Solehi Color Guard Gains a New Field of View


Mrs. Marlo Spritzer

Field of View helped the members of the Southern Lehigh color guard improve their skills for the next season.

Bridgette Lang, Staff Reporter

Members of the Southern Lehigh Color Guard got a taste of world class winter guard at a clinic on March 18 and 19, when they spent several hours each day learning from the independent indoor color guard Field of View, in order to brush up on and improve their skills for the next season.

Field of View (FOV) is a registered Winter Guard International team. In an attempt to bring a local team to the West Chester area, FOV was formed by Todd Marcocci in 1989. One year later, they broke into finals at world championships and remained perennial world-class finalists through 1998. After a ten-year break from competition, Field of View was reformed as an open class team in 2009, under the direction of David Stillman, and was promoted to world class after winning the open class bronze medal at the Winter Guard International (WGI) World Championships in 2013. There is currently no age limit in world class, and the members of FOV are predominantly in their 20s, but range from 16-35.

Bringing both of the teams together was the effort of English teacher and coach Mrs. Marlo Spritzer. She is the director of Southern Lehigh’s color guard, and a long-time staff member with Field of View, where she serves as staff coordinator, equipment technician and member of the design team.  

“I’ve been doing color guard for a very long time, since I was in high school” Mrs. Spritzer said. “When I was in my early 20’s, I actually performed with Field of View. There was an age limit at that time, which was 22. After not being able to perform anymore, I wanted to give back what I got out of it, and became an instructor.”

Mrs. Spritzer became the coach for Southern Lehigh’s color guard in the summer of 2015, when band director Mr. Larry Fisher joined the Southern Lehigh faculty. Being an instructor for both color guards gave her the opportunity to bring them together, which she describes as her “two worlds colliding.”

When Field of View was looking for a local rehearsal space to coordinate with their competition at the WGI East regional championships at the Stabler Center, Mrs. Spritzer thought it would be the perfect opportunity to expose the Southern Lehigh students to an advanced level of color guard and expand their knowledge.

Building on the basics they already knew, the Southern Lehigh color guard members refined techniques and learned new moves by working with the Field of View members and staff at a familiar location.  Mrs. Spritzer paired her high school students with members of FOV who volunteered to help provide them with one-on-one feedback during the clinic. Working closely with one another under Mrs. Spritzer’s supervision allowed Field of View volunteers to address individual focus correction areas and help the Southern Lehigh students to improve their technique.

“One type of a new skill I learned with FOV was how to do the 45 toss, which was very difficult for me to do because I had never done that toss before,” junior color guard member Jessica Martin said.

Field of View has run numerous high school clinics in the past. At most of their workshops, they’ve worked on basic skills and helped to teach a portion of their routine to show high school students what they do at a normal practice. Many of the members also work as high school color guard instructors in addition to performing with Field of View.

“I’ve taught high school programs for about seven years now,” Field of View captain Brian Rosa said. “I also teach high school biology. Working with people younger than me is pretty much my career, so I’d say it is pretty natural at this point.”

Southern Lehigh students had the opportunity to learn Field of View’s warm up exercise, which is a combination of dance moves and stretches choreographed to a piece of music. The warm up is always used at the beginning of rehearsal and before performances to ensure that members do not injure themselves and feel ready to perform.

“It was a little intimidating at first to be working with older and more experienced people,” sophomore color guard member Alyssa Kovacs said. “Once I got used to it, all of the team was really helpful and sweet.”

Unlike many high school level sports, color guard can continue for many participants even after your formal K-12 education ends. High school color guard serves as a stepping stone to not only college marching bands, but independent A class, open class, and world class winter guards, as well as drum corps.

“The demand on my body and my mind is much higher [compared to high school guard], and every year I get to learn something that pushes me to increase my skill set,” Rosa said. “On top of that, I have to make sure I make it look effortless. World class is about mastery and performance.”

Many Southern Lehigh color members are inspired and striving to pursue color guard beyond marching band. Currently junior Celeste Tran and freshman Nicole Schaffer are already performing with small independent winter color guards in the Lehigh Valley.

This clinic helped the Spartan color guard experience what the future may have in store for them if they continue to work their hardest in high school guard.

“If I work hard enough and move up through different class indoor color guards, I would love to be a part of a world class [team],” freshman color guard member Nicole Karol said. “I love color guard with everything I have and would do anything to do it professionally.”

Mrs. Marlo Spritzer
Field of View captain Brian Rosa (center) teaches a warmup to freshman Patricia Baddoo (center).