Indoor guard members recall 25 years of good times

PAT FRIDGEN, Echo Pilot
Juliet Seidel looked at photographs of indoor guard over the past 25 years. She participated in the percussion ensemble. All of her siblings, Emily, Colleen, Allison and Isaac, were involved in the indoor groups at G-AHS.

At least 50 alumni of the Greencastle-Antrim High School Indoor Guard found their way back to the school on Saturday. A 25-year reunion was held during the annual Indoor Show hosted at the school.

During the evening program intermission, past members gathered for a reception. They posed for group photos, and met in the drivers ed room to look at old photos, performance videos and memorabilia. Guard members who moved on to post-secondary education and careers reminisced with their old friends.

Diana Catron, Class of 2006, now of Martinsburg, W. Va., smiled as she remembered her guard days. "I loved all of it. It was a really good time. I made so many friends. It was wonderful."

Classmate May Wachs heard about the reunion while at a nail salon. Most of the invitations went out through social media.

"Guard was a new way to make friends and memories."

She found herself on several of the videos.

A number of people from the earliest days attended. Jennifer Hahn, Class of 1991, made sure she was part of the Rescue Hose Company ambulance squad stationed at the high school for the show.

"I love covering it every year because I was in it."

Sisters Becky Johnson Rippeon, Class of 1991, and Carrie Johnson Tressler, Class of 1994, examined the paraphernalia from their past.

"It was everything in high school," said Rippeon. "All my best memories are of indoor guard and band."

Tressler remembered tight friendships and that the group was successful in its competitions.

"We were really good. We had pride in that. It was fun doing well in Greencastle," she said.

G-AHS band instructor Sam Forney has been with the color guard since Day One. He has seen approximately 325 students pass through the program, either in guard or percussion.

Many of the returnees found him at the reunion.

"I didn't recognize some of them until they told me their name," he said. "It was fun remembering back to when they were in the program."

Indoor Guard started in 1988, and G-AHS hosted its first show in 1989.

The times have changed somewhat. Competition has grown and percussion has become a common core to the performances. The team participates in Keystone Indoor Drill Association events, open to schools from Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia and Delaware.

Percussion now comprises nearly 40 percent of the musical show put on by G-AHS. The members interpret melodies visually with dancing, flag and rifle spinning, and colorful props.

Forney said judges were more drill-oriented in the first years, and now it was more about placement on the floor, and the use of equipment and the body.

"Also, the scoring system has been evolving over the past 25 years. It is more subjective compared to the late 80s."

To Forney, the practice and dedication of the students has remained consistent in the quest for perfection.

"Our philosophy really hasn't changed. We teach them to worry about their own performance, and not other groups. They are against themselves each week out, and their goal is to perform a better show than the one before it."

Juliet Seidel, Class of 2011, a student at Lock Haven University, recalled the wonderful feeling during the live performances. Even if guard members didn't get along in rehearsal, they united for the actual competition.

"We worked so hard, and came together for the audience and judges. The high school drama dissipated on the floor."

Forney was happy the alumni gathering occurred, and hoped it could again without needing another milestone. Some of the people supported adding the outdoor field band to the next reunion.