Color guard to make debut with LHS marching band
When Lansing High School's marching band takes the field this fall, fans in the stands are sure to notice something different from past years: the return of the color guard.
Not since the late 1980s has the band had anything resembling a color guard.
"We had some old flags, so I know we did it at one time," said LHS band director Luke Johnson. "But I also know we hadn't done it for a real long time."
Johnson said the reincarnation of the color guard occurred for several reasons: Lansing was one of the few - if not the only - Kansas Class 4A or 5A high school band without one.
It was suggested at marching competitions that the band needed one, and several band members expressed a high degree of interest in participating.
The girls who are on the 12-member color guard tried out during band camp in early August and were tutored by Debbie Woodall, a band instructor in the Lawrence school district.
"She came for three days during band camp and taught us our choreography and fundamentals and all that kind of stuff," said Bethany Jiminez, an LHS junior and member of the color guard.
In her freshman and sophomore years, Jiminez played the clarinet in marching band, but she said she was drawn to try out for the color guard this year.
"It just seemed like something fun to do; something more flashy, dancey and : just fun," she said.
For freshman Jennifer Smisek, being on the color guard this year is akin to being a trailblazer of sorts.
"I thought it would be fun to be with the first people to do it, to kind of pave the path for everybody else. Then they can be like, 'Ooh that looks cool. I want to do it,'" she said.
Jiminez said learning the special routines and practicing with the flags had shown her that while the color guard may share the field with a marching band, it's not the same.
"It's a lot different than band. It's a lot different than band," Jiminez said. "It takes a lot more coordination."
In addition, Jiminez said there was something that might not occur to the casual onlooker during a halftime or pregame show.
"If you're in the band and you miss a note, nobody really notices it," she said. "But if you mess up with a big, huge flag, everybody's like, 'Oops. She messed up.'"
Marlene Reese Graefe, an LHS alumnus, said the band had in the 1960s what were referred to as "Letter Girls" as a pseudo color guard. The girls wore sweaters that together spelled out L-A-N-S-I-N-G. She said that for a time in the late 1980s, when her children were in the band, there was a flag unit.