Twirling into in-person practices

After nearly two years of being restricted from in-person performances, Diamond Bar High School’s color guard is twirling their way into a new parade and Winterguard season amid their return to campus.

Senior captain Stephanie Ramirez said she is happy to be back, since it’s much easier to help the newcomers in-person rather than digitally. With video platforms like Zoom, many students experienced lag, which made it hard to tell if someone wasn’t performing properly because they didn’t have the routines down.  

“Obviously, in person is so much better because the point of color guard is to see how many people can move together simultaneously, and over [virtual learning] you can’t really see that,” Ramirez said. “It’s a lot easier to help people [in-person] and it’s more fun because you can bond with the people, have little side conversations.”

Although newcomers last year had only experienced guard through a screen, Ramirez said they’re all catching up much more nicely than expected. However, as the team transitions into in-person learning, captains and coaches have had to move at a much slower pace, especially during this summer’s band camp.

“As soon as they came to the first day of band camp, we had to reteach fight song, we’d go over fight song every single day [to] make sure they got it down,” Ramirez said. “That’s our audition piece and usually people would have it down after auditions, but since this was all virtual it was like, ‘Okay, we don’t know if they have it yet.’” 

Whereas Ramirez experienced a full year of-in person color guard before the 2020 season was cancelled , junior Kylee Sanchez only spent a portion of the guard season in-person during her freshman year. Despite this, she said she’s excited to teach newcomers for the first time and to have the opportunity to interact more closely with other guard members.  

“It’s so cool being able to feel everyone’s energy during performances and just talking to [teammates] during water breaks or before and after practice,” Sanchez said via Instagram.

Unlike the two upperclassmen, sophomore Julian Medina has only ever experienced color guard through a screen.  Although he said that training at home was a more comfortable experience, he much prefers being in-person since it means he can show the routines he’s learned to an actual audience.

“This year, I get to apply the practices and times spent to perfect my routine into something I can present and be proud of,” Medina said via Instagram. “Having the experience of spinning with a group of people who serve as your second family is memories I’m looking forward to having.”

As members work together to have a successful guard season, coach Rob Jett is looking forward to training the guard for their parade season in November. Some of the main performative aspects the guard is focusing on is their costumes and flags, deciding on whether or not to design their own masks as a part of their costumes. 

“In November, if everything keeps going well, we have our parade championship over at Arcadia—[we’re] really looking forward to that since we’re the six time defending champion,” Jett said. “We’re really excited to hopefully get to perform again on a national stage and take the name Diamond Bar across the country.”