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Irish Guard holds auditions for 2011

Adam Llorens | Tuesday, April 12, 2011

With the Blue and Gold Game just days away, the Notre Dame football team is gearing up for the 2011 season. It’s not the only group doing so, though — the Irish Guard is setting its sights on another year on the football field.

“The Guard is a unique opportunity that cannot be found on other college campuses,” Donelle Flick, operations manager for the Band of the Fighting Irish said. “Thousands of fans line up to get a glimpse of the Irish Guard and Notre Dame Band on game day. This following inspires guard members to carry on this great tradition.”

Competition for membership in the Guard is fierce, as the group only has 10 members. Once the position of Guardsman is earned, the title is held until graduation.

“Between 25 and 50 candidates audition for a spot on the 10-member guard in August,” Flick said. “So the success rate of those who audition depends on how many graduating Guard member’s places we are trying to fill.”

“The Irish Guard was to be impressive, and as such, each member was required to be a minimum of six feet, two inches tall, a regulation still in effect today,” Flick said.

Flick added that due to its exclusive nature, the Guard remains one of the most coveted titles for students to hold at Notre Dame.

Besides their marching duties, the Irish Guard is a unit of authority, protecting the ranks of the marching band. On game days, the Guard is either in front of the band clearing the way or flanking it on the sides to shield it from hostile crowds.

Prospective Guardsmen have a tryout consisting of learning to march properly, practicing standing at attention and maintaining a straight face. They must put these skills into a routine for a final audition to demonstrate they can handle the pressure during football games.

Freshman Eddie Linczer said he has hoped to earn one of the coveted positions on the Guard since childhood.

“I think it would be a great experience to be a member of the guard, for they are at the heart of the tradition at this University,” he said. “Growing up in South Bend, I would come on campus for game days and watch the Guard’s inspection, and then their march into the stadium.”

Though the tryout process is rigorous, Flick said accepted Guardsmen enjoy the benefits of being a part of one of the most prestigious traditions of Notre Dame.

“Beyond representing the University in one of its most revered and most recognizable traditions, the primary benefits are the development of leadership skills and long-lasting friendships between Guardsmen,” she said.

The group of precision marchers was formed in 1949 to add spectacle while leading the band on march-outs.

The Guard held an informational meeting yesterday and will hold another Thursday at 6:15 p.m. in the Ricci Band Rehearsal Hall.