For the first time in a number of years, when the Colt Cadets Drum and Bugle Corps held their drills and practices the past week at Anamosa Middle School, a pair of Anamosa students were participants as members of the corps’ color guard.

Junior Tabitha Etten and senior Sarah Conley were each selected at members of the color guard. Both students said that the fact that Anamosa color guard coach Jessica Coblentz was a mentor was a big part of their decisions to give the cadets a shot.

“Every year, somebody comes and talks to us about Colt Cadets, and I’ve always been interested but kind of scared,” Conley said.

“I’ve heard about drum corps for a long time, so I’ve always wanted to do it, but having our high school coach be a tech here helped push me to do it,” Etten said. 

Coblentz is in her third year instructing the Anamosa color guard and her third year as an instructor with the cadets, having performed with the corps for four years.

“It’s a lot of fun. It’s still a learning experience,” she said of transitioning to the instructor role.

Etten has been a member of Anamosa’s color guard since she was in eighth grade. In addition to being a part of the color guard, Etten will also be a part of dance routines, having been a former member of the Anamosa dance team.

Conley has been a member of the color guard since she was a seventh grader, and while the practices have been tough, the bonds made with the fellow cadets have helped.

“You kind of make a family here. So, they help you through it,” she said. “I’m looking forward to making new friends.”

Etten had stopped by to watch when the drum corps had been practicing in Anamosa, which she said helped to give her a feel for what the practices would be like, but actually being a part of the group was a whole different animal.

“They’re a lot of work,” she said.

While Conley is looking forward most to building the relationships with other corps members, Etten is looking forward to the competitive opportunities.

“I like that we get to compete a lot,” Etten said.

In high school, the group only gets to compete a few times, usually staying around the Cedar Rapids area. Participating the corps will give them the chance to travel around the Midwest.

The cadets had their first competition in Madison, Wis., on June 22, and their travels will take them to places like Rockford, Ill., Olathe, Kan., Farmington, Minn., and Indianapolis, Ind., before they arrive back in Dubuque in the middle of August for the end of the tour.

The experience is one that will benefit both the girls and Anamosa’s program as a whole.

“We love giving them the experience over the summer,” Coblentz said, noting both Etten and Conley will be color guard captains in the fall.  

Information on the Colt Cadets Drum and Bugle Corps tour schedule can be found at

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