In August of 1982, a small group of band directors and other classroom teachers met at Brownsburg High School to form the Indiana High School Color Guard Association. For the previous few years, various high schools had sponsored winter color guard shows giving students an opportunity to continue the development of performance skills after the marching band season concluded. Each year more high schools participated. Most felt a structure for the contests, with one judging system and one universal set of rules was necessary. So, with this in mind, the group formed IHSCGA. The first contest season began in February of 1983, with 28 high schools as members. Six contests and a state championship were held that year.
Originally, there were two classes: Class A for experienced guards and Class AA for less experienced members. This was later changed to Novice, A, and Open. Through the years the names of the classes and the methods of classification have changed to better meet the needs of IHSCGA members. The current system classifies units according to five levels of ability, Cadet Class (Judged on an IHSCGA Cadet Class scoresheet), Divisional Regional A and Regional A (Judged on the WGI Regional A scoresheet) , A (Judged on the WGI Scholastic A scoresheet), Open Class (Judged on the WGI Scholastic Open scoresheet) and World Class (Judged on the WGI Scholastic World scoresheet)
In the early days, some color guards featured live music and were accompanied by a small instrumental ensemble. Up to 30 musicians were allowed, with a band judge hired to give scores and rankings to each group. The band trophy was as hotly contested as the first place guard trophy! In those days band directors often did double duty as color guard and band director, so joining the two was very popular.
Through the years much has remained the same in color guard. There are minor rule changes each year, but basically color guard operates much the same way it did thirty five years ago. We no longer have live bands, and we have begun to stretch the bounds in set design, floor coverings, etc., but the basic premise of the color guard show is still education through performance.
Indiana is unique in being the only color guard association that limits its members to high schools. It was begun by educators, and has remained fundamentally rooted in education through its history. Through IHSGCA, thousands of young people have been given a chance to perfect and perform various color guard skills.
In 1986, IHSCGA instituted a $1,000 college scholarship. This has been expanded over the years to give multiple scholarships during each season. Since 1986, over $145,000.00 in total scholarships have been awarded to students of the IHSCGA. Clearly this organization remains committed to high school students and seeks to reward efforts both in color guard and in the classroom.
None of the original founders envisioned the scope and effect color guard would have in Indiana. Today more than 168 groups participate in the 9 week competition season that includes 13 regular season contests and multiple state events for each class. Each fall, a convention for directors and students is held. At the Winter Guard International World Championships in Dayton, Ohio, Indiana has always had guards in the scholastic finals competition, underscoring the quality of color guards Indiana high schools produce.
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