Monday, March 16, 2009

March Moments 2009: March 16 - My First Time, Chapter 4

March 16 - My First Time, Chapter 4
by JoAnne Parente

Let's jump to the first time the Saints Guard competed down Wildwood at Legions - I think it was September 1970.

Summer guard was very different than winter guard that season - while we were still performing the Manual of Arms on the floor, we had already made the leap to taped music by then. In a reversal of fortunes, Legion rules called for a posting of colors, with cadence provided by up to three drummers.

For a couple of weeks before the contest, I had a recurring dream that our flag poles wouldn't fit in the stantions. My fear multiplied when Ralph Fair told us we'd be using the Colleens' stantions instead of our own during the show.

I shared my concerns with Ralph and Tony more than once those last couple of weeks before heading down to Maxwell Field (truth be told, I probably made them crazy over it), and even asked a couple (or a hundred) times if they measured everything.

Then, it happened.

Instead of our normal, small-profile plastic endcaps, nice-white-brand-new cane tips with a broader diameter were placed on the bottom of our poles after our last pre-show rehearsal - all the better to help us get through inspection.

The flags didn't start falling until the forward march after posting colors. As we headed away from the stantions (a mandatory move), every flag dropped except the National Colors. Terry Gyorfy held the American flag erect and balanced on the top of the stantion as she took her two steps away from and back to the posting line.

Given the hefty penalties (lack of posting as well as dropped equipment), we withdrew from the competition after leaving the field.

I still carry the lessons learned with me, over three decades later.

Interested in submitting your own favorite memories for March Moments? Click here to submit, or if that doesn't work, send them to joparente DOT saintsdrumcorps AT gmail DOT com.

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