We do Love them
Let’s go back in time to June of 1960. It’s a beautiful weekend afternoon, and you’ve arrived just in time for the parade.
In the parade, a marching band comes along with drummers beating a marching rhythm, and the musicians playing music that you’d also like to march along with them.
Leading the band is a spirited young pretty lady so neatly and beautifully dressed in a white shako, red jacket, short white skirt, and white boots. She smiles while highstepping and twirling a baton … and she steals your heart. It sounds marvelous, doesn’t it?
That’s how some people remember seeing a majorette, maybe for the first time. Do you remember how much you admired her? You may not have known it yet, but you’d go on to love and respect majorettes. That first majorette you saw showed, as did the rest that you’ve seen after her, something a lady could do, and do perfectly, while being very feminine, genuine and lady-like.
That parade in June, 1960 happened like that, and another majorette made a BIG impression.
In another instance, a Cotton Bowl Parade was being televised. As the first band came marching along, one of the majorettes looked straight into the camera and smiled. It was a perfect and confident smile. A smile which gave direct eye contact to viewers, and seemed to say a friendly “Hello”. This smiling impression earned that particular majorette at least one new fan. She showed that majorettes are more than just strutting baton twirlers. They are friendly human beings worthy of love and admiration.
What you might have missed were the times before and after the parade. There were hours of lessons, practice, patience and perseverance before even the first parade. Probably a mediocre performance initially and then more practice. More toil and moil. Then the parades which followed till you met her. The efforts must have been insurmountable.
There’s a time when Life Magazine published a picture of a young majorette soaking her feet after marching in a parade. Come to think of it. It wasn’t always easy for them as they marched in a beautiful but hot afternoon, but they enjoyed it and did a wonderful job of leading their bands.
You just can’t help but love, respect and admire majorettes who strut and twirl as they lead bands in parades in all sorts of weather, in rain and shine, and they do it because they want to do it and love every minute of it. They might have broken a bone or passed out during practice. They might end a day with sore feet, sore muscles, blisters, or anything else that comes with standing and marching for an hour, or two, or three, or more in a parade, or other event, held for whatever reasons people decide to have them. Their bodies might still have been sore when they woke up the next morning, but they would be only too happy to be back again and again in more parades — with a sweet, friendly smile.
Is it any surprise that baton twirling has come to be regarded as a sport and earned a place in major competitions?
Many young girls have been some of their biggest fans, and have seen them as role models. One magazine article in the 1950s showed a very young majorette trying to emulate an older majorette she admired very much. The older girl may have been one of the best role model or mentor the younger girl ever had.
A collection of hit songs for ladies’ singing groups was published in the 1950s, and one of the hit tracks was called “I Wanna Be A Majorette“. It had become a desirable goal; a lifestyle worth living.
For several decades, it was very common for marching bands to be led by majorettes: far more than it is now, and many bands seemed incomplete without them — The high school, college, university, and town bands would include their baton twirling and strutting majorettes as they took part in school and public functions. In spite of all the masked efforts which went to see them become good majorettes, they still made it all look so easy and natural. It wasn’t and isn’t as easy as they made it look, and something would be very missing without them.
Seriously missing, too, would be all those majorettes who have practiced their twirling and strutting for competitions. They saw a goal they wanted to try for, and tried their best to achieve it.
Majorettes —– don’t you just love them?