Color guard carries visuals of magical show

Photos by Brittney Lohmiller/The Herald
Southridge color guard senior Kimberly Martin and the marching band perform their show, "The Old Castle" during halftime of the Raiders' home game against Heritage Hills on Sept. 29.


HUNTINGBURG — Watching the Southridge High School Marching Raider Band’s imaginative 2018 performance, it’s hard not to get swept into the magical world the roughly 50-member band creates.

Called “The Old Castle,” performers in the group act as the walls of a figurative stronghold at the beginning of the routine — a structure complete with a larger-than-life throne prop that rests in its center as music swells and the crowd is invited inside for a party.

The six-member, all-girl color guard plays an integral role in the show — maneuvering as gargoyles with wing flags and transforming into princesses as the castle opens up and the celebration ensues.

Senior color guard member Kimberly Martin said she’s heard comments that the choreography the guard executes isn’t that difficult. Her message: You’re living in a fantasy if you think you could walk out there and do what they do without training.

“Some people ... you hear, ‘Wow, you can toss a flag,’” Martin said. “You don’t know how long it took to toss this flag correctly. Sure, anybody can toss it, but can you catch it? Can you do all these tricks underneath it?”

She later added: “Most people don’t realize how much work goes into just tossing a flag or even spinning it.”

Southridge will perform at the Indiana State School Music Association Open Class Invitational contest at Jerry Brewer Alumni Stadium in Jasper on Saturday. The Marching Raider Band is scheduled to take the field at 4:12 p.m. in Open Class D.

The color guard has met since March to practice the skills they need for this season’s 8-minute show.

Band Director Lannie Butler said the guard’s performance factors into the band’s visual and effect scores at the ISSMA contest and help brings the music to life. He said the current color guard has come a long way over the years. All but one of the members are seniors.

“To be in the guard, you have to want to perform,” he said. “And it’s a challenge. It is an extra skill, it is extra time, and you are in the spotlight, so to speak.”

While the mistakes made by musicians on the field might not be easy to spot by the untrained eye, it’s not hard to tell when members of the guard drop a twirling flag or flub a dance move.

But Butler said the kids in the section thrive off that pressure, allowing them to take on a more aggressive routine and carry the visual strength of the show.

Color Guard Director Brandon Drew is a former member of the Southridge guard. He’s been the section’s leader since 2011, and said he sees color guard as an avenue high schoolers can use to learn what it’s like to perform on a big stage.

“They’re really strong,” Drew said of this year’s Southridge guard. “They surprise me a lot. They’ve grown since I’ve seen them as freshmen, and now they’re really just blossoming and becoming those performers that I love to see. They finally just let loose of everything and they just give it their all at each performance.”

Martin said being a part of marching band and other school clubs helped to break her out of her shell. Second-year drum major Brianna Stasel had a similar experience and said her time as the student leader of the band has led to a newfound confidence. When she looks back on this season, Stasel, who is a junior, said she’ll remember all the new bonds she made with her bandmates.

“I think a lot of people really see band as a place where they can go and finally be themselves,” Stasel said. “They don’t have to worry about what other people think about them because — sorry if this offends anybody — but we’re all the weird kids. We’re band kids. We all love each other and I think that really matters because a lot of people don’t have that kind of thing outside of band, and it’s really nice to see other people supporting those people and building them up.”

Last year, the Marching Raiders placed seventh out of 10 bands in Open Class D at the ISSMA State Finals. The band placed 10th in the class in 2016.

Local bands to compete in Jasper

Marching bands from across Dubois County will perform and compete tomorrow at the Indiana State School Music Association Scholastic Class Prelims and Open Class Invitational at Jerry Brewer Alumni Stadium in Jasper.

The Northeast Dubois Marching Jeeps will compete in Scholastic Class B at 12:18 p.m., with a trip to the Scholastic Class Finals on the line. If the Marching Jeeps earn a gold rating or better at the competition, they’ll move on to the finals competition at Lawrence Central High School in Indianapolis on Saturday, Oct. 20.

So, how does that scoring work, exactly?

The short version: Each band is rated on a 100-point scale by six judges. Those judges assess the show’s visuals, the music the band members play, and the visual and musical effects created in the performance. The music and music effect categories are weighted more than the others.

All other bands will compete in an Open Invitational contest Saturday in Jasper that does not impact their pursuit of state titles. The Jasper Marching Wildcats will perform in Open Class B at 6:35 p.m.; the Southridge Marching Raider Band will perform at 4:12 p.m. in Open Class D; and the Forest Park Marching Rangers will perform in Open Class D at 5:56 p.m.

The three Open Class bands will compete in regional competitions on Saturday, Oct. 13.

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