Junior color guard performs 2018 show “Nintendo All-Stars”


Mackenzie Smith

The LHS Junior Colorguard warms up as a group.

by Mackenzie Smith, Guest Reporter

Everyone knows the cheerleaders, the ones with the flips and catchy chants. But, do you see the people with flags and weapons that dance around the band during halftime? That is the color guard. They also do indoor competitions during late winter and spring. Many of these talented people have gone through practice during middle school. This is the Linganore Junior color guard, the group of middle school students who compete in their own division and prepare students for the high school guard.

The 2018 Linganore Junior color guard show is Nintendo All Stars. The show brings to life their favorite Nintendo video games including Mario, The Legend of Zelda and Pokemon. This show has almost everything in it including dance, swing flag, saber, and flag. Many of what the guard uses during this show relates to the video game of that section. There are yellow question blocks during Mario, bows and sabers during Zelda, and even Pokeballs during Pokemon. This show has fast paced work with hands that never stop moving. It is truly a very unique show.

The LHS color guard is a group made up of 13 members from New Market and Windsor Knolls Middle Schools. It contains an even distribution of 6th, 7th and 8th graders. They practice and perform every Monday, Wednesday and Saturday at Linganore High School in the auditorium, cafeteria or gym.

They have recently performed at Waynesboro, Susquehannock and Governor Thomas Johnson. They compete regularly at Mechanicsburg, North Hagerstown, and Chambersburg. The Mechanicsburg competition also contains the solo/ ensemble competition, where performers can create their own routines and show off their skills. The Chambersburg competition, better known as championships, is where all guards in the area will compete against each other in their separate divisions. These competitions are frequented by most guards, including the Linganore Junior guard, every year.

The Linganore Junior color guard originally began in 2002.  The guard started off as a small organization of about eight people. In recent years, the guard has grown to consist of about fourteen members. Many members find a passion in color guard and go on to do it in high school. Many times they don’t have the space to do outdoor guard in their first couple of years, but most join the indoor guard in either the gold or white division. Almost all of the eighth graders who do the junior guard go on to join the high school guard.

“I do color guard because it helps me feel like a part of something bigger than me. I know that sounds cheesy, but we are so in sync and happy when we do it. Even when it’s hard, it’s fun. I wouldn’t want do anything else.” -Chasie Thompson

The junior guard is a good experience for students who plan on doing color guard in high school. It also provides students with skills needed to work with others and by themselves. It combines performing and exercise into a fun and exciting sport. With choreographed warm ups as well as a fast- paced and exciting show, the color guard is never a boring place to be.

The Linganore Junior guard is run by Kathryn Dusell and Mariah Purtee along with the help of high school tech, Sophie Kirschner. Kathryn has been teaching the junior guard for 12 years. Outside of Linganore, she also teaches color guard at Seneca Valley and is a marketing advisor for C- Unit Dance Studio. Every year she has led the Linganore Junior guard, she has choreographed her own work.

However, eight years ago, Purtee began working with her to teach the guard and choreograph work. Mariah started off as a high school tech for Kathryn before becoming a co-instructor. She mostly teaches and writes work for dance and weapon. She currently attends college and works as a bartender and student for physical therapy outside,

Kirschner has been a tech to Dusell and Purtee for three years and has written the swing flag work for this year’s show. While Kirschner tends to be the comic relief of most practices, she is also very firm and works hard to make sure the students understand everything. However, she will be leaving next year for college. The instructors are unpaid and do this only to see the students succeed. 

Most of the time, the junior guard and the high school guards do not perform together. The junior guard performs with the outdoor guard on 8th grade night which was on November 3rd in 2017. They march down with the guard and perform a short 16 count routine. During competitions, the guards watch and support each other from the stands. The guards sometimes help each other clean up after performing and they stand when the other performs. All three guards join together to form a family of sorts.

Competitions can be very fun experiences. After about a two hour warm-up at Linganore, the guard eats, does their hair, and packs into cars on their way to competitions. After arriving, they do makeup and change into uniforms. When the time comes, the guard warms up with body for seven minutes, and them warms up with equipment for seven minutes.

When it’s time to perform, the mat is unfolded, usually with the help of the senior white guard, and everything is set up. Then, it’s showtime. After a thrilling performance, everything is packed up again and the show is over. The members then have a chance to eat and socialize.  They return to the  gym to watch the other guards and support our white and gold guard. Once everyone has performed, two representatives go onto the gym floor to accept awards.

“Color guard is a way to express yourself freely. Taking something small and turning it into something great. I love being a part of a team and going through these experiences with people I love,” said Faith Hammerle.