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Majorettes

Posted: 6/19/2007 2:58 PM

Majorettes 


I was a majorette my senior year in high school and my freshman year in college.  Many high schools do not have them anymore.  Are majorettes going away?  It seems like schools and colleges are leaning toward more flag lines and  drum and bugle type look
for bands.
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Posted: 6/19/2007 5:07 PM

Re: Majorettes 


Yes, for probably three reasons.

Most bands are copying drum and bugle corps and they don't use majorettes.

Majorettes simply can't provide the visual impact that flags do - simply a matter of how large a flag is compared to a baton.  Add to that the fact that you can train pretty good flags in a short time - they can learn some basics for a tryout in the spring and be ready to go for the first game.  This means you can have a lot more of them which again gives more impact than the usual small number of majorettes you may find that have enough training to really look good.

Finally, majorettes and especially their parents have often been a royal pain to band directors.  While this can apply to flags or dance line as well, normally it is much worse in the majorette group.  So I suppose a lot of directors saw the benefits mentioned above and at the same time could end their biggest headache.

Of course, it doesn't have to be that way.  My last school in Georgia had an outstanding majorette corp.  There were some problems, but nothing worse than other groups.

Civility:  New word for censorship

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Posted: 6/20/2007 8:14 AM

Re: Majorettes 


While the BIG Kahuna is correct, do not doubt that a majorette line can have a big impact also.  In South Georgia two bands especially have amazing majorette lines; Wayne County and Cairo HS Bands have majorette line which are a high light even for the most advid drum corps/BOA Band enthusiast.  I personally as a guard person, enjoy seeing these two groups twirl each season, they are their bands impact point.  It is sad that a lot of bands have either done away with majorettes all together, but back in my day our bands line was the cream of the crop in the state, and added more impact than our guard and dance team combined.  Keep on twirling girls!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Posted: 6/20/2007 1:13 PM

Re: Majorettes 


I haven't seen Cairo, but have seen Wayne Co and also have friends there.  They have a strong majorette group and, last I heard, had a full-time person to work with them who has her own baton school - so the training is first rate.  I believe there is another baton school in the community as well, so they have the numbers for a sizable line as well as the quality to have strong feature twirlers.

In fact, I think they have or had top people at Georgia, Georgia Tech and Clemson.

But even so, I wouldn't say they are the impact except maybe at very limited times.  Put 20 flags spread out behind the band and they are going to be more visual that 8 majorettes up front both because of numbers as well as size of equipment.  Now, you can design a point in the show deliberately to focus on the majorettes - or dance line - but they aren't going to have the impact of a large flag line throughout the show.

A lot of dance line personnel serve as flags most of the time and are only featured in one portion of a show too, for the same reasons.  Sometimes majorettes will do the same, but less often because, I think, because of their uniform design - just doesn't fit in with the rest as well.

I think here are few places now that have the resources in this area that Wayne Co has.  Most places I've been or seen, the people who want to be majorettes have very little training or experience.

Civility:  New word for censorship

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Posted: 6/20/2007 1:32 PM

Re: Majorettes 


Both of my girls play sports and I am very proud of both of them.  Maybe I will have a granddaughter that could learn to twirl.  I just hope it is not a dying art.
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Posted: 6/20/2007 9:10 PM

Re: Majorettes 


I hope that Wayne Co. still has the same majorette instructor.  She did my camp for drill team for 3 years and really shaped them up!  She is the best camp instructor I ever hired in my nine years as a high school band director! Beth Taylor was very kind to recommend her to me.  Beth is one of the finest directors in South Georgia! As far as Cairo, the last time I saw them, they kind of reminded me of the Troy University majorettes!  In fact, all the shows I've seen, since Johnny Folsom has been the director, remind of of Troy.  They have always had an awesome brass line!
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Posted: 6/20/2007 10:29 PM

Re: Majorettes 


I know that the Cario girls go to Troy for camp-might be why they remind you of Troy.
Lots of directors in that corner of Ga are from Troy!
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Posted: 6/23/2007 8:27 PM

Re: Majorettes 


Not to jump in here, but is this a problem @ all schools or mostly those in the smaller classes?  Last time I checked, several AAAAA schools used them (along with dance & flags). 

AT

AT
cool

GO TROJANS!!!
GO 1AAAAAA!!!
GO DAWGS!!!
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Posted: 7/3/2007 7:44 AM

Re: Majorettes 


The activity known as baton twirling is indeed passing away. But with all due respect, history suggests that the role of majorettes was never so much artistic as diplomatic, in a chauvanistic sort of way. In the early days of coed marching band, a "majorette" was the mascot to the (always male) Drum Major, whose standard uniform included tall que-tip hat, military jacket, and high leather boots. Back then, the D.M. didn’t so much conduct as perform, high-stepping down the street while tossing a big silver baton up into the air, and hopefully catching it with enough fanfare to delight of the crowd. The majorettes high-stepped alongside or behind, beautiful girls whose presence (let’s admit it) was intended to compliment the D.M. They almost always wore modified band uniforms, with short-cut skirts and band hats (plumes, even!) and most often, clunky looking cowgirl boots with bouncing poms-poms. The girls would high-kick down the street, all the while smiling and twirling their much smaller, safer, “feminine” batons.

At some point, majorette "girls" got tired of being mascots and set out to take a more prominent place on the field and do tougher stunts. But did it ever evolve beyond that? How much skill (or stupidity) is required to stand on a football field on a cold football night, wearing an embarassingly too small one-piece bathing suit covered in sequins, with vinyl go-go-dancer boots zipped up to the knees? All the while tossing a stretch of metal with two rubber knobs at each end high overhead, hoping and praying to catch it and not look ridiculous doing it.

Baton twirling as part of a band field performance has never been well-regarded. Artistic? Creative? Degree of diffculty? It's like ice skating -- a triple axle is the limit of man's ability, as is the triple backhanded sumersault fire rings toss (which never seemed choreographed to the music. If majorettes finished with their arms stretched wide in a V as the last note was played, GOOD SHOW!) When majorettes graduated from mascots to visual ensemble, they owned the show ... until the long-legged,  high-kicking precision dance lines came along, and then eventually tall flags, who for some reason were NOT exploited. Most flag and rifle corps that became popular in the ‘70s were military style, perhaps because that was the style of Drum and Bugle corps of the day.

I've seen a few very good high school majorette troups -- every one of them from Alabama (Huffman, Emma Sansom, those big B'ham schools) and too many really BAD majorette lines, mostly in Georgia. If you feel sad about the passing of twirling, move to Alabama — where little girls still grow up thinking they can be Miss America if they twirl good enough (though truth is, nobody has ever won Miss America from twirling). But clearly, those girls DO know this — EVERY major college and university in the south that plays football on Saturdays in the fall pays out scholarships to the best baton twirlers, full-tution scholarships with big money on the line! Those 12 big-haired women prancing along the sidelines of UGA Redcoats performances take the busienss seriously. They essentially get PAID to go out there and strut there stuff, and they do it very well.

 One of the best baton twirlers I ever saw was a boy majorette for Central High in Phenix City, AL, who was featured twirler starting in 10th grade. That boy could toss four or five flaming hoops into the air and juggle them while doing backflips. The band director was smart and parked the kid in a spot on one end of the field, and the band kept it's distance. Both years I saw him, I paid no attention to the band ... and neither did the crowd, which stayed transfixed on the baton boy whle the band played on.

Clearly, baton twirling is an acquired taste. You love it or hate it. Clearly, twirlers are an independent bunch, who come up with their own work and practice alone, sometimes never even joining the full band except for a weekly runthrough. Even at games and contests they  seem to be apart from the other kids, doing what I’ve never really known. I’ve often gotten the impression that majorettes, being one crown away from beauty queen status, are taught to believe they’re special ...  But that tradition most certainly has done little to build support or sympathy for keeping the activity around. Most band directors I know shelved majorettes as soon as they could get away with it, for stated reasons like “not enough funds” or “no seats on the bus.” But in reality, always because “they were impossible to deal with” and “their mothers were too.”

Yes, baton twirling is on the decline, because of changing times and evolving art forms. Think on this: The standard majorette "look” has mostly remained the same all these years, while the activity of marching band has expanded beyond what anybody could have predicted. Majorettes, on the other hand, are a perfect caricature of themselves — big hair, tight outfits, grins that stretch from ear-to-ear. Talent is never so important as looking good, because smiling through the mistakes wins points with the judges!

Last edited 7/3/2007 8:09 AM by FayetteNative

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Posted: 7/3/2007 1:42 PM

Re: Majorettes 


I forget the school, but when I saw them at contest many years ago, they had a sizable group of HS baton twirlers - but they also had this really little girl twirling - and she was by far the best one.  A real star.  Well, everybody kept watching her.

At the next contest, they were there again but they had made some adjustments - the little girl was no longer around the 50 yd line like the rest of the majorettes were.  They had moved here all the way down to the end, past the band.

My suspicion is that some jealous HS girls (or their parents) didn't like this little girl stealing the show.  But it was a bad change because people still just kept watching that girl, but since she was on the end, they really couldn't see much else at the same time - especially not the other majorettes who were 30-40 yds away!

Civility:  New word for censorship

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Posted: 7/3/2007 7:35 PM

QUESTION ABOUT CAIRO'S BAND ??? 


Way back at UGA, I had friends from Cairo who bragged on their fine musical tradition and legendary majorette line. It wasn't until much later, when Cairo happened to make a roadtrip to Lovejoy for a playoff game, that I finally saw them live

 I'd gotten there early enough to find a seat on the home side, to watch halftime. So you can imagine how disappointed I was when the Marching Syrupmakers turned their backs on the home side and played the entire show facing the other way. Lovejoy's fans were no doubt a little insulted, but Cairo's sizeable road crowd roared to their feet as if they knew it was coming. Maybe halftime at Cairo is nothing more than a pep rally, but I found it tacky and insulting to the host school.

Later, it occured to me that Cairo -- way down south where nothing changes much -- might just be blind to their ways and don't know any better. Too bad, I thought, because the band has potential beyond firing up the football fans. For starters, can somebody tell me if they still march majorettes ONLYand no other auxillary units?  And do they STILL go out and play the same familiar show every fall, year after year, the one that always ends in "Battle Hymn of the Republic" and a great big U.S. flag that guarantees a standing ovation but really is a cheap shot of an ending, when you think about it.

Are folks in Cairo so stuck in their ways they don't want ANYTHING to change? Ever? Sad, if so!
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Posted: 7/3/2007 9:10 PM

Re: QUESTION ABOUT CAIRO'S BAND ??? 


Well, its hard to comment on the reason a specific band does something, but I'll give you two reasons, which I consider legitimate, for a band to play to the visitor's side at an away game:

1. I've been to games where the home side has a small fraction of the fans that are on the visitor's side - like maybe 30 people!!!

2. Band parents at many schools are often doing the concession stand and don't get to watch their own kids during halftime.  It is common for them to ask the director to let the band play to "their" side (the visitor's side) at an away game so they can get a good view of the show.

Civility:  New word for censorship

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Posted: 7/3/2007 11:01 PM

Re: Majorettes 


I'm a band director in South Ga...my school played a football game where the crowd in the home stands were so disgustingly rude to my students that I swore that if I was director when we played them again at their home field, we'd march on from the back, play to our side, and march back off backfield. I swore I'd never subject my kids to that disgusting behavior again. 

Won't say where I was directing, or where the game was played...just that it was a place where you could tell there was no pride-at all.  And that's a shame.
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Posted: 7/23/2007 7:42 PM

Re: QUESTION ABOUT CAIRO'S BAND ??? 


Cairo has NEVER played Lovejoy . Are you a liar or do you have some agenda ?

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