A Week in the Life of a Color Guard Member
It is announced during halftime at every home football game, “And now, please welcome...the pride of the Keystone State...The Moravian College Marching Band!” The Moravian Marching Band practices for hours every week and performs at football games and parades. I have been a part of the Color Guard for my marching band in high school and as a member of the Moravian College Color Guard, I have had nothing but the best time performing with this incredible band! I have enjoyed working with Dr. Hess, the band director for the Marching Band, and Ciara Hurley and Miles Molerio, the Color Guard instructors. To showcase the hard work that is put into the marching band, I thought I would share my experience practicing our “Classic Rock” marching show for one week before our big performance at the Collegiate Marching Band Festival!
Sunday, September 23, 2018: Practice
One week before Collegiate, the Moravian Color Guard met up on South Campus for three hours to learn show work for the fifth, and final, song of our show. The Color Guard split up into sections of flags and weapons, which are the two pieces of equipment that we use in the show. I went with the weapon line, grabbed a wooden rifle, and warmed up my hands with basic drop spins and tosses. Once we were warmed up, the weapon line went off to learn the rifle work for the fifth song of our show! Miles Molerio, the student weapon line instructor, went over the sets of counts that made up the song and we followed along with the motions. After we went through a complete set of counts we rehearsed the same set a couple of times and add on to the work that we previously learned. After learning all of the routine for the fifth song, we made a video of the weapon line work to review for later practices.
Tuesday, September 25, 2018: Practice
The Color Guard, along with the entire marching band, has Tuesday and Thursday practices that are typically from 4-6 pm. During our Tuesday practice, there was a chance of rain, so the Color Guard was in Foy. At the start of practice, we spent most of our time reviewing and adjusting counts for the work we learned on Sunday. Once the flags and weapons finished cleaning and reviewing the work we did a full run-through with the show music a couple of times. After spending a good portion of our rehearsal reviewing the work, Ciara and Miles decided to have us practice the routines for the previous four songs. We went over each song in show order and once we were finished, they gave us praises and criticisms for certain areas of each song. After practice was over, they went over details for Thursday’s practice and we were dismissed.
Wednesday, September 26, 2018: Heritage Day
On Wednesday, September 26th, Moravian College celebrated its 3rd annual Heritage Day. I arrived with the entire band at 7:50 am outside of Johnston Hall to prepare for our performance. As people started arriving, we played songs from our field show and some popular stand tunes including Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin,” Bon Jovi’s “Livin on a Prayer,” “Hey Baby,” and “Land of A Thousand Dances” (A favorite of the MCMB). We performed until about 8:30 and the band was dismissed to partake in Heritage Day. After the Heritage Day festivities, we performed with our flags and rifles outside of Johnston Hall at 1:45 pm. Finally, the marching band concluded our performance with a couple more stand tunes until the last of the students came out of Johnston. Afterward, the marching band joined the Moravian College community for the annual Heritage Day picture.
Thursday, September 27, 2018: Practice
On Thursday, the entire marching band had practice on Betty Prince Field, the field commonly used for field hockey games. The Color Guard joined the band and we did a full run through of the first four songs of our show. We finished each song and Dr. Hess gave us feedback on strong and weak points of our performance. Afterwards, we ran the entire fifth song so that the Color Guard could get used to the drill for the show. We applied our show work to the drill and worked out how we were going to move around the band and where we would be placed. After we understood our movements for the routine, we ran through and refined the entire fifth song until the end of rehearsal.
Saturday, September 29, 2018: Football Game
The Color Guard and Marching Band began practicing at Rocco Calvo Field at 10 am for the football game. At the start of practice, the entire band practiced marching onto the field and did a run-through of the entire show. Once we finished doing a full run through, we went over each individual song and focused on areas of difficulty and adjusted the overall forms. We were dismissed at 11 o'clock and we were permitted to get food at the college, or wait for pizza provided by Dr. Hess at 12:30 pm.
We went into the stands for the kick-off at 1 o'clock. During the first quarter, the band played some stand tunes and the Color Guard danced to each of the songs. At the start of the second quarter, the Color Guard went down to the track with our equipment and we began running the show work for each individual song. Once the second quarter was over, we lined up with the band and we performed the first 3 songs of our show. We marched off the field and had off for the 3rd quarter. Finally, we made our way back up to the stands for the final quarter and the band played more stand tunes to hype up the audience for Moravian’s win against Susquehanna.
Sunday, September 30, 2018: Collegiate Marching Band Festival
The big day had finally arrived: The Collegiate Marching Band Festival! This festival is very important to the MCMB because it allows us a chance to recruit upcoming college freshman for the band program. Some Color Guard members, including myself, chose to do our makeup and hair and change into our costumes in the HILL 5th floor lounge. After we were finished getting ready, we walked to the front of the HILL to load our equipment into the truck. Finally, we boarded the busses and were off to Collegiate!
We arrived at the J. Birney Crum stadium and unloaded the instruments and equipment from the truck. The Color Guard warmed up with the band and we reviewed the show work for each of the songs as the band played behind us. Finally, Dr. Hess gave the entire band a final pep talk before our performance and we made our way to the stadium.
We arrived at the field for our performance at 1 pm and began to march onto the field. The audience cheered as we came onto the field and the announcer stated that our performance theme was “Classic Rock” and that we would be performing songs from Ozzy Osbourne, Journey, Guns n Roses, and Bon Jovi. We heard the audience cheer at many climactic moments throughout our performance and after we were done, we heard an immense applause from the audience as we marched off the field. Once we loaded all of the equipment and instruments into the truck and changed out of our uniforms, we were free to stay at the event until the end or leave early.
After our performance, I met up with my parents and they expressed how much they loved the show. I also saw two of my friends from my high school marching band and I made my way to where they were sitting. We gave each other hugs and both of them said that they loved our show and were amazed by our sound for being a small band. We were able to catch up with each other as we watched all the other bands and we relived our memories from high school, from watching other college bands, to where we are now.
Marching Band has provided me with tremendous opportunities and I have gained many friendships throughout this activity. It was a big part of my high school career and I wanted to continue the passion that I had in high school into college. I have made so many friends from being part of this activity and it has not only taught me new Color Guard techniques, but it has taught me morals that I will remember for everyday life. Marching band is a great activity to get students out of their comfort zone and I encourage all students to join the marching band if they are interested!