The Physical Representation of Music at North Penn

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Photos submitted by Madison Cullen and edited into collage by Julia Nardone

With their breathtaking performances, the color guard team proves to be one of the most underrated sports at North Penn.

TOWAMENCIN — Swirling bursts of color, the precise movements that incite only a moment of anxiety in the audience before the flag renters the hands of the skilled color guard, who is already onto their next heart dropping trick. Alongside the music, it’s like watching the sounds themselves flow through the air.

That’s what color guard is; the physical representation of music.

North Penn’s color guard has recently been allowed to practice for the 2020-2021 school year. Normally, they would start practicing around mid-November, but they have only started practicing in mid-January due to the district’s Covid restrictions. 

Color guard is a sport made up of intricate dance, flag spinning, and rifle spins brought together with either a chosen music track or synchronized with a marching band depending on the season.

The color guard team practices every Monday and Wednesday from 6:30 to 9:00 pm and  Saturday from 8:00 am to 12:00 pm, occasionally with the North Penn Marching Knights in the fall and spring.

Senior and co-captain of the team Madison Cullen expressed her happiness to be back practicing with her teammates but noted how things are much more different than how they used to be.

“This year we only have nine performers which is a lot smaller than usual,” Cullen admitted, then comparing her past experiences to now. “When I was a freshman, we had 18 performers.”

The members on the team include both senior captains Madison Cullen and Cameron Joyce, sophomore Katy Hinderliter, and freshmen Jaelynn Aponte, Sami Blanchard, Bridget Hanley, Katie Mooney, Caden Shelley, and Melia Overton. 

But even with their smaller team this year, the color guards are practicing just as hard. They are currently preparing their indoor routine which they will perform to a recorded track unlike their performances alongside the Marching Knights where the music is live.

For their winter performances this year, one of the biggest hardships the color guards will face is that everything is entirely virtual. Because of their slow start, the color guard will begin virtually competing in early March. 

“We would normally travel to other schools where there would be a fairly large audience,” Cullen reflected. “But because of Covid, there isn’t an audience and not even our parents can be there.”

The color guards would have the opportunities to show off their skills to a wide audience of students, families, and other performers. Now, it will be just them and a camera.

“I just miss the rush that you get when you’re down on that floor mat and just giving everything you got into the performance,” senior and other co-captain Cameron Joyce reminisced on what it was like to perform in front of a live audience. 

While Covid has made everything more difficult this year with social distancing protocols and safety concerns among extracurriculars, there are some after school activities that are favored over others when it comes to school-wide acknowledgment.

It’s the closest thing you can get to a family besides your own family.”

— Cameron Joyce - Senior Co-Captain

This year, and years in the past, color guard has received little to no recognition for their performances, unlike many of North Penn’s other sports which are promoted and covered heavily, even in this Covid era.

“We would love to see the school recognize us more for our achievements,” Cullen expressed. “We send in information for the announcements but never usually hear anything.”

Although Covid has set the color guard back in terms of practice time, they are as excited to be together as ever. 

“Everyone is so friendly and excited to see each other and no matter what happens on the floor, you always have people that congratulate you on all the hard work you have done,” Joyce said with warm regards for his teammates. “It’s the closest thing you can get to a family besides your own family.”