Waving a New Men-tality: Color guard allows male students to join for the first time



On the CHS color  guard page on the Carmel Bands website, there is a paragraph describing how color guard teaches teenage girls life skills such as time management and work ethic. It also mentions how hard the girls in color guard work. However, this year, for the first time in CHS history, the color guard will include two male students.

        Junior Josh Khantsis, one of the two males in color guard, said that he was fascinated by color guard when he first saw them at the performing arts convocation. After that, he saw many other performances by CHS’s color guard. He also saw color guard performances from other high schools and colleges.

    “I always wanted to be in a sport where I’m friends with a lot of the people and just kind of have that little group there,” Khantsis said. “I watched a ton of guard stuff on YouTube and I was like, ‘Wow, this is really cool. I don’t just want to watch this, I actually want to do this.’”

    Color guard director Rosie Queen said, via email, she always wanted about 10 to 15 guys to join, so, according to Khantsis, when he emailed her she told him that she wanted him to find other male students to join because she worried  that people would mainly look at the two guys during a performance.

Khantsis said, “I think that’s true, and Rosie Queen gave me a really good example earlier in the year. She was saying, ‘Let’s say everybody dyes their hair black for the show, and there’s one person that forgets and they have bleach-blonde hair. Who are you going to look at in the show? Obviously the person in the bleach-blonde hair.’” 

“You can easily tell in shows, especially when girls have their hair down, who’s a girl and who’s a guy. In drum corps and independent guards, which are guards past high school, there’s an equal ratio of guys and girls. If we were on the field, everybody would know that there’s a guy,” Khantsis said. “Since Carmel’s famous with guard and marching band, people would be like, ‘Oh my god, Carmel has a guy,’ and they’d only pay attention to the guy.”

Senior Jessica Baugher, who has been in guard for three years, said she was excited that there were guys joining color guard because she has always wanted to dance with a guy. She also said she’s proud of Khantsis and junior George Schrader for picking up color guard skills quickly.

e.Zhang.colorguardQueen said that the CHS color guard has always been open to having males in the color guard, and there are thousands of males in color guard across the country. Even though CHS didn’t have males up until this year, it is common in the nation for males to participate in color guard.

“Having males in the guard changes the dynamics of the types of shows we can do effectively, so this is something we will consider as the years go on and hopefully the male membership will grow.  It’s usually a lot of fun for boys in guard because there are lots of female fans out there that scream and cheer on those talented males like rock stars,” she said.

In CHS, all of the performers in color guard participate in Fall Guard with the marching band. Then in the winter, there are three levels of guard. The bottom level is the junior varsity guard composed of middle school students wanting guard exposure before high school. The middle guard is called the “A guard.” According to Khantsis, A Guard consists of the people who have potential, but need a little bit more push until they get to the world guard level. Lastly, the highest level of color guard is the world guard. Performers in world guard compete in the World Guard International (WGI) competition.

Since she started color guard, Baugher has been in world guard. Last year, performers in world guard went to WGI at the University of Dayton Arena in Dayton, Ohio, and they were named world champions.

“Really you can’t explain (winning) in words, to be honest. You just have to be there. My favorite memory of being in world guard was being able to have the experience of everybody cheering, raising up and crying with my sisters,” Baugher said.

“I have no idea how we’re going to beat what we did last year. Our instructor, Rosie, is an amazing woman that can come up with great ideas on the spot. I think we won because of our efforts, and because she knew who we are and what our weaknesses and our strengths were.”

Queen said she agrees about the experience of winning.

She said, “Our girls received a huge standing ovation when they finished their show …that was award enough for us.”

Queen also said this year Carmel’s color guard has the largest group they’ve ever had with 71 members. Additionally, the color guard will train frequently during the fall in order to reach the same caliber of competition with the world guard. Baugher said she is excited about what Queen will do for winter guard.

Baugher said, “I believe that Rosie knows that we do have all of that talent. I think that we’ll have such a great show this winter guard because of how different we all are. But I really don’t think it matters where we are and what place we get because all that matters is that we do our best run through and that we’re there for each other.”