off the line with a daring all-weapon section, this production fabulously spotlighted the performer’s spot-on equipment technique and expansive movement vocabulary. Especially notable was an extremely difficult and well-achieved all-flag section near the show’s end, culminating in a full-ensemble triple-fouette.

Cast: Katie Allison, Rachel Anderson, Kristin Burback, Russ Carroll, Jen Craig, Alexis Chernow, Charmian Eichelberger, Gabe Garcia, Shayna Grajo, Katie Harris, Becky Holst, Kat Kumlin, Katie LaLiberte, Mark Laydon, Emily Martin, Sarah Martin, Amy Morrill, Natasha Neil, Kendra Repstine, Michael Richman, Sabrena Sievering, Justin Sparks, and Katie Tamblin


Oracle Independent World
Competition: WGI Finals Championship
Placement: 4th
Score: 95.2

FOCUS Magazine — Summer 2005
Oracle (CO, 4th, 95.20) improved yet again on their previous season’s placements, quietly yet firmly knocking on the door of medal contention. For several seasons, Oracle has established itself as one of the best dancing guards in competition, exhibiting professional-level balletic skills not often seen on the winter guard floor. However with this production, the guard’s equipment skills matched – if not rivaled – its movement technique. Performing on a black floor tarp with abstract shapes in gold, maroon, and green, the show’s powerful classical soundtrack built to an authoritative all-rifle section, eliciting a rousing response from the audience. A heavily layered all-flag statement near the end of the production left no doubt in anyone’s mind that this is truly a guard to watch out for in seasons to come.

Cast: Katie Allison, Rachel Anderson, Alexis Chernow, Jennifer Craig, Lucas Derr, Katy Eichelberger, Charmian Eichelberger, Gabe Gonzales, Shayna Grajo, Seth Heideman, Becky Holst, Katie LaLiberte, Annette Larkin, Mark Laydon, Emily Martin, Megan McKinney, Amy Morrill, Michael Richman, Kendra Repstine, Sabrena Sievering, and Justin Sparks


Oracle Independent World
Competition: WGI Finals Championship
Placement: 6th
Score: 92.25

On the other end of the stylistic spectrum, Oracle (CO) (6th 92.25) took subtlety to a new level with their “Nocturne” program, performing in sheer white costuming on a Van Gogh-inspired floor, to the strains of “Adagio” from Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata. The opening dance sequence showcased the well-trained performers’ beautiful movement skills, while a slow crescendo of musically effective rifle tosses led to a seemingly non-stop display of equipment work. An extended flag feature incorporating every conceivable angle in which a flag could be manipulated concluded this mesmerizing performance.

Cast: Katie Allison, Rachel Anderson, Jennifer Craig, Jessica Cruz, Lucas Derr, Katy Eichelberger, Charmian Eichelberger, Shayna Grajo, Katie Harris, Becky Holst, Jennifer Knight, Lindsey Kuhlman, Annette Larkin, Mark Laydon, Emily Martin, Megan McKinney, Christy Predaina, Kendra Schnuerle, Sabrena Sievering, and Katie Tamblin



“Reflections of Light”
Oracle Independent World
Competition: WGI Finals Championship
Placement: 9th
Score: 87.85

Oracle Winter Guard returned to Independent World Class with a splash in 2003. “Reflections of Light” featured 19 performers with multiple aerials and flags reflecting the painting from which everything sprung to life. This production solidly established Oracle in the new class with a 9th place finish in the World!

FOCUS Magazine – May 2003
After earning the gold medal in Independent Open last year, Oracle (CO) (9th 87.85) pushed themselves safely into the ranks of Independent World finals this year. An abstract work of art on their floor tarp provided a suitable background for this powerful group of performers, who executed their show with ease, effortlessly pulling off a very tough book of high tosses with complex movement passages underneath.

Cast: Katie Allison, Stacie Cain, Jennifer Craig, Jessica Cruz, Molly Dowd, Amber Eagle, Katy Eichelberger, Charmian Ellerkamp, Katie Harris, Kat Kumlin, Annette Larkin, Emily Martin, Sarah Martin, Amy Matthews, Christy Predaina, Kendra Schnuerle, Sabrena Sievering, Katie Tamblin, and Kirsten Young



“Fantasy and Fugue”
Oracle Independent Open
Competition: WGI Finals Championship
Placement: 1st
Score: 95.80

In 2002, Oracle’s “Fantasy and Fugue” production became the WGI Independent Open Class World Championship Winner. The show presented Oracle’s signature movement and equipment statements in an ever more fused manner. Fourteen members highlighted this production with emphasis on musical expression, colorful displays, and technical proficiency. Hand-painted silks and sets, along with flashy new uniforms, again set the scene for bringing to life Bach’s Fantasy in C minor and Fugue in G minor.

FOCUS Magazine – May 2002
After a 4th place finish last season, Oracle brought the gold medal home to Denver this year, with its breathtaking production of “Fantasy and Fugue.” Performing on a set resembling an abstract work of art, Oracle demonstrated strong movement training, highlighted by a full guard double pirouette. Every member deftly handled weapon at one point, leaving the audience spellbound by their confident yet delicate equipment skills. Seamless transitions, intense performers and a strong sense of musicality took Oracle to the top of the Independent Open class, earning a gold medal score of 95.8.

Cast: Katie Allison, Nikolle Bookless, Jenn Brooks, Amber Eagle, Charmian Ellerkamp, Lindsey Kuhlman, Annette Larkin, Amy Matthews, Megan McKinney, Kendra Schnuerle, Katie Tamblin, Kait Wilson, Kirsten Young, and Heather Young


“Allegro in Red”
Oracle Independent Open
Competition: WGI Finals Championship
Placement: 4th
Score: 91.80

For 2001, “Allegro in Red” took Oracle to new heights in scope and depth. To the music of Shostakovich, Oracle’s 19 members followed a journey of individual struggle to ensemble chaos and, ultimately, triumph. Again, hand-painted silks and sets placed Oracle uniquely in the winter guard art form challenging the audience with signature movement elements and fabulous equipment statements. The ever-expected all-flag section set new standards for excellence and coordination.

FOCUS Magazine – June/July 2001
“Oracle of Denver Colorado made a strong showing and finished 4th in Finals. Their score of 91.8 came from solid strength across the board. In particular, their equipment score was indicative of the writing and skills of the performers. They finished in a tie for third place in equipment. Much of their music was drawn from the Russian composer, Shostakovich.”

Cast: Nikki Bookless, Jenn Brooks, Molly Dowd, Amber Eagle, Charmian Ellerkamp, Rachel Erbert, Jordan Jacobsen, Michelle Klein, Lindsey Kuhlman, June Kurobane, Annette Larkin, Amy Matthews, Andrea Pickett, Christy Predaina, Sara Quehrn, Katie Tamblin, Katie Wilson, Heather Young, and Kirsten Young


“Pachelbel’s Canon”
Oracle Independent Open
Competition: WGI Finals Championship
Placement: 12th
Score: 81.75

The 2000 season used a classical interpretation of Pachelbel’s Canon but with variations. We interpreted seven dance motifs through color and character. The sets were hand-painted once again. This year emphasized audience interaction with the new characters. Again, challenging the audience to explore new areas of color, dance, music, and expression was the goal. Membership increased this season and we have repeated performances at sites from 1999 to build the audience base. We also collaborated with Blue Knights Drum and Bugle Corps and another winter guard to ensure ties throughout the arts community remained strong.

Cast: Amy, Nikki, Jennifer, Summer, Sara D, Rachel, Jordan, Michelle, Annette, Sara P, Gretchen, Andrea, Kendra, Katie, Heather



“Concerto for Piano and Orchestra”
Oracle Independent Open
Competition: WGI Finals Championship
Placement: 10th
Score: 87.90

The 1999 season used Samuel Barber’s Concerto for Piano and Orchestra to present a much more abstract yet emotionally connected program. The intensity and success of this season added significantly to membership and support from the community. Again, the intent to challenge the audience in a new way was achieved. The high school students viewing the programs were introduced to a new form of music as well as a different style of dance. Oracle truly established itself as a leader in the community of color guards during this season. There were 10 local performances this season.

Cast: Amy, Nikki, Amanda, Heather, Summer, Jordan, Lindsey, Bobbie Jo, Annette, Jennifer, Mandy, Sara, Gretchen, Andrea, Marnie, Kendra, and Heather


“Music of Toby Twining”
Oracle Independent World
Competition: Rocky Mountain Colorguard Association State Championship
Placement: 1st
Score: 87.90

Oracle Winter Guard formed on November 11, 1997. The organization brought together Rob Billings and Roger Saint Vincent as founders. There were initially 13 performers and six performances. The initial intent was to bring distinctive, hand-painted sets, props, flags, and costumes to the Colorado population. The initial 1998 season was a tremendous success. Oracle set world-class standards for Colorado, which had been missing the IW class since 1993. That first season used music of Toby Twining and interpreted abstract design through intricate dance patterns and equipment work. Audience reception was very positive and Oracle received good critical reviews.

Cast: Amy L, Amy A, Andrea, Dinea, Jill, Jennifer, Sara, Summer, Marnie, Talia, Mandy, Jordan, and Bobbie Jo