On December 27, Cory Oliver woke up to discover that the trailer containing the props and gear for two Wasatch Independent Colorguards had been stolen from his front yard. The guard (as they call themselves) consists of fifty-four members, nine staff, and come from twenty different high schools. This particular guard is unique in that the staff and members also teach/volunteer for the majority of Utah’s High School Colorguards. These leaders often work 10-20 hours each week for the love of their craft which offers hundreds of Utah students a community and art. This year is also Wasatch’s ten-year anniversary season.
“Our guard is very diverse, we come from over a dozen schools, a variety of religious backgrounds, and about a quarter of our guard are part of the LGBTQ community.” Says Jessie Kimball, Member and former Wasatch A guard captain. “Our budget comes 100% from member fees, and we lost about $3,000 worth of equipment including our recently purchased trailer that we were fixing-up. Most of our guard are college students, and this is the thing we budget and sacrifice for each year. Without outside help, Wasatch independent has few ways to replace the stolen items and transport our equipment to shows.”
“Wasatch Independent is the backbone of the colorguard community in Utah.” Says Shey Buhler, Co-Captain of Wasatch A Guard. “Wasatch has currently lost their rehearsal space twice this year and is in the process of trying to find/pay for a new permanent space to rehearse. The loss of our stuff was an added punch to an already struggling season.”
“It may take years to recover from this.” Says Oliver, Head Director of Wasatch Independent “This program not only gives college students an outlet for creativity, but it has created a home for many people.” Buhler adds, “Colorguard saved my life. There Is no doubt that several of us wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for the support from this program”
The goal of Wasatch Independent is to build an environment where all participants feel welcome and supported in their guard and the guards they manage. Wasatch Independent participates each year in the Utah Pride Parade in support of their LGBTQ members and community. “We take this goal of love and acceptance to our high school students to help teach them valuable lessons on teamwork, friendship, and the inherit worth of all people.” Says Kimball.
Wasatch Independent Performing Arts is a non-profit organization based in Sandy. Wasatch currently has a GoFundMe in progress to help replace the stolen items. In addition to replacing our stolen props, trailer, and sound equipment, Wasatch is still looking for help finding and paying for a permanent rehearsal space in Salt Lake or Utah county. Last year, Wasatch Independent competed in national WGI competition and placed 19th. They hope to compete in two regionals this year including the Las Vegas Super Regional.