By Allison Owen
Let me start off by telling you a few things about myself. Right now my favorite color is purple (although my favorite changes often) – and one of my favorite movies is "Moulin Rouge." Well, in the movie, one of my favorite songs is called, "The Show Must Go On," which -- I think at least for me -- can be inspirational for marching a show. It's inspirational because I know that the show must go one, despite mistakes. You can't just stop in the middle and restart your show – no matter how badly you may want to. All this past week, I had gotten in a lot of practice in preparation for our show Friday night, and other things to prepare for auditions in November. Anyone who has marched in or seen a marching band or drum corps show knows that one of the greatest parts of color guard is the changing of equipment to fit the music. But for the performers, if you don't set your equipment right you don't have that piece of equipment for the show – unless in the rare occasion you're really, really lucky. Not having your equipment can be an embarrassing experience because you either don't get to march that song -- and stay on the sidelines – or you have to "airflag" -- do the work without equipment. So, needless to say, on Friday night I made sure all of my equipment was set properly and I even put some purple tape on my poles so I could easily determine which one was mine when we went in for an equipment change. During our first and second movements I saw a member or two without flags, and I felt bad for them. See, last year in a finals performance at a competition this girl took MY flag almost right out of my hands, so I had to "airflag" our entire second movement. So I knew what it was like to march without flags. But let's face it folks, I can't set everyone's flags right for them. Other than the few members not having flags, our show was going quite well. Much to my dismay though, as we came in for our final equipment change, I came to the grim realization that my flag was missing. Someone who got to the flags before me had already taken my flag. At first I thought I had set my flag wrong, but then I remembered that earlier on in the show I had seen my flag in its proper set. I was in shock because there wasn't an extra flag that I could take instead. If we all set our flags right, then it doesn't matter whose flag you get, but someone hadn't set theirs right – so they took mine, leaving me without one. My band director yelled and told me to get out there on the field anyway. I didn't really know what to do, but I did know that the show must go on -- I couldn't go searching for my flag now. Now for the rest of this to be understood, I must explain something: Our flags for the closing are orange and red, and our flags for the second song are in the same design as our closer flag, but with different shades of purple and silver as the colors. Having said that, let me continue on with Friday night. My mind was racing and I only had eight counts left to get out to my set and then start the flag work. So I grabbed a purple flag -- well aware of how different it would look -- and got out there in time and to the right set. I went on with the show like I didn't have a different flag, and finished the show with no major mistakes -- other than having a completely different-colored flag. After the show, which was followed by many laughs by the guard, one girl (a freshman) came up to me and she sheepishly handed me my flag -- with its purple-taped pole – admitting that she had taken it because her flag wasn't there. She apologized, and I told her I wasn't mad -- we all make mistakes. Sure it was a little embarrassing fore me because it looked like I had the wrong flag, but it was fun to be different for once, and we all got a good laugh out of it. Believe it or not, I was actually told by several people that they thought I was supposed to have a purple flag while the rest of the guard had orange. This is because in our closer drill almost all of my sets are in the middle of the guard. So maybe the audience didn't think twice about my different-colored flag. Perhaps it was my very own "solo," with my favorite color as my solo flag. Whatever the crowd thought it was, my guard director was proud of me for thinking clearly in such a "stressful" situation and grabbing a similar flag, while not letting it mess me up in the flag work. Overall it was a pretty funny experience, and we all learned the importance of setting our flags properly, and not taking other people's flags. But the most important thing we learned is that the show must go on. Allison Owen is a sophomore at Science Hill High School in Johnson City, Tenn., who plans to audition for a corps in November. "I'm in the SHHS guard and I like writing, dancing, performing, traveling, photography and having fun. As for after high school/college, I don't know what I want to do ... I just know I would like to do something dealing with color guard, computers or writing," Owen said.