Waving their flags for the new season

Flags held high, Diamond Bar High School’s color guard has kicked off their Winter Guard season with their new show: The Twist and The Curve.

This year’s theme, chosen by head coach Robert Jett, was inspired by the roller coaster of emotions that come with falling in love.

“I love this year’s theme, it’s super different from the past shows Diamond Bar has done. The music is very lyrical and R&B while our other shows were very intense and fast-moving,” senior captain Stephanie Ramirez said.

Moving into the second semester, the guard switches from its typical performances alongside DBHS’ marching band to participating in independent competitions across the state.

“Some challenging things switching from parade season is [that] you have to be on time every single step of the way,” Ramirez said. “But with winter guard, it’s more about the performance aspect. You need to look like you’re enjoying yourself.”

While the guard has traditionally gone against opponents of the same skill level, this season has them performing with two other high schools in the Open Class A division: Ayala High School and El Dorado High School. Previously, both high schools were in the World Class division—the highest class a color guard team can achieve, with Open Class A being the second highest. The introduction of these new competitors has ignited new anxieties among the team members.

“I hope that we do well considering that [AHS and EDHS] are in our class,” senior captain Michelle Slack said. “For Diamond Bar standards, we’re going to do really well. We have a lot of good dancers so that will help a lot. It’s about the emotion you convey with your show.”

Posing as another threat to the group is the inclusion of a mask mandate for this year’s season. When judging choreography, the color guard is judged on their facial expressions. Due to this, team members have expressed their worries over receiving a full score in this category.

“COVID has just impacted the team’s ability to perform bigger since we can’t see the bottom half of their face. It’s hard to tell expressions just with your eyes,” Ramirez said.

An additional barrier the guard faces is a lack of experience. Like most extracurriculars on campus, distance learning presented many restrictions to the team’s practices, causing many members to fall behind in comparison to the skill development in a traditional school year. 

“It’s a little bit difficult this year since there are fewer shows because of COVID,” Slack said. “I think it’s hard to stay motivated because there are fewer shows to look forward to. On the other hand, there are fewer shows, so we have to make those the best ones.”

Despite the drawbacks, the team is excited to begin their season with a regional competition in Bakersfield on Feb. 26.