Colorguard has been a huge part of who I am since I was in high school. When I found out I got into James Madison University (JMU), I was over-the-moon excited! Their marching band program is HUGE and they are often invited to perform in many events around the country and the world: including most recently, the Macy’s Day Parade during my freshman year at JMU, and Rome during my sophomore year.

I went to my audition for the JMU Marching Royal Dukes Colorguard on a hot summer day in July. I was scared out of my mind. Sure, Colorguard has always been a fun outlet of expression and musical experience for me, but now I was suddenly going to be judged on my ability to do it. I tried my best to put this thought in the back of my mind as I began the audition day.

When I got to auditions there were at least 80 people there! We were all placed in a giant block that we would stay in for the rest of the day. As we moved quickly into the audition, we first did aerobics and stretching before moving into the dance portion of the audition. However, once we moved to flag routine after lunch, I was really struggling to retain all of the movements, as well as achieve the tosses. I found myself asking my neighbor for help more times that I could count. I felt bad for continuing to annoy her with my endless questions but she never lost patience with me. She was so kind and upbeat; later, I found out she was the president of For the Love Of Colorguard and was one of the reasons why I decided to join!

When it came time to perform our routines, I forgot nearly all that I had learned. However, I kept moving—even if it meant turning around at the wrong time. I kept a smile on my face as I performed and tried to remember why I loved colorguard so much.

I was convinced I hadn’t gotten in, so when I get that email several weeks later, congratulating me, I couldn’t believe it! Whenever you’re at an audition just remember why you love colorguard-no matter how hard it may get sometimes. Colorguard, like other forms of art, is a way of expression and of life, so never forget why you love to do what you do best!

Written by Kara Levchenko