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Inside NFA’s Color Guard

Kemmy Jeune, Staff Writer

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Rifle. Saber. Flag. Drop spins. Tosses. These terms may seem random and disconnected from one another.

But for the NFA color guard athletes, they are not only connected; they are routine.

The color guard uses props, along with movement, to express dynamic passages in the marching band’s music.  They add visual beauty to a competitive show, which is a combination of sport and art. Students are challenged physically and mentally to achieve amazing feats of choreography in the context of a live performance.

Director of Instrumental Music, Kristen Motola, has years of experience with the color guard. “This is my fourth year working at NFA with the color guard, and my seventh year working with Color Guard total, while I oversee the class and the marching band”

Senior color guard member, Jada Mercado, says “My favorite part of performing is showcasing to an audience what I can do.  And I’ve found that I also love being able to tell the audience how much I love the sport through my performance.”

Senior Katelynn Hyde has been on color guard since her sophomore year.  “I always make sure my hair and make up is perfect first, and then I make sure I have my gloves, and equipment; and I always mentally run myself through my show.”

The color guard gives students an opportunity to  showcase their hard work.  The team performs at many events such as Celebrate NFA day and in local parades.  It attends seven days of marching band camp, a three-day overnight retreat, a Block Island parade on July 4, a midsummer rehearsal, Open House, football games, and competitions with bands from around New England every Saturday in the fall.

Though the common perception of color guard is that these students “toss flags,” in reality, they work out as often as other sports team members.

“We work out about three hours [per day].  There is a lot of running, upper arm workouts; it is really tiring. People just do not know all the things that happen behind the scenes; it is intense,” Mercado explains.

Captain Quinn Sinay, who has earned her varsity letter in color guard, is frustrated that color guard is not recognized as an official NFA sport.

“It’s awful.  I mean, we rehearse three times per week from 5-8pm.  We have these workouts that we do everyday, and we are constantly coming up with new and exiting routines. We take people in who have had no experience and turn them great in less than a semester. How many sports teams can do that?” says Sinay.

“Most people don’t know how intricate it is. Like how there is a specific way to do everything, and how many different things you have to be doing at once, and just basically everything that actually goes into doing color guard,” Hyde adds.

The color guard is a unique part of NFA.

Motola says, “The best part is that every single member is equally important. It’s not like a team where one superstar can hold the entire team up. We rely on each and every member to be successful. [Being a member of the color guard] is truly a life-changing experience”

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