Sign up for a high school summer camp and… spin alongside a world class drum corps?
That’s exactly what the color guard MFA campers got to experience! On Friday of the Summer Symposium, the color guard track spent the morning working with the members of The Cavaliers Drum & Bugle Corps color guard. A bright sun, clear skies and open grassy field awaited the campers as they prepared for what would be, for a lot of them, one of the most exciting moments thus far in their color guard careers.
The Cavaliers session was broken into two blocks, with the first part of the morning focusing on movement and the second on equipment. At each block’s beginning, the students sat and watched The Cavaliers staff give a demonstration, taking the color guard through exercises and choreography. The campers got to see a snapshot of the technique exercises that the Cavaliers do every day, such as dance basics, across-the-floor dance exercises, flag drop spins and Peggy spins, a flag backhand exercise, and a spins-and-stops exercise on rifle.
This was a great experience for our color guard students. First, they learned that even the biggest, best and most well-known groups still do the same simple, basic exercises that their high school groups do (such as flag drop spins)—and that mastering these “building blocks” skills and learning to control their bodies and their equipment is so very important. On the other hand, seeing the more advanced exercises (such as the spins-and-stops exercise, which incorporated various dance and body movements simultaneously with rifle spins, tosses and catches) gave the students a picture of how their craft can be taken to the next level.
After watching the demonstrations, students broke into small groups and spread out across the Quad to work up-close and personal with The Cavaliers guard. After learning a new exercise, they would come back and everyone—the MFA students with The Cavaliers—would do the exercise together as a group.
The most exciting part of the morning, however, was when the campers actually got to learn some choreography from The Cavaliers’ show. Students picked up either a flag or a rifle and broke into small groups once again. A good chunk of the session was spent with the group spread out on the Quad learning this work before everyone came together once more to perform the choreography as an ensemble.
This session for our color guard campers was exciting, challenging, a lot of fun and certainly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. The Cavaliers color guard, made up of members who have all worked hard to become the well-trained and talented performers that they are, serve as great inspiration for our students, many of whom are still very new to the color guard activity. The young campers still have a lot of growing and learning to do, but this session certainly marks a monumental day in their color guard careers.
A BIG thank you to the Cavaliers guard for sharing their time with us at Music for All and for helping to create a positively life-changing experience for our campers!
Carolyn Tobin is the Marketing Intern at Music for All. Drawn to all that is digital media, she was an award-recipient of the NMU Tube Student Video Contest and was named the Outstanding Graduating Senior in the Communications and Performance Studies Department at Northern Michigan University. She is a devout runner, and has also enjoyed blogging about her adventures living in Spain and Argentina. Carolyn is a music, dance and color guard enthusiast, the former color guard section leader of Legends Drum & Bugle Corps from Kalamazoo, and she has served on the guard staff for Legends and for Marian University in Indianapolis.