Color guard welcomes a powerhouse freshman class


Courtesy / GV LMB Colorguard Facebook

Mary Racette, Associate Editor

The transition from high school to college can be intimidating as many start with a blank slate and have to make new friends. For the eight freshmen in this year’s Laker Marching Band Color Guard, a second family welcomed them with open arms when they began practice in the summer.

“Color guard is just a family and we are there for each other and we help each other out as needed,” said Grand Valley State University freshman Anthony Gilchrist.

Each year, the color guard holds competitive two-day auditions. Having the ability to quickly memorize drills is a focal point of the auditions. Students are required to show that they are capable and quick learners. 

“All the freshmen really wanted to make new friends,” said GVSU freshman Jenna Martin. “There were eight freshmen this year so all of us got really close because we all had this thing in common that we could talk about.”

Usually, there is an additional tier to the auditions on the second day, but this year all eight freshmen were considered to be good enough and they were all accepted into the program without conducting the final part of the audition.

The freshmen found out about color guard in different ways.

Gilchrist has been doing color guard since high school. His hometown is not too far from GVSU so he was very intrigued by GVSU’s color guard program. In 2019 he attended a band day at GVSU and that is when he knew this was what he wanted to do. 

Martin has been apart color guard for five years and held leadership positions with her high school program. There was a summer Zoom call with all of the Michigan Universities’ color guard programs which helped her make her college decision.

“GVSU’s color guard instructor just seemed like she was really nice and fun so that kind of pulled me towards here,” Martin said.  

The color guard holds practice almost every day for about two hours in the evening. Their practices vary based on how spread apart game days are. Students are required to memorize the drills beforehand so that they can practice them all together.

Gilchrist and Martin said they have been able to balance school and color guard well. Since practices are usually only two hours, they have time to study and work on school work. Gilchrist said he makes sure to get studying done during the day between classes when they have late practices.

The freshmen said they are most looking forward to continuing color guard throughout their college experience and building strong friendships with one another.

“All of the upperclassmen that are in color guard are super caring and they want to make sure you are understanding the work and they want to help with social problems as well as things in color guard specifically,” Martin said.

The color guard wants it to be known that what they do is not as easy as it may look. Martin said one of the most difficult parts about color guard is all of the memorizing they are required to do. She said it also takes a lot of practice to know how to do the moves and not hit yourself with the flag in the process. 

“It’s very fun but there’s is a lot of hard work that we make look easy for you guys,” Martin said.