Katie Nolan gains confidence through color guard


Hanna Malco

Junior Katie Nolan who was originally “guilted” into auditioning for Buena High School’s color guard is now a third year member, and currently holds a place on the varsity team.


Junior Katie Nolan who was originally “guilted” into auditioning for Buena High School’s color guard is now a third year member, and currently holds a place on the varsity team.

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Junior Katie Nolan has found confidence, patience and skill through color guard. Credit: Grace Carey/The Foothill Dragon Press

Color guard helps visually interpret the music played by the marching band, whom they perform alongside with first semester in events such as football games.

Once second semester arrives, winter guard begins, and the team performs solo to pre-recorded music primarily in gyms.

The amount of exposure the team experiences has not only helped Nolan develop a stage presence, but also more confidence in herself.

“We have to perform a lot. At first I was really nervous and didn’t like drawing attention to myself, but I’m way more confident in that now,” she said.

Nolan got her foot in the door when her middle school held an introduction to color guard during her physical education class period, which served the purpose of introducing soon-to-be high schoolers to the sport in an effort to recruit new members.

Senior Maddi Barnard, fourth year team member, believes color guard is a passionate sport that allows personal expression through spinning and dancing.

“The audience can feel the energy out out during a show and make a connection with the performers allowing the audience to feel the same passion the performers are experiencing,” Barnard said.

One thing Nolan quickly discovered was the amount of patience this sport requires. They work with three different props: six-foot flags, metal sabers, and wooden rifles.

It is not uncommon to drop one while practicing but can hurt the team’s score in a competition, where they take on other schools mainly in the Los Angeles area.


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She worked with sabers last year, which Nolan deemed as her favorite, but is currently on flag and rifle. Just like any other sport, even color guard can be dangerous and requires precaution.

One prop used in color guard is metal sabers. Credit: Grace Carey/The Foothill Dragon Press

Marching band and color guard spends tremendous amounts of time together, especially due to their nine hour practices Monday through Friday for the duration of two weeks during summer band camp.

“Honestly I don’t really have a lot of friends outside of band and color guard,” Nolan said.

She admits it gets tiring after while, but believes you must have the endurance to deal with the sport’s entirety.

Earlier this academic year, marching band put on a show called “Shine” which had a theme of depression in memoriam of late Buena Marching Band member Zoë Colgrove.

“I think that was the most meaningful show I’ve done,” Nolan said as she reminisced on the event.

Zak Reiff, junior and plays snare in Buena’s drumline, knows the importance of color guard’s contribution to not only the music, but to the show in all.

“Color guard has always been a crucial part to any marching band performance. Their flag work and big tosses catch the viewer’s attention and draws them closer to watching,” Reiff said.

Background Photo Credit: Grace Carey/The Foothill Dragon Press

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