Pride color guard welcomes everyone

This year’s color guard consists of nine women and two men. Brittany Ammann, color guard co-captain, said these people and other members of The Pride make the color guard more than just another class.

“The best part about being in The Pride is meeting new people and making lifetime friends. I have met so many people throughout the four years I have been here,” Ammann said. “It’s more than just a class or band; it’s an activity that we all love to do, otherwise we wouldn’t come back each year.”

Ammann said her first performance with The Pride was the most memorable. “It was so overwhelming and exciting! I loved every moment of it,” Ammann said.

Megan Voegele, color guard co-captain, chose to join The Pride after learning the college color guard does more during the marching season than just parades, as her high school did. Her favorite part about this organization is the people.

“The best part about being involved with the color guard and The Pride would be meeting all the wonderful people that are in the band and those who support it,” Voegele said.

As captains, the pair is in charge of the choreography for each week and choosing the colors for that week’s songs.

“We typically go off of what the song choice is and then our own personal look and vision for each color,” Ammann said.

Andrea Kieckhefer, manager of creative services and branding for University Marketing and Communications, spends a little over two hours a day practicing with the color guard and meeting with the captains outside of rehearsal to lend a critical eye and suggestions for problem areas.

“During rehearsal I usually look for any trouble spots, either with the routines or the marching, and then we address those problems on the following day,” Kieckhefer said. “The captains and I also select the different silks for each show and make sure they get over to the practice field and onto the flag poles. On game-day mornings, I also make sure all of our equipment makes it over to the field.”

Rehearsal for the color guard starts an hour earlier than practice for The Pride. They spend that hour learning and polishing routines before joining the full band on the practice field, learning their positions on the field and putting that together with the flag routines.

Kieckhefer said her involvement with The Pride is like being part of a large, extended family where everyone looks out for each other. She appreciates that her own family has been welcomed into the group.

“One of the best parts of the job is that my husband and kids are welcome as well. My 5-year-old daughter loves coming to the field with me, whether it’s for practice or a performance, and she’s always welcomed with fist bumps or a high five,” Kieckhefer said. “My husband has taken photos of performances and driven The Pride trailer through the Hobo Day Parade for the last several years, so this really has become a family affair in every sense of the word.”

While Kieckhefer has fun at The Pride performances, she really enjoys getting to know the students and watching them go from nervous freshmen to confident graduates ready to tackle the world.

“The amount of personal growth that happens in their four to five years of college is astounding and seeing them become professional, responsible adults is the icing on the cake. I keep in touch with many of my former color guard members and love when they come back to visit,” Kieckhefer said.

Kieckhefer finds the opportunity to be part of “an organization with such a storied history of excellence” extremely gratifying. Because she herself was a member of The Pride while attending SDSU, Kieckhefer enjoys being back with the band and helping today’s students create similar memories.

“The color guard is open to everyone; you do not need to be a music major to be a part of this organization,” Kieckhefer said. “I’ve had freshmen come in never having held a flag or marched a field show who then went on to become a captain. If the desire and dedication are there, we can teach you the rest.”