Color guard goes global for world competition in China

FLEXING+ON+THE+FIELD%3A+Sophomore+Emma+Taylor+shows+off+her+skills+during+a+Bowie+football+game.+Taylor+and+the+girls+are+planning+to+travel+to+Beijing+in+May+for+Winter+Guard+International.+
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Color guard goes global for world competition in China

FLEXING ON THE FIELD: Sophomore Emma Taylor shows off her skills during a Bowie football game. Taylor and the girls are planning to travel to Beijing in May for Winter Guard International.

FLEXING ON THE FIELD: Sophomore Emma Taylor shows off her skills during a Bowie football game. Taylor and the girls are planning to travel to Beijing in May for Winter Guard International.

Preston Rolls

FLEXING ON THE FIELD: Sophomore Emma Taylor shows off her skills during a Bowie football game. Taylor and the girls are planning to travel to Beijing in May for Winter Guard International.

Preston Rolls

Preston Rolls

FLEXING ON THE FIELD: Sophomore Emma Taylor shows off her skills during a Bowie football game. Taylor and the girls are planning to travel to Beijing in May for Winter Guard International.

By Avery Shelton, James Bowie High School

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Right around the time when students start preparing themselves for AP tests and spring finals, the color guard team is getting ready for a trip to Beijing, China to compete at Winter Guard International (WGI).

After receiving an invitation, the color guard team is set to be the first All-American team to attend WGI China and compete against other world-class ranked teams on May 18-19.

“We compete at the highest level against the best teams in the sport,” senior color guard member Maddie Feen said. “For reference, there’s only three other groups in Texas that have earned that classification [world class], so we compete against teams from all over the country.”

Since the team is traveling internationally, there have been obstacles while preparing for the trip.

“It’s definitely been difficult fundraising for the trip,” sophomore color guard member Mariah Barsotti said. “There are a lot of funds involved and since the guard doesn’t have much funding to begin with, we have to pay for most of the trip ourselves.”

The team hosted a fundraiser and a guard competition on campus to aid in costs, and received some funding from being a finalist in WGI Dayton last spring which helped cover their entrance fee.

“We are all very grateful for the opportunity to go to a different country, but it definitely has had financial and academic challenges,” Barsotti said.

The team had to plan ahead for the process of getting all of the team’s equipment to Beijing.

“Our director had to be very smart with what he chose to use for the show,” Feen said. “We still are spinning all of the equipment we always do; flag, rifle, and saber, but our props are these massive inflatable vinyl balloons, which can easily be deflated.”

Another challenge for the students in color guard will be getting back with only two days left of finals, and some will have to take tests in the summer unless the school works out an alternate test date.

“We’re all really stoked to be going to China and can’t wait for the experiences and culture we will encounter on the way,” Barsotti said. “I think a few bumps along the way won’t even compare to the memories we make.”

While plans are still being finalized with music travel consultants, the team is continuing to get ready for the trip, including taking etiquette classes and preparing for the Chinese culture.

DANCING WITH THE BAND: During the Varsity Football games, the color guard performs. Their hard work has payed off and they are headed to China.

“The details of the trip are always time-consuming, but it’s necessary, and will make the trip amazing,” color guard director Joseph Powell said.

The team plans on visiting many historical sites, such as the Great Wall of China.

“I’m most excited for the Great Wall of China because I get to see a beautiful landscape that I don’t get to experience in Texas, and the history behind it is really incredible,” sophomore color guard member Zoe Jordan said.

The expansion of WGI has resulted in a large and growing community for color guard teams.

“This experience will enrich the lives of our students at Bowie, and we are more than thrilled to represent WGI and the state of Texas,” Powell said.

Students on color guard recommend it to others due to its unique experiences and skills.

“Joining color guard was probably one of the best decisions I’ve ever made,” Barsotti said “It gave me an immediate family to turn to, connections across the school, and an amazing experience competing around the country and soon, the world.”

This story was originally published on The Lone Star Dispatch on April 17, 2019.