Color Guard adjusts to virtual times


Michael Reeves

Swinging sabers and twirling flags each performance is just the basics for the Color Guard team. Color Guard students work to achieve the perfect routine, working with the band in the process.

Isabella del Nido

Swinging sabers and twirling flags each performance is just the basics for the Color Guard team. Color Guard students work to achieve the perfect routine, working with the band in the process.

But this year, things took a different turn as students were forced to learn to adapt to the shortcomings placed upon them by COVID-19.
Senior Hailey Vogt, captain of the Color Guard, oversees rehearsals and mentors students just getting into the program. Captains in the Color Guard also organize performance and work with band directors to execute plans for who’s performing what.

“At in-person rehearsals, I can hype people up when they start to lose motivation,” Vogt said. “On virtual practices we don’t get to interact with anyone directly, so it’s sadder.”

Finding a family in a sea of over 3,000 students can be a challenge. For Vogt, being on a team opens up doors and opportunities for meeting new people.

“Color Guard is an amazing sport with amazing people. I enjoy the closeness of the team, joining my freshman year was the best thing I could do to find my place at Bowie,” Vogt said.

Color Guard continues to push through, providing practices through Zoom. According to junior Liam Moore, the Zoom practice environment is highly improvised as the team is a very all-hands-on-deck sport. Color Guard is trained to use different tools that are incorporated into their routines.

“At practices we mainly work on three things: either your body, your flag, or your weapon for your body,” Moore said. “We just like to stretch and move around trying to get some choreography in and for your flag you would do tosses.”

When Color Guard is practicing, they have to deal with the uncertainty of Online learning. Some students’ Wi-Fi could cut-out when learning virtually. The in-person students still know what’s happening but it could be hard for the virtual people to catch up. Guard members spend most of their time practicing for performances, however with COVID-19 getting in the way, things are more complicated.
“We’re practicing the same amount of days minus one day, so our amount of practice days hasn’t changed too much,” Vogt said. “It was difficult to continue to operate with the same level of excellence because we lost so much time to the snow storm as well as COVID-19.”
According to Moore’s parents, the inconvenience of switching between in person and Online interrupts parent schedules. Color Guard schedules are prone to change due to how easy it is for practices to get canceled.

“It’s rewarding but time consuming,” Moore’s father Joe Moore said. “Prioritizing school work and practice times is a struggle and it’s hard to find a balance between school and Color Guard practice times.”

Students get on Zoom to learn routines for class but according to senior Kylie Rodriguez, but it can be difficult to understand what they are supposed to be teaching.

“It is very difficult since the Zoom camera mirrors us so when teaching something officers have to explain more about how to do the choreography opposed to what we are used to,” Rodriguez said.

Team members have shifted their focus onto just sharing the routines with students rather than teaching them, saving time but in the end choosing efficiency over the quality of their performances.

“Color Guard is mainly about just having fun and winning competitions,” Liam said. “Even if you don’t win you still had fun doing the show and being a part of the team.

Students work on perfecting their routines for competition, so learning drill and choreography with dance flags and sabers is high stakes.

“Sometimes we get to do some really fun stuff and other times we don’t but it’s kind of like a dice roll, we just don’t know what part we’re going to get into,” Liam said. “We might lose that portion of the dance and then get better or sometimes we might lose that part and nothing.”

Getting to that final moment allows the Color Guard to put all their energy into something positive. According to Vogt, she wouldn’t change a thing.

“I’m sad that I never got to go to world championships in-person because of COVID-19,” Vogt said. “But I’m glad the team gets to go soon, and I think that it will always be worth it.”