Forte Announces 2011 Color Guard Staff

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In keeping in line with our roll out of the 2011 Staff, we are highlighting this year’s Colorguard staff. With new and returning faces, the colorguard is poised to take the caption (the highest scoring caption from the 2010 corps for most of the season) to new heights!

Caption Head: Jenn Vaught

Designer: Chris Smith

Consultants: Chris Kichline & Casey Snead

Technicians: Rusty Keaton & Zachary McKennon

Colorguard Caption Head, Jenn Vaught

Jenn Vaught will be returning to the 2011 Forte corps staff this in the new role as Colorguard Caption Head.

Jenn has been an active director/clinician/educator in Texas for the past 7 years. Jenn holds a Business Admin degree from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Tx. Jenn has performance experience from Pioneer Drum Corps and Bluecoats Drum Corps. She also danced for the University of Texas in Dallas dance department in their programs for 2 years as well. She also was the co-director and dance and weapon technician for Denton Fusion IA winterguard, which competed in NTCA and WGI for the 2010 season and is currently the Asst. Director and dance technician for Ogio IA winterguard as well.

She enjoys sharing her experience with her students throughout her winterguard groups. She has worked as the director of colorguard activities for Sherman High School, which placed at the Texas State marching band competition, Lewisville High School and Lake Highlands High School and currently assists at Nimitz High School. Jenn was also the Caption Head for Vigilantes in 2009.  Outside of guard activities, Jenn currently holds 2 jobs and resides in Dallas, Texas. She loves to take yoga and dance classes in her free time and is excited to be back on staff in this new position for the 2011 season. colorguard [at] fortecorps [dot] org

Colorguard Designer, Chris Smith

Christopher Smith, Colorguard Designer and Caption Supervisor,  resides in the Houston area where he serves as the color guard Director at Pearland H.S. since 2005. Prior to relocating from Ohio, Smith had tenures with the North Royalton H.S., Brunswick H.S. and Medina H.S. bands and winter guard programs. Smith was a longtime board member of Mid-East Performance Association (MEPA) as well as serving as an Ohio Music Education Association (OMEA) adjudicator. He has held color guard caption head positions with the Limited Edition Drum and Bugle Corps and the Capital Regiment Drum and Bugle Corps and has consulted with many high school programs and drum corps throughout the years. He studied dance at the Ohio State University and was a member of the University Dance Company, the Zivili Kolo Ensemble, and worked with choreographers John Giffin and Victoria Uris. Smith served as the Artistic Director for Csardas Dance Company of Cleveland for twelve years. Mr Smith resides in Houston, TX colorguard [at] fortecorps [dot] org

Chris is returning for his second season with Forte!

Consultant, Chris Kichline

Mr. Kichline serves as Wakeland High School’s first Colorguard Instructor. He previously taught in similar positions at Paschal High School and Arlington-Martin High School.

During his tenure at Wakeland High School, the marching band has been a consistent finalist in several Dallas-Fort Worth area marching contests. The 2007 Winterguard, the school’s first, won the NTCA Novice Class Championships. In 2008, the JV Winterguard won the Silver Medal in the Regional A Classification at NTCA Championships. The Varsity Guard won the Silver Medal in the Scholastic AA Classification.

In addition to his duties at WHS, Mr. Kichline has served on the staffs of Ars Nova Winterguard and Pioneer Drum and Bugle Corps. His guards at Ars Nova have been a consistent finalists at the Winter Guard International Independent A and Independent Open World Finals.

Prior to moving to Dallas-Forth Worth, Mr. Kichline served as the guard instructor and designer for Siloam Springs High School, the Fayetville Public School District, and the University of Arkansas. In 2000, he co-founded the Sarajevo Winterguard to provide access for students interested in high-level guard opportunities after high school level. Mr. Kichline was a member of the Delta Brigade, a 1995 Drum Corps International Division II Finalist Corps as well as Americanos, a DCI Division II Semi-Finalist Corps. He is an in-demand clinician in North Texas for his successful implementation of modern dance, ballet, and jazz into the Winterguard repertoire.

Program Consultant, Chris Kichline

Casey Snead currently lives in Dallas, TX, where he works as the Color Guard Director for both Forney HS and South Grand Prairie HS. While working with these two programs, Casey spends most of his free time assisting and writing choreography for a multitude of schools around DFW. On top of working with these scholastic programs, Casey is one of the designers and instructors for Ars Nova Open Winter Guard, a recent 2010 WGI-IA Silver Medalist.

Casey’s performance experience includes Ars Nova WG, Black Gold WG, Bluecoats, and The Cavaliers. He has also danced in many studio and college dance programs over the past 6 years. He loves to share his experience with his student’s and encourages all of them to actively pursue performing in WGI and DCI. Outside of Color Guard, Casey loves to design graphics, exercise, dance, and study health and wellness. Acquiring knowledge and sharing it has become a lifelong passion that he never plans to stop.

Technician, Rusty Keaton

Rusty Keaton is originally from Lubbock, Tx where he first started teaching colorguard in 2003. He taught at several different high school and summer camps across west Texas. While teaching at Lockney High School he built a program that eventually had 12 guard members in a high school that had less than 100 people in attendance. He also took the school to four West Texas Auxiliary Championships. Rusty now lives in the Dallas/ Ft. Worth area where he teaches Nimitz High School in Irving, TX and helps out with winterguards as well. Rusty performed with the Goin’ Band from Raiderland for three years and has also performed with Vigilantes Drum and Bugle Corps and Legacy Sr. Winterguard.

His natural talent and eye for design have helped take his high schools to area 10 UiL Division I ratings and five appearances at UiL Area Marching Contest and once in 2A Finals. Colorguard is his passion in life, he dedicates most of his free time to writing work, designing silks, uniforms, and shows .

Technician, Zachary McKennon

Zachary McKennon is a native of Abilene, TX, where he attended Wylie High School. He is currently an employee of James Avery Craftsman and enjoys designing and consulting in his free time.

Zachary currently attends McMurry University where he is working towards a Bachelor of Music Education degree with all-level teacher certification. Zachary is active in the marching band at McMurry University where he is the color guard captain, choreographer and visual consultant. He also is the color guard supervisor for the McMurry University Summer Band Camp and also performs with the McMurry Wind Ensemble on tuba.

Zachary actively consults for numerous high school band programs throughout the state of Texas and is a highly sought after designer for high school and college level band and color guard programs in West Texas such as Cisco College and McMurry University. Zachary was able to perform with White Gold Independent A winter guard in their inaugural season in 2010. In 2010, Zachary helped lead the Unity JV winter guard to their first NTCA championship in the Independent Regional A class. His award-winning units have been consistently appraised as innovative, entertaining and sophisticated. He is the current co-director of Acuity Independent A winter guard where they will debut their first production in 2011.

2011 marks Zachary’s first season with Forte and he is very excited to join the members and staff in their second season.

Colorguard is on official hiatus until the April camp (the conclusion of the 2011 WGI Season), but interested students may still attend camps and work on technique and skills with members of the 2011 Colorguard Staff. Full details about Feb/March Camp rehearsals for colorguard, auditions for the 2011 line, and general information about the corps can be found at

Posted by on Friday, February 25th, 2011. Filed under Current News, DCI Open, FrontPage Feature.