Colors in the Wind
Color guard originated from the Civil War. When soldiers were on the battlefield during war, they would often be accompanied by a small band to keep a beat to walk to. Along with the band was a person who would carry the “colors” referring to the American flag.
Since then, color guard has evolved into a sport of performing arts, using flags, rifles and sabers. Guard members perform at parades and halftime shows at football games.
“Color guard is basically a sport for people who aren’t competitive or super athletic,” said sophomore Alexis Blackwell.
The Montoursville Area color guard is run by Mrs. Lisa Pentz. Many of the guard members say Pentz is like a second mom outside of practice, always there for them and going out of her way for them. During practice Pentz is serious and works until she is satisfied.
“Dealing with a bunch of kids has its challenges, but having the privilege to encourage them, and help them is very rewarding,” said Pentz. “And when I see their love for the activity, I feel like I have given back to those who invested in my life when I was young.”
The color guard members range from eighth grade to 12th grade and can be any gender. This past year was the first year that the guard has had an official male guard member.
To get ready for each season, the color guard attends band camp with the rest of the marching band. Band camp usually is the first two weeks of August and consists of learning, practicing and perfecting the routines for four songs. Along with the routines, the new marching band members learn the cadence and how to march, and the whole marching band learns a dance routine for one of the songs.
The color guard performs with the marching band during halftime at Friday night football games. For some members it is fun and effortless, but at times it can be stressful. “What if I mess up?” said senior Astacia Earnest.
The marching band also performs in parades, such as the homecoming parade and the Little League parade.
Each year the color guard and marching band goes to mass band. Mass band is where school marching bands from all over Lycoming County come to perform their Friday night shows, learn a collective routine together and then perform a few songs together.
This year the cheerleaders were able to perform with the color guard during the “mass band” part of the show.
“For just learning the routine two days before, for fifteen minutes, they did really really good,” said junior Kayla Markley.
“It’s a fun experience, bands from all over get to see your show, and you get to perform a show with a whole bunch of different bands,” said senior Rebecca Fortney.
Every year band director Mr. Adam Wright picks a theme for the show. This year’s theme is American Band. To end the show this year, the cheerleaders join the marching band on the field to unravel an American flag.