Guard concludes season without missing a beat

After placing first at Area, seniors reflect on time with program

Freshman+Audrey+Eberly+performs+at+the+guards+first+show+at+the+TCGC+Championships.+The+guard+members+had+to+adapt+by+counting+paces+aloud+when+the+audio+suddenly+cut+out+mid-performance.

Freshman Audrey Eberly performs at the guard’s first show at the TCGC Championships. The guard members had to adapt by counting paces aloud when the audio suddenly cut out mid-performance.

The audio stops. The crowd freezes.

Halfway through its performance at the Texas Color Guard Circuit Championships, technical difficulties interrupt the music and the McCallum Color Guard has to improvise. Without missing a beat, members of the guard begin counting aloud the steps of their choreography despite the lack of backtrack; the crowd cheers in encouragement.

Thankfully, the guard’s efforts paid off. Many hours of practice and two performances later, the guard was awarded first place at the Area West Texas Color Guard Circuit Championships.
“They just blew me away this year with how much they improved and how hard they worked,” Rudy said. “Kudos to them. They definitely earned that win.”

Prior to championships, the winter guard maintained a steady upward trajectory in its TCGC competition season scores; fifth place at Hendrickson High School with a score of 61.8, second place at Georgetown High School with a score of 71.95 and first place at Ann Richards School YWL with a score of 74.82.

“I think, for me, it was less about our scores and more so that we came off the field so many times feeling like we had done really well,” senior co-captain Grace Van Gorder said. “We could have placed 14th at Championships, and I still would have been happy with our performance.”

For guard members, the winter season holds a new set of opportunities that the fall marching season lacks.

“In marching band, we are more so just part of the whole show; we are just the visual aspect,” senior co-captain Natalie Nagy said. “In winter guard, we are the stars of the show. We are the only people on the tarp, and we have music, but that is just backup for what we are doing.”

At winter guard competitions, there are a total of five judges, each focused on a specific aspect of the performance: an equipment judge, a movement judge, two general effect judges and a design analysis judge.

“There is something so special about performing for people who actually know what they are watching as opposed to just performing for your parents who are like, ‘Oh, pretty flags,’” Van Gorder said. “It’s just helpful to know what you need to work on and everyone can kind of reflect individually.”

Despite a successful season, the guard endured its fair share of difficulties. For one, a major lack of members placed McCallum as an extremely small, if not—at some points—the smallest, group at the competitions. COVID-19 setbacks early in the year forced them to drop out of their first competition, and one of their 11 competitive members was unable to compete throughout the full season. The guard hopes to solve these problems for next year by encouraging people to join their class.

Auditions to join the color guard next year took place on April 13-14 and April 20-21 in the cafeteria. Current members emphasized they weren’t looking for prior experience at auditions, simply a willingness to learn.

In marching band, we are more so just part of the whole show; in winter guard, we are the stars of the show. ”

— senior Natalie Nagy

“It is more of an audition where you get to meet people and get a flag in your hand, not so much an audition where if you can’t throw a triple we are kicking you out,” Van Gorder said.

For guard members, it’s not just about flying flags. Van Gorder says that color guard helped prepare her for her future.

“I would say that, as cheesy as it sounds, even if I don’t continue with color guard through college, I will take what I learned with me,” Van Gorder said. “Always be early, work hard. I think I have learned and grown a lot in my two years as a leader, and I know that is going to be important in my career and in college.”

Saying goodbye is never easy, but Nagy said she take with her forever what the guard has achieved this season.

“We had a season that we are proud of,” Nagy said. “We are excited about what is to come, whether we are graduating or continuing next year.”

Senior Jax Williams at the TCGC Championships. Photo by Morgan Eye.