CHS Marching Band team displays lots of color, lots of hard work |

CHS Marching Band team displays lots of color, lots of hard work

by Maggie O'Neill
Rick Gunn/Nevada Appeal Chandra Tremayne, 16, practices flourishing a silk during the CHS Marching Band's Winter Guard practice in Senator Square Monday evening.

There’s more to color guard than silk flags spinning in the air.

Ask the students in the the Carson High School color guard.

“I don’t think anyone really knows that it is a lot of work,” said color guard captain Lara Rhynes. “It was a lot harder than I thought it would be. There’s a lot of stuff I didn’t know was involved.”

Like learning the basic moves of the flags, called silks; working with 3-pound rifles and 5-pound swords; and practicing dance and jazz moves – all for a 3- to 5-minute show.

Junior Katy Barlow said countless practices make the team’s jobs look easy, but there’s a lot to learn, from the basic drop-spin of the silks to the more complex blade toss of a sword.

“It’s really a lot of work that a lot of people don’t see,” she said.

Students earn a physical education credit for being in color guard.

Throughout the winter, the 14 students of the winter guard practice in Senator Square from 5-8 p.m. Monday and Wednesdays. They are working on a routine they will showcase in the spring during competition.

“The winter guard will keep working through January,” said color guard choreographer Chad Cornwell, who lives in Sparks and volunteers at the school.

“Beginning in March and April, really, they’re out nearly every weekend at competition.”

This is the second year the winter guard will compete against other Northern Nevada teams.

The team is known as the winter guard once travel and competition with the school band ends in the late fall.

With the help of coach Barbara McNeil, Cornwell is working on the spring show, which has the theme of identity.

“It’s based on the ‘Stepford Wives’ concept of being told how to be, how to act and being forced into an identity, instead of coming into an identity of their own,” Cornwell said.

At the beginning of the show, the team is dressed in the same dark color, representing conformity. By the end, they are wearing a variety of bold colors.

Rhynes recalled that last year’s show about a couple losing their farm to the bank moved people. She was surprised to see some wiping away tears.

“It made me fell pretty good because somehow we touched people through our show,” she said.

The team has grown in skill and complexity of moves over the past few years.

“The color guard never was what it is today, where it’s becoming more of a performance dance thing instead of kids waving flags around,” said Barlow’s mother, Judy Barlow.

Cornwell will likely continue working with the team, he said.

“It’s always a work in process, it’s just like a sport. There’s a physical training that has to go on. … We really train just like the basketball team and the baseball team.”

Cornwell believes Carson High’s color guard will advance further and further in competition, even to the big competition, Winter Guard International.

“I can see Carson attending that in about five to eight years,” he predicted.

Contact reporter Maggie O’Neill at mo’ or 881-1219.