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Renegades Blog

One Guard Member’s Perspective
By Eric Lopez, Color Guard

"On the field, from San Francisco, California, performing their 2004 show, ‘Goodbye Blue Skies: the Triumph of Evil,’ the San Francisco Renegades!" These are the words that will reverberate across football fields next summer, and what follows is 10 minutes of pure Evil, brought to you by Loud and the Renegades. I’m looking forward to this year’s season, and being part of one of the best drum and bugle corps ever.

At the Open House this past November, the show concept was unveiled and we were introduced to this year’s staff. The Renegades organization has hired World-Class instructors, technicians, and designers for every section. For the Color Guard, it’s both an honor and privilege to have Carol Abohotab, Shirley Dorrittie, Kathy Pearson, Julie Liedtke returning once again, as well as the new addition to the Design team; Ron Frost.

Carol, for those who don’t know, is the "It" Girl of the Color Guard World. Having Carol come in to teach dance and color guard is like having Maya Angelou come teach a poetry class, or learning how to play violin with Itzhac Perlman. Carol is to Color Guard as Scott Johnson is to percussion. Put simply, Carol is a Diva and legend in her own right, having a long history teaching some of the best drum corps and winter guards (27thLancers, Emerald Marquis, San Jose Raiders ... just to name a small few). When Carol isn’t instructing the Vanguard Cadets, helping the San Jose Raiders Winter Guard bring Gold back from WGI, or working on the latest "WGI FUNdamentals" instructional tapes, she’s instructing the Renegades. She is a large part of the success of last year’s Renegades Color Guard, and we are all excited to have Carol once again.

Shirley is also a "Who’s Who" in the drum corps, color guard, and marching band world. She was also a large part of last year’s success since she came to consult. Shirley was key to our success by preparing the guard mentally, and giving us a course in "Performance Psychology" which made a huge difference in all of us individually, and brought us closer collectively.

Kathy is once again back to clean and make the guard impeccably beautiful, and Julie has returned as the talented Guard Caption Head while also working her behind-the-scenes magic.

Ron Frost was a performer (okay, THE performer) last year, and is stepping up this year to also choreograph. This man is pure talent and just awesome to watch. I was Ron’s roommate last year for the Southern California tour and DCA, so behind all that energy (not to mention fabulous extensions) is one of the nicest, friendliest guys you’ll ever meet. Ron is a former Madison Scout, so it was no surprise that the man tossed not one, but two 7's on rifle in last year’s show. And you know how the Renegades are with their 7's.

At the November camp held at Treasure Island, the color guard had well over 35 people in attendance, and that’s not including the returning members who were away that weekend with their bands and guards. Over 42 people have expressed interest in being a part of this year’s Renegades Color Guard, the largest turn out ever for this section! In the morning, the guard participated with full-corps warm-ups with Rich Duarte and Mejia Reese. Then we broke off from the corps to do even more warm-ups, namely Pilates and dance basics. Both Saturday and Sunday was a focus on Dance and Movement technique in the mornings, and in the afternoons, a focus on equipment basics. Kathy was happy as she finally gets to "start from scratch" so to speak, and actually take time to clarify technique issues.

Sunday afternoon was good fun as everyone worked with either rifles, or in Carol’s saber class. There is a lot of talent in this year’s color guard, and we are on our way to becoming! a World-Class Color Guard. I have never spun a saber before, so I went to Carol’s saber class.  I couldn’t help but look over at the members on rifle, and seeing about 25 people toss a perfect quad and catch. Seeing that, and then looking over at Carol smiling from ear to ear, I know that the Renegades guard is off to a great start.

Eric Lopez


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