To most people, flipping a flag seems like easy business, but add jazz running from the 40 yard line to the other 40 yard line in eight counts, staying on the right foot, dodging trombone slides, clarinet bells, and tubas while doing two complete butterflies or even a toss, only a select few can manage it. Those select few are known as the guard.
At Salem High School, the color guard consists of seven girls: two seniors, Becca Rodgers and Emiko Willison, two sophomores, Heather Nale and Natalie Boling, two freshmen, Katherine LaHue and Mykala Amos, and one seventh grader, Airelle Jenkins.
All but Airelle are returning guard girls, so this year’s marching show involves more dance and harder moves. “The guard is tossing bigger tosses that they couldn’t have dreamed of tossing last year,” said guard instructor, Richard Trueblood. Mr. Trueblood is the art teacher at Salem Middle School and is in charge of design for the Marching Lions. Trueblood has been involved with guard for years. “Guard is the visual part of the band. A horn player can get away with not playing every note for the first couple contests, but when a guard member stops people wonder if she’s hurt or if something’s wrong,” said Trueblood, “Guard helps the audience and judges see the sound.”
Trueblood has worked with color guards since 1970. He worked with Salem first, then worked with Tell City for a while. He has also worked with Eastern in the past.
“Everyone has improved tremendously from last year and I care about all the girls. I can’t say who improved the most because I have seen every girl get better,” Trueblood said.
Trueblood also works with the Salem winter guard. The winter guard was started in the early 1980’s but didn’t compete. “We just performed for ourselves,” Trueblood said. “We didn’t start competing in winter guard until Mrs. Harmon came to Salem, around 1988.” Bonnie Harmon is the Salem band director and the marching band director.
The Salem guards are always known for their extravagant outfits, both in color guard and in winter guard. The 2010 marching show is entitled “Rome” and the guard is wearing outfits from a past winter guard show. “We like to reuse outfits to save money,” said Trueblood, “but we always add something special to change it up.”
“The outfits are really pretty and very original,” said Becca Rodgers.
Last year’s winter guard outfits were very futuristic for their show, called “Time.” “We wanted to channel Lady GaGa,” Trueblood said, “We love her style.”
The guard is a very close family. Alumni like Lynndi Lockenour, Patrick Regan, and Catelyn Bierly take time to come home to Salem to work with the guard. Lockenour, a 2003 graduate, was involved in color guard and winter guard. She currently lives in Wentzville, Missouri, near St. Louis. Regan, a 2010 graduate, was involved in winter guard for two years. He’s marching trombone this year in the University of Louisville’s marching band, but hopes to do color guard next year. Bierly also graduated in 2010 and was in winter guard for five years. Both are attending colleges away from Salem but still find time to come back and work with the underclassmen and share their wisdom.
By: Heather Nale, Staff Writer