The Color Guard is a non-musical section that provides additional visual aspects to the performance of the Marching Band. The guard uses choreography and equipment for added visual appeal during the marching band show. The Reagan Band and Reagan Guard also perform together during football games at halftime.
When in competition, the color guard score is typically based on movement, visual effect, fluidity of choreography with the music, coordination of all members, drill, and the use of equipment(e.g. flags, rifles, and sabers). During a competition the guard adds to the score of the band, but is also judged in its own category. Color guard has been considered to be both an athletic competition and an art. Due to its popularity, it has been suggested that color guard be included in the Olympics games.
Modern color guard is a combination of military drill, also called marching, and the use of flags, sabers, mock rifles and other equipment, as well as dance and other interpretive movement.
Traditional color guard first began during the English reign around the same time of the Civil War. A band would accompany the soldiers to play music to keep their spirits up and to keep them in beat. Along with the band, they also had a soldier holding a flag with their colors on it. This use continued into the civilian marching bands, and today, a marching band’s color guard will normally carry equipment descended from those of military color guard: flags, banners, mock rifles, or mock sabers. Color guards often choose costumes and props that coordinate with the theme of their show. Color guard membership can be very large, sometimes rivaling the number of musicians in the band. Color guards also accompany drum & bugle corps, independent marching musical units which train during the early spring and compete during the summer months. During the 1970s and 1980s, much of the impetus for the evolution of the modern color guard came from the arena of competitive drum & bugle corps, although winter guard, both independent and school-related, have claimed the cutting edge in recent years.
The color guard was evolved from a military activity. During wars the soldiers would like the band to come along on the battle field. The band wanted a person to hold the “colors” known as the American flag. Thus having the first member of the color guard. The color guard back then was responsible for holding the flags in different angles nothing fancy. It wasn’t til a lady named Peggy Twiggs change color guard history by just being bored. Peggy Twiggs also know as Peggy Spins begin to spin the flags when she was bored. The popularity of colorguard has grown such that winter guard has gained widespread membership and attention.
There are many different types of spins and tosses that can be done with the flag. Each spin or toss creates a different illusion and can be used for different tempos. Basic color guard moves include Jazz runs (a Jazz dance move used as a graceful way to run across the marching band field or the gym floor), “right shoulder” (positioning the flag with the bottom of the pole by your belly button and your right hand by the flag’s silk tape) and “stripping the flag” (holding the flag silk with your fingers so you won’t reveal the color(s) of the flag.) Flag poles and silks both come in different sizes, and there are different shapes and textures for silks, as well. Flags frequently have weights -generally 1 in. carriage bolts or the like- in the bottom and top of the pole to make it easier to toss the flag into the air. However, even with the weights, weather conditions such as wind and rain can affect a flag’s spin and disrupt a toss if not correctly taken into account.