There are many different aspects to marching band that most people are not familiar with. Color guard has been a part of most marching band performances for decades, but many people do not know what it is. This lesser-known section of many marching bands provides an opportunity for creatives who cannot play an instrument to support the marching band.

What Is Color Guard?

Color guard is a section of the marching band that doesn’t play music. Instead, they enhance performances with visual elements. The color guard performs choreographed dance routines set to the music played by the band. Sometimes they use props such as rifles, sabers, and different kinds of flags.

Who Can Join the Color Guard?

Anyone can join a color guard if they are passionate about music and dance. Many color guard members start off as trained dancers. Depending on the size of the band and the color guard, there can be dozens of members interpreting the music with visual elements.

All members of the color guard need to have excellent hand-eye coordination. Many color guard routines consist of tossing flags and spinning props in the air. Props are weighted and easily affected by weather conditions such as wind or rain, so color guard members need to be very precise to catch their props and stick to a synchronized routine.

How Does Color Guard Compete?

Most color guards perform along a marching band to add a visual element during a performance. The color guard is particularly important during marching band competitions. A color guard’s performance improves the overall score of the band.

Many color guards perform independently during something called Winter Guard. Winter Guards are indoor competitions that take place during a marching band’s off-season, in winter or spring. The color guard performs their routines to a recording instead of with a live band. There is even an organization called Winter Guard International that organizes these competitions.

Color guards liven up marching band performances and add a unique cohort to the band. They can participate in tense competitions or just enjoy dancing in the fresh air.