Evolution of the LSU Tiger Band Colorguard

Raven Creech, Paige McGaha, Michael Plets, and Leo Tellez

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Figure 1: 2017 LSU Colorguard team (Creech).

The halftime shows at LSU have been diverse and entertaining throughout the years, and would not be the same without Louisiana State University’s Tiger Band Colorguard, which has been a staple to the halftime show for 46 years. This performance group is an integral part of the current LSU football game experience, and the halftime show would not be the same in their absence. The LSU Colorguard perform routines with flags and are integrated into the halftime show.

The LSU Colorguard was originally formed in 1971, the year after the LSU Tiger

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Figure 2: 1975 LSU Colorguard team (Boyd).

Band received the All-American College TV Band award (Herbert, 2011). This resulted in an increase in band members. However, the LSU Athletic Department did not want to fund the new uniforms, so the band director, Bill Swor, formed the Colorguard from female band members so that their uniforms could go to other students (Herbert, 2011). This team was very different from the team we know today, as their routines were very limited. The flags they carried were too

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Figure 3: 1976 LSU Colorguard team (Boyd).

heavy to maneuver in any spin, and could only really be held with the use of a support cup (Herbert, 2011). Their uniforms, as seen in Figures 2 and 3, were rather simplistic. While neither of these photos are the original 1971 Colorguard, they do depict the original uniform’s style that consisted of a two piece white mini dress and a white vest that laid over the top of the uniform. There were 12 flags: 10 represented the different schools in the SEC and the remaining 2 were white, visible on the ground  in Figure 3 (Herbert, 2011).

Throughout the 1980s, the Colorguard went through many changes. During this time the Colorguard’s uniform went through similar changes. The 1982 Colorguard, featured in

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Figure 4: 1982 LSU Colorguard team (Holliday).

Figure 4, had a yellow blouse and a navy blue skirt. They also wore a feathered hat which can be seen on the ground in front of them. They still wore the classic majorette marching boots, similar to the original team. The year 1983, depicted in Figure 5, was a year of great change for the LSU Colorguard. Pants

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Figure 5: 1983 LSU Colorguard team (Holliday).

were introduced, and they no longer wore the majorette boots. The LSU Colorguard has worn pants ever since that time.This switch allowed for better movement and more complex routines and performances. However, that was not the only big change of the 80s. From 1984 to 1986, LSU Colorguard also featured a rifle team, which is featured in Figure 6. This led to a

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Enter a cFigure 6: LSU Colorguard Rifle Line, circa 1984 to 1986 (Smith). aption

brief stint of the colorguard being co-ed, with males only allowed on the rifle team (Continé, 92). This period was brief as rifles were not as easy to perform with during halftime. The Colorguard learns a new routine for every halftime show, and the rifle team did not have the time to perfect their performances before the shows as rifle work is more difficult to perfect because it needs to be extremely precise (Creech).

After the addition of pants, the Colorguard uniforms began to resemble that of the band’s, visible in Figure 7 and 8. The 1989 uniform featured a gold sequined jacket, a

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Figure 7: 1989 LSU Colorguard team (Kirley).

white ruffled shirt, and navy pants. According to Sheri Kirley, an alumni and one of the Colorguard and Golden Girls’ seamstresses, “They were so hot and our hair got caught all in the sequins!  They were horrible but totally the end of the 80’s!” In the 1990s Sheri’s mother, Kimberly, began making the uniforms, she and her daughter have made

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Figure 8: 1990 LSU Colorguard team (Kirley).

the uniforms ever since. They featured a white top and navy pants. According to Miss Sheri, the reason the Tiger Band and Colorguard wore navy pants is because it shows up purple under the stadium lights (Kirley, 2017).

Starting sometime in the 90s, the uniforms began to look more like what we know today, with minor changes made over the years. They began using purple velvet in 2005, and have used it ever since (Kirley, 2017). One of these minor changes can be visible in comparing figure 9 with figure 1: there is a small strip of purple above the fleur-de-lis in the 2011 team that is not longer present in the

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Figure 9: 2011 LSU Colorguard team (www.lsucolorguard.weebly.com).

2017 team. The general appearance of the Colorguard has also changed, as the requirements for a certain body type has been eliminated, however the Colorguard is still expected not to lose or gain more than 5 pounds through the semester (Creech). This has resulted in more talented members, as the Colorguard can choose members entirely on talent rather than limiting to only those with certain body types. Although it may seem to be outdated, the weight restriction is to ensure that the costumes fit properly and everyone looks good on the field, as they are custom made each year (Creech). The current look of the Colorguard, as displayed in Figure 1, is purple crushed velvet jumpsuit with the sequin fleur-de-lis on the chest. The fleur-de-lis top has been present on the uniforms since some time in the 1990s (cite). The jumpsuits allow for much more mobility on the field compared to past uniforms, however the pants portion are long and heavy, and can sometimes trip performers on the field (Creech). The uniform hair style is the same as that of the Golden Girls, teased in the front with the majority of the hair left down, and a teased ponytail on the crown of the head. This hairstyle can been seen on the current team in Figure 1.

This year, the Colorguard has introduced a new team, the LSU Winterguard. This is primarily a competition team that competes indoors to prerecorded music. The Winterguard uniform, as depicted in Figure 10, is white with shorts and a half-ring skirt,

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Figure 10: 2017 LSU Winterguard (Creech).

which will look good in performances. The uniforms are more representative to the show theme chosen each year, rather than a glittery top that can be seen from the stands. Winterguard is heavily reliant on dance and movement, and the uniforms display that, they are easy to move in and have very few mobility restrictions (Creech).  The members had to have their hair long and down, but had the option to choose whether it was straight or curled.

The Louisiana State University Tiger Band Colorguard has had many changes over the years, not only in uniform and appearance, but also in performance. They have gradually become more skilled in their field of work and on the field at halftime. Their presence on campus from their beginnings to now is one of the many elements that has made LSU what it  is today. The future of the Colorguard’s look is unknown, but hopefully the new Winterguard lasts longer than the rifle team!

Works Cited

Colorguard Alumni. Accessed 16 November 2017.

Figure 1: Creech, Raven. 2017 LSU Colorguard. Personal Collection.

Figure 2: Boyd, Sandy. 1975 LSU Colorguard. Facebook, 10 October 2011, 7:20 am, LSU

Figure 3: Boyd, Sandy. 1976 LSU Colorguard. Facebook, 10 October 2011, 7:21am, LSU Colorguard Alumni. Accessed 16 November 2017

Figure 4: Holliday, Sherrie. 1982 LSU Colorguard. Facebook, 5 October 2016, LSU Colorguard Alumni. Accessed 16 November 2017.

Figure 5: Holliday, Sherrie. 1983 LSU Colorguard. Facebook, 5 October 2016, LSU Colorguard Alumni. Accessed 26 November 2017.

Figure 6: Smith, Lisa. LSU Colorguard Rifle Line. Facebook, 5 October 2016, LSU Colorguard Alumni. Accessed 16 November 2017.

Figure 7: Kirley, Sheri. 1989 LSU Colorguard. Personal Collection.

Figure 8: Kirley, Sheri. 1990 LSU Colorguard. Personal Collection.

Figure 9: 2011 LSU Colorguard. LSU Colorguard. http://www.lsucolorguard.weebly.com. Accessed 1 December 2017.

Figure 10: Creech, Raven. 2017 LSU Winterguard. Personal Collection.

Continé, Tom. The Golden Band from Tiger Band. Baton Rouge, LA: LSU Press, 2016.

Creech, Raven, and Sheri Kirley. “LSU Colorguard Uniforms.” 30 Nov. 2017.

Herbert, Emily. “Forty Years of Flags.” The Advocate, 5 Oct. 2011, http://www.theadvocate.com.

Mcgaha, Paige, and Raven Creech. “LSU Colorguard Information from a Member .” 30 Nov.  2017.