A color guard is a group that provides a visual representation of music that often performs with a marching band. Some common types of color guard equipment include flags, batons, rifles, and swords. Matching uniforms or costumes are also often worn by a color guard.
Color guard first began as a way for countries to display their national flags, or colors. Today, a color guard helps add movement and pizzazz to a musical number, typically performed by a marching band or drum corps. These groups can often be seen on game fields during halftime shows at sporting events. Most high schools and colleges have a color guard.
Flag spinning is a popular routine performed by the color guard, and flags are often considered necessary types of color guard equipment. Often made from silk or polyester, the flags are attached to poles, and they can come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors. They are twirled, tossed, and spun, usually to the rhythm of the music.
Flags are usually attached to another type of color guide equipment, flag poles, with either tape or Velcro®. Swing flags are small flags attached to short poles, and these usually come in pairs, so members of the group can hold one flag in each hand. Larger flags may be up to 9 feet (2.7 meters) long, attached to poles up to six feet (1.8 meters) tall. Color guard flags are also usually very colorful. During a patriotic display, for instance, they may be made up of the national colors.
Batons are another type of color guard equipment. These are basically long poles that members of a color guard can toss and twirl. A baton is typically about the same length of the user's arm, on average. Streamers and ribbons may also be attached to the ends of some batons.
Since the color guard has military origins, it is also not uncommon to see rifles and swords in a color guard presentation. These types of color guard equipment are replicas, often made from plastic. It typically takes more skill to toss these types of color guard equipment, so more experienced members of a color guard are usually given this position.
Uniforms and costumes are another type of color guard equipment. These usually match, and they lend a sense of unity to the group. They should also be made from a flexible fabric, like spandex, to allow for a wide range of movement. Color guard uniforms usually match, and they also correspond with the music that is being played.