Wednesday, June 20, 2018
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Finding niche in Color Guard

GHS flag corps steps out in style.

Brooke Piester has four new sisters.

Rebecca Miller likes the sparkle of the new uniforms of Gothenburg High School’s color guard.

“It’s hard to miss us,” Miller said.

That’s what two of the five young women, who started a flag corps at Gothenburg High School last February, like about the new organization.

The one-piece, glittery outfits—called unitards—arrived just in time for the Harvest Festival parade a couple of weeks ago. Shrugs are matching pieces that cover the arms and shoulders.

During the parade, the squad proudly marched behind the GHS band, twirling gold and black flags.

Color guard member Jessica Schmidt said she wanted to participate because her mother told her how cool the flag corps was in the 1950s in Gothenburg.

Sponsor and elementary teacher Kara Libich said GHS also had a flag corps in 1993 and 1994. She was part of the organization in 1994.

Interest in a flag corps started when Miller was in junior high band, under the direction of Bryan Bohn.

“I wanted to be in one after the class watched videos of bands performing during competition,” she said. “All of them had flag corps.”

After Libich spotted some of the girls holding flags and marching with the band in band jackets and black pants during last year’s Harvest Festival, she offered her help to band director Tom Belanger.

“He said he could use it because he didn’t know how they worked,” she said with a laugh.

The girls then performed during half-time of a boys basketball game last February and also at a pep band concert.

Try-outs for the color guard were last spring for students in grades nine through 12.

Libich said they are part of the band when it performs during marching season in the fall. During home football games, the Color Guard does routines at half-time on the track while the band plays in the stands.

“We’re part of the band on paper but work independently,” she said, noting that practices are usually twice weekly in the fall before school starts.

Band concessions paid for the poles and flags while team members paid for their uniforms and special marching shoes.

Several team members describe Color Guard as fun and “something to do.”

Schmidt said she doesn’t like the politics of sports so it’s another type of activity she can do.

One challenge, the girls said, includes staying in sync with each other.

Abby Cary said she thinks it’s easier to keep in sync with fewer people. Miller said she’d like to have more on the squad “to do more things.”

Not harming oneself is another challenge.

Schmidt said she’s tripped over the flag while Boehle said she fell on the flag and hurt her tailbone.

Several of the girls have hit other team members with their flags.

“There is usually one little song of ouches going on during practice,” Miller said. “I’ve hit my knees, head and neck.”

Libich confessed that she once whacked her eye with a flag which was minus the protective covering on each end.

“It cut my eyelid and an ambulance came and took me out of the school on a stretcher,” she explained. “I had to get stitches in my eyelid which swelled up so big I thought I was going to go blind.”

The girls said performing different motions with the poles and flags uses different muscles and that they develop a better sense of rhythmn.

What does it take to be in Color Guard?

“Show up for practice.” “Coordination.” “Being committed” and “If you mess up, you’ve got to keep going.”

Miller added that belonging to Color Guard makes her feel special.

Piester described the corps as a “sport of the arts.”

Libich said it’s nice for the girls to be part of something bigger than themselves.

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