Newport Harbor Post 291 Color Guard

Contest Information

Color guards, drum and bugle marching bands, and concert bands have been an important part of American history. To honor this, a national band contest first became a prominent feature during the 3rd National Convention. 

During the 11th National Convention, a drill teams contest was added. This became the National Color Guard Contest during the 20th National Convention, at which time the winning trophy was named after Glenn R. Hillis.

Who Can Participate?

In order to participate in the National Color Guard and National Concert Band contests, you must be any of the following:

  • Member of the American Legion Family
  • Member of a JROTC program
  • Member of a post or community band
  • A mixture of the above Legion “family” can participate in all classes in the color guard contest except for the Military Class, which must consist of American Legion members exclusively.

National Band Contest

The National Concert Band contest consist of both competitive and exhibition bands.

Concert bands that wish to compete in the competitive competition must comprise of a minimum of 30 instruments and at least 20% of the “playing members” must be members of The American Legion, Sons or Auxiliary. Each band will perform three songs: a quickstep-style march, and two songs of their choice that are of contrasting nature.

Bands that wish to compete as an exhibition band can perform up to three songs of their choosing at a total time of playing not to exceed 30 minutes. Exhibition Bands do not receive a score; however, will receive judge’s commentary to be used at the band’s discretion.

You can download and read our current Concert Band Contest rules at the link below:

Concert Band Contest Rules

Color Guard Classes 

Performing units that wish to compete in the National Color Guard Contest can compete in the following classes:

  • Advancing and Retiring of Colors
  • Military
  • Military Open
  • Open
  • JROTC Drill Class

If you are interested in competing, the Advancing and Retiring of Colors class is a good place to start. This class honors the tradition of posting the colors at meetings or ceremonies. All classes, with the exception of the JROTC class, must perform their choreographed routine within a designated time limit.

You can download and read our current Color Guard Contest rules at the link below:

National Color Guard Contest Rules

Next Steps

The official contest entry forms are mailed each January. Each entry form must be certified by the adjutant of the unit’s sponsoring department. Please download our current contest applications below:

Advancing and Retiring of Colors Application
Military Class Application
Military Open Class Application
Open Class Application
JROTC Drill Class Application
Concert Band Contest Application

To create a color guard unit, talk with your post and find members who want to compete. Your unit may choose to compete in both the Advancing and Retiring of Colors class and either the Military, Military Open or Open Class. Read the rule book, develop a choreographed routine and practice, practice, practice!

To create a concert band, talk with members in your post or a community band interested in performing. Read the rule book, choose your songs, and practice by performing at a post or community event.


Judges for each contest will score and provide audio commentary for each performance. To better understand critiques and scores, digital comments will be made available via email after the contest has ended. 

Past Performances


In addition to the competition trophies presented to the top unit of each class, a monetary award will be provided for first, second and third in class. Each competing unit will also receive a monetary appearance fee.

National Color Guard Contest

1st Place in Class - $800
2nd Place in Class - $500
3rd Place in Class- $300
Participation Fee - $200 will be distributed to all competing units

National Concert Band Contest

1st in Competition - $5000
2nd in Competition - $4000
3rd in Competition - $3000
Participation Fee - $1000 will be distributed to all competing and exhibition bands


For more information on National Color Guard and National Concert Band contest rules and applications, please contact the National Convention Division at or (317) 630-1292.