“When faced with adversities, we either grumble or seek to dodge them. Yet the champion wages battle and conquers them.”—Author Unknown
Unfortunately, trouble spots exist. They come in countless forms, each as individual and diverse as the many performers in a guard. They can range from an awkward transition through the horn line to the mastering of a lengthy equipment/movement phrase to the demand of traveling 15 yards in eight counts. If you are facing a trouble spot in your show, you are not alone. Here is the battle plan.
Get Help Early
First things first, nip it in the bud. As performers, we pretty much know if something is going to be a challenge for us. After giving it your very best effort, get help! The longer you allow a trouble spot to exist, the farther along you are at creating bad habits and dodging the inevitable.
Ask the Veterans
Depending on what your trouble spot is, seek help from a veteran member. What may be one person’s strength is another’s nemesis. Look to the people who have mastered your particular challenge and ask for their advice. You would be surprised how helpful their insight may be. You may possibly want to arrange time outside of rehearsal to conquer your particular issue. In this way, your needs won’t take away from total guard work during rehearsals.
Tell the Instructors
If it is a design-oriented situation— for instance, you just can’t make it though the horn line without sacrificing the quality of your equipment work or performance—be vocal. Tell your instructor or band director. Don’t assume that they see it in rehearsal; their focus is the big picture, and they may not see your trouble spots right away. Also, don’t let it get to the point that it happens in a performance.
Staff members have been around long enough, and they know the tricks of the trade that can get you through that horn line without sacrificing a single second of performance. You would be surprised how a little tweaking here and there can completely conquer the dreaded trouble spot.
About the Author
Chris Casteel has been involved in the color guard activity since 1981 as a performer and an instructor. She has a master’s degree in education. She has instructed several medaling guards for the Winter Guard Association of Southern California (WGASC). Currently, Chris is an adjudicator for the Southern California School Band and Orchestra Association and the WGASC as well as a guest adjudicator for many other circuits. She also holds the position of education coordinator for the WGASC.