by Hannah Corson
Those who participate in WGI spend countless hours practicing, traveling, and performing each season. Year after year, these young musicians work diligently to perfect every count of their show. Although it is the performers’ passion, effort, and commitment to the activity that leads to excellence, for some, it is the support of their parents that ensures success both on and off the floor.
The WGI season brings late nights, early mornings, busy weekdays, and even busier weekends for members and parents alike. Although the parents don’t have to rehearse for hours on end or worry about catching a flag or playing a drum, they want to do all they can to ensure that their performer is getting the most out of his or her experience. Sometimes that includes giving a pep talk after a less than stellar show or helping their son or daughter break through their wall during a tough rehearsal. These aren’t the easiest tasks, but sometimes what one needs to keep going is a pat on the back from mom and dad.
While being the parent of an ensemble member can be challenging, the rewards exceed the difficulties exponentially. Tom Armstrong has been a “guard dad” for six years, his daughter a member of Field of View. When asked about his favorite part of being a color guard parent he answered, “watching the kids grow as the season progresses, and watching them learn more and more and become more confident… more confident in their show and more confident in themselves.” Another Field of View parent, Greg Goss, said that his favorite part was mainly watching the performances, but also seeing the many life lessons that color guard has instilled in his daughter over the years.
These life lessons are what many color guard and percussion parents have grown to love about the activity. Time management, attention to detail, and teamwork are just a few of the many things that performers can learn throughout their WGI experience. Scott and Coleen Costar are third year percussion parents. Their son is a bell player for Rise Percussion of Denver, Colorado. They feel that his time spent in WGI has helped to shape his future endeavors as well as his work ethic. Scott shared, “He’s going to college to be a music education major, so quite honestly indoor percussion and marching band have had a lot to do with that choice. Succeeding as a team, failing as a team, succeeding as an individual. You have to do your best and trust others to do their best. It’s taught him a lot.”
Although it is the performers’ blood, sweat, and tears that lead to the victories of the season, it is the support of the parents that allows each member to put forth his or her best effort. Through the ups and downs parents are behind their sons and daughters every step of the way to watch how they grow both as performers and as young adults. WGI parents truly are the biggest fans.
About the Author: Hannah Corson is a marketing student at the University of Mississippi. Prior to moving to Oxford, to attend college, Hannah lived in Madison, MS where she began her color guard journey with the Madison Central High School Marching Band in 2009. Through the band program, she was able to compete with the school’s Sapphire Winter Guard for three seasons. After high school, Hannah participated in DCI with the Music City Drum and Bugle Corps and more recently with the Bluecoats. Her 2015 winter season was spent as a charter member of Conversion Independent Winter Guard. Following graduation, Hannah hopes to pursue a career in social media marketing and continue to participate in WGI.