Color guard flies into a new season

Claire Geare, staff writer

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This year, the marching band has a brand new Color Guard. The team offers visual appeal to the band through flag spinning, and is headed by a former international competitor.
“It’s hard for the band to do what they do—which is playing and marching and staying in sync and being visually appealing and catching the crowd’s eye,’” said Cheyenne Yerkes, co-captain of the Color Guard team.
Color Guard teams add to the marching band using dance and a flag spinning routine. The group accompanies the band, marching a similar routine only with a more theatrical twist.
“They still have to do pretty much everything the band does, like march in time and learn movements,” said Yerkes.
The idea of a Color Guard has been intertwined with Marching Band for a long time, and is part of what differentiates marching band and concert band. It is even implemented in military ceremonies.
“It’s something that’s been part of the marching band tradition for a very long time,” said Kevin Brady, the marching band director.
The criteria for judging marching band competitions is generally split into five categories: music performance, visual performance, general effect, percussion, and auxiliary. A majority of these categories revolve around the existence of a color guard, and without one it is impossible to receive these scores.
“All marching bands have visual scores, and so it adds a visual component to the marching band that the wind players and percussionists themselves can’t provide,” said Brady.
Kristy Jones, Color Guard coach and former Drum Corps International competitor, even regards the Color Guard as essential.
“The way the scoring is set up for Marching Band, it’s really difficult to be competitive unless you’re fielding an auxiliary. It’s just too intertwined in the general effects score,” said Jones.
This year, the theme for the Marching Band performances is Avatar, the 2009 film. The Color Guard uses costume and equipment design to enhance this theme.
“We have blue flags, our uniforms are blue, and our hair and makeup is supposed to be in like tribal and Avatar type style,” said Emma Dean, co-captain.
Color Guard is a small organization as of this year, but for members, the appeal lies in how Color Guard can diversify student’s activities and aid in the college application process.
“It was a great way to not only get my action for CAS [Career, Action, Service, – part of the IB program,] but I’ve also become closer with the people in it and it’s given me a great sense of responsibility,” said Yerkes.
The addition of a Color Guard not only creates visual interest for the band, but provides a diversifying activity for students uninterested in sports already offered.

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