After featuring marching bands several times, the hit television series “Glee” has given color guard the spotlight, with two featured numbers in the first half of its fourth season.
Robert Morales and 13 other guard veterans from groups such as The Blue Devils, Santa Clara Vanguard, Fantasia and Diamante were selected by The Blue Devils guard program coordinator/choreographer and WGI Hall of Fame member Scott Chandler and Glee’s casting professionals. They spent two days rehearsing with Air Blades and filming the number “Hold it Against Me,” made famous by Britney Spears and performed on “Glee” by Heather Morris for the season’s second episode, entitled “Britney 2.0.”
“For color guard you’re practicing every day for one show, and you only get one shot in front of the judges,” says Morales, a veteran of The Blue Devils, Fantasia and Diamante with 10 years of guard experience. “A lot us of had those same nerves going into filming, but then we realized that we’d be doing many takes—so not every mistake would be shown, like in a final performance.”
The guard members worked with choreographer and associate producer Zach Woodlee, who is known as one of the judges on “The Glee Project” and has received rave reviews every time those in the marching arts have worked with him on “Glee.” This time was no exception.
Woodlee had led a day-after-finals guard clinic at WGI Sport of the Arts in April 2012, paving the way for this television opportunity.
“It was great working with Scott Chandler and Zach Woodlee,” Morales says. “He was phenomenal; as soon as he walks in, you feel his energy and his vibe. He was so encouraging and was experimenting with whatever strengths we had.”
A week and a half after filming, Morales and nine others were selected to appear on the show again. This time they rehearsed for four hours the first day and filmed overnight the following day for Hole’s “Celebrity Skin,” performed again by Morris with Chord Overstreet. The school election-themed production number had the guard members spinning red, white and blue flags.
Morales, who works as a guard instructor at Ayala and Sierra Vista High Schools in California, enjoyed the experience working on a professional television set and interacting with some of the show’s stars, including Morris, Darren Criss and Jane Lynch.
“It was the highlight of my career for someone like Jane Lynch to be noticing how well we did and appreciating it,” Morales says.