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About Ether Independent

Ether Independent was founded in 2022 to create fun, educational experiences for young adults interested in the winter guard activity. We are directed by four Oak Ridge alumni, who attended high school and competed together, hoping one day to start their own independent guard.

Ether aims to foster an all-inclusive, safe space for learning and personal growth that is accepting to all creeds, nationalities, genders, and identities, while striving to achieve excellence within the winter guard activity through exhilarating performances.

Ether is an independent winter guard based in Houston, Texas. Ether Independent is (soon-to-be) a registered 501(c)3 non-profit organization that adheres to the guidelines set by Texas Color Guard Circuit (TCGC) and Winter Guard International (WGI).

Meet the Ether Team

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Christopher Farley

President

After marching for four years in high school, Chris began performing with groups such as Phantom Regiment, Code Black Independent Winter Guard, and Paramount Independent WorldHe has served as director, tech, choreographer, designer, coach, or sometimes all of the above while working for many great high school programs like Mill Creek, Kell, Whitewater, and Harrison (all located in the metro Atlanta area).

Chris has designed for WGI regional finalists all around the nation, such as Chattahoochee High School and Crossroads Indoor Winter Guard, in addition to choreographing and drill writing for a multitude of other programs throughout the country.

Chris resides in West Columbia, TX on his farm with his partner, three dogs, and many other animals, including chickens, pigs, and rabbits. He spends his days nurturing life and wants to spread that message through the color guard activity.

Meagan has been involved in color guard since 2007. She first joined during her freshman year, where she attended Oak Ridge HS with the rest of the Ether Independent staff. During her senior year, Oak Ridge attended WGI after an undefeated season and placed first in Scholastic Open Finals.

After high school, Meagan marched with the Blue Knights Drum & Bugle Corps, helping her team achieve 9th place in Finals. Later, she earned a sabre spot while spinning for Cypress Independent Winter Guard. Meagan’s last performance was with Spirit Independent in 2016 where she was a main rifle.

Since high school, Meagan has worked with numerous guards, and in 2016, she started working her dream job as a director at Kingwood Park HS. She has been building this program from the ground up, and Kingwood Park has grown and evolved, continuously bringing home trophies each season.

She currently resides in Kingwood, TX with her boyfriend and 3 cats, spending every day thinking about color guard and what more she can do for the community. Helping to bring Ether to life, to provide more opportunities for performance, and creativity is just the beginning!

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Meagan Young

Secretary
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Ashley Spain-Butts

Treasurer

Ashley began her marching arts journey in the eighth grade through her high school winter guard program. She continued performing with the Oak Ridge High School color guard through her senior year, helping the team receive many awards and much recognition along the way.

After high school, Ashley continued her marching career with the Blue Knights Drum and Bugle Corps and Cypress Independent Winter Guard. In 2017, Ashley was selected for the honor of performing in the Super Bowl LI halftime show with Lady GaGa.

Since 2012, being so inspired by her previous instructors, Ashley began teaching and designing at several schools in the Dallas area. She is very excited to be a part of Ether Winter Guard and looks forward to creating and teaching exciting pageantry with her fellow directors.

Leah was raised in Spring, Texas and began her dancing career at the age of six while performing with North Harris Performing Arts of Spring, Texas from 1995-2004. Leah was on the competitive team and won many national titles during her time at NHPA in addition to learning to teach as an assistant in classes. 

Leah was introduced to color guard when she started at Oak Ridge High School in 2004. She was a part of both winter guard and marching season for all four years of her high school career. Leah was fortunate enough to experience her first WGI trip in 2007, as a junior in high school, and became a WGI Finalist with her team mates in 2007 and 2008. 

After graduation, Leah went on to march with the Blue Knights Drum and Bugle Corps in 2009, 2010, until aging out in 2011. She also marched with Code Black Independent Winter Guard in 2009, Cypress Independent Winter Guard in 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2019, Black Gold World Guard in 2020, and performed in the Super Bowl LI halftime show with Cypress Independent.

Leah was honored to return to the Blue Knights in 2012 as the color guard dance technician. She also worked as movement choreographer for Cypress Independent and the Phantom Regiment in 2018 and 2019. From 2018-2020 Leah was the director of an open class color guard in Spring, Texas at Klein Oak High School.

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Leah Brown

Choreography

After graduation, Leah went on to march with the Blue Knights Drum and Bugle Corps in 2009, 2010, until aging out in 2011. She also marched with Code Black Independent Winter Guard in 2009, Cypress Independent Winter Guard in 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2019, Black Gold World Guard in 2020, and performed in the Super Bowl LI halftime show with Cypress Independent.

Leah was honored to return to the Blue Knights in 2012 as the color guard dance technician. She also worked as movement choreographer for Cypress Independent and the Phantom Regiment in 2018 and 2019. From 2018-2020 Leah was the director of an open class color guard in Spring, Texas at Klein Oak High School.

During this time performing for drum corps and winter guards, Leah maintained a college career, graduating from Sam Houston State University in 2013 with a Bachelors of Fine Arts in Dance. Leah expanded her knowledge into different styles of dance when she began to work for Fred Astaire Dance Studios in 2013 as a ballroom dance professional. 

As a dancer, Leah is a national finalist in the Closed Smooth and Mixed Novice divisions and a regional champion of Texas in Open Smooth, Closed Smooth, Closed Rhythm, and Mixed Novice divisions. She also gained many Top Female Teacher awards at regional competitions and Runner Up Top Circuit Teacher for 2015 during her time at Fred Astaire. Currently, Leah is the manager and training director of the Fred Astaire Dance Studios in Lake Houston in Houston, Texas.

Fundraising

Ether Independent is organized for charitable and educational purposes and will soon qualify as an exempt organization under Article 1396-2.01 of the Texas Nonprofit Corporation Act and Section 501(c)(3) of the US Internal Revenue Code.

But we need your help to make this happen. Please consider donating to our Non-profit Registration Fund to help us cover the costs of filing for tax exempt status.

Spin Clinics

Spend the day learning tricks and twirls with the staff of Ether Independent. Classes available for dance, flag, rifle, and sabre! All skill levels welcome!

As part of our community outreach program, our winter guard clinics are open to anyone that is interested in a fun opportunity to learn new color guard technique and improve your existing skills. Our clinics also offer a first hand experience into the day-in-the-life of an Ether Independent winter guard team member.