What is Color Guard?


Megan Hayes, Staff Writer

Have you ever been to a marching band performance and wonder who the people spinning the flags were called? Gather some popcorn because you’re gonna be here for a while.

Color guard is something that primarily originated from the military. During the Civil War, when soldiers went into battle, a Color Guard would hoist up a flag in front of a band. If you’ve been to any football or baseball games, you’ve probably seen people from the military who carry flags or a rifle walk across the field. That’s the military color guard.

Everybody has a knowledge of the military color guard and are very familiar with what they do. But does everybody know about a marching bands’ color guard and how they contribute to the band? Let me give you a simple explanation. Color guard is meant to be the visual of the band. It is meant to show the emotion and feeling through choreography, and the spinning of flags, rifles, and sabres.

“We are the image of the band,” says Olivia Tindall, a senior at GCHS. “Color guard is both physically and mentally challenging because you have to have physical endurance for the show, and the choreography to execute exactly every detail to be the most precise and elaborate for our performance.”

There are also plenty of interesting, fun facts about color guard. Did you know that there’s something called Winter Guard? It’s a competitive color guard that competes throughout the winter with other color guard. It shows the art of color guard alone, and what we’re all about. It is meant to represent and portray the feeling and tone of music.  We accomplish this through dance and choreography with flags, rifles, and sabres.

By now you might be wondering, “How can I join color guard?” Well, this year, auditions were held early in January. The first two days include learning the basics of how to spin a flag, and how to incorporate dance. When you go into auditions, you’ll have what we call “vets” there to help you. Vets are members of the team that have had at least a year of experience with color guard prior to the day of auditions. Not only are you taught the basics, but you’re taught a routine using all of the basics of color guard that you’ve learned during auditions. The third day is the actual audition day when you perform this routine in front of our school’s band director, and color guard coaches. Don’t worry though, you won’t have to do it alone. You’ll be separated with a group to perform with.

Color guard isn’t just all about spinning flags and dancing. Have you seen your local marching band’s color guard? Surely you’ve noticed they don’t dress like the rest of the band. You’ll see that the color guard is dressed in a more exotic uniform that fits the theme of the marching show. The same concept even goes for their makeup. They also do their makeup according to the theme of the show. No matter what the theme, there will almost always be glitter involved in some way, shape, or form. You’d be able to find glitter in places you never thought glitter could be found.

Color guard is a form of art that not very many people are fully aware of. We are here to simply portray the emotion of music, and tell a story through our bodies, all while spinning flags and rifles. If you or anyone else you know may have questions about our local color guard, simply go up to someone who has had experience with it. They’ll be sure to let you in on all the things you need to know about color guard and what it’s like to experience to go through competitions, and the long yet fun bus rides home.