By Allison Owen I think one could say I had a "formative color guard moment" this weekend. I came to the realization that I've had a slight fear of performing in front of people I know -- especially by myself. However, this feeling I overcame this fear Saturday evening. We had our first competition this weekend for winter guard. We moved up to open class, so the level of competition and performance was already greater than last year to begin with. Now this is my 10th season in the color guard and related marching arts activity, so it seems normal that I should be the one at ease and have no fear at all. However, I am most definitely not normal. This show is filled with many firsts for me, and it is unlike any before it.

Allison Owen
I have never had a solo, but somehow I ended up with one this season. It's quite an interesting experience, and I had been pretty apprehensive about doing something by myself in front of a huge crowd of people. But after this weekend I have realized that with practice and effort beforehand, doing something in a show is the same regardless of how many people are on the floor. Beyond all that, I've always had this slight fear of people I know watching me. If there is a crowd full of people I don't know, I feel better about going out to perform. But if I'm going to perform in front of a crowd full of my close friends and family, I would be extremely nervous. I'm not sure why I've always been that way, but it's really weird. First there was my old high school's guard and parents in addition to our own Central guard parents. Then my mom had a couple of friends who had kids in other guards. Taylor, my boyfriend, and his friend from Carolina Crown, Dusty, were also there. This was one of the first times Taylor really got to see me spin, so that was some added "pressure" of some sort. And of course there were all the guards that had gone on before us -- and that's a lot since we're in open class and at the end of the day now -- where I had random friends in a few different guards. All in all there were a lot of people in the gym and I knew a ton of them. So I was getting a little jittery and nervous before we went into the gym. Just like any other problem I've experienced with color guard or drum corps, something clicked inside me. The music started and I was just fine. It didn't matter that I saw a bunch of people I knew, I went out there and had a great show. My nerves were completely gone, even for my solo. I think something that helped to calm my nerves actually was having a solo. Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to sound "high and mighty" by any means, but that was something I had never experienced. It was pretty cool to have the crowd cheering just for me. From that point on I am now out there to do my best, regardless of who is watching. Another thing I have learned over the years is that the numbers cannot affect how I feel about the show. I felt great after coming off the floor and the audience seemed to absolutely love us, but the scores did not reflect as great of a show as anyone else thought. The scores did bother me for a little while, but now I say, "Oh well." I've always known that the numbers are out of my control, but I think I'm finally coming to really accept it. As the season progresses, I think it will help me mature as a color guard member; I can already feel myself improving. I had an amazing time being in front of people again -- despite who they are -- and felt great about my performance. No number can or will change how I feel about my show anymore. Allison Owen, 17, is a senior at Sullivan Central High School in Blountville, Tenn. She was assistant conductor at Southwind, and she enjoys dancing, performing, color guard, writing, English, and having fun. She plans on attending Western Carolina University next fall.. High Release archives