Grove City College majorettes Lauren Foster ’19 and Breanne Wenk ’20 will be tossing their batons at the World Federation of National Baton Twirling Association's world championships next month in Lillehammer, Norway.
The women, who serve as majorette captains for the Wolverine Marching Band, have been training for the event for months on their own and with the Modernette Baton Corps, a team based in Pittsburgh’s South Hills.
Foster, a junior from North Canton, Ohio, and Wenk, a sophomore from Canonsburg, Pa., will compete with others from Modernettes in Lillehammer as part of Team USA in the championship, which is held every three years.
“We’re very excited to be a part of this international competition and for the chance to test our skills against the best the world has to offer. We also welcome the opportunity to be ambassadors for Grove City College,” Wenk said.
Twirlers may seem delicate, but their routines demand training that would leave the toughest athletes gasping for breath. Foster and Wenk worked out for five hours a day over the summer and continued their training on campus as they performed with the band front this fall at football games, parades and other events.
Baton twirlers were once obligatory features of every half time show, but these days many schools have dropped the highly-skilled performers from their band fronts as budgets and the talent pool has shrunk. Grove City College has stuck with the tradition, though, because of the value twirlers bring to a band show, according to Joseph Pisano, director of bands and professor of music at Grove City College.
“I’m very excited about the level of excellence that we have achieved with the Grove City College Band program over the years. We are still one of the largest D3 marching bands at the collegiate level, and I’m particularly happy that we still have kept our long-standing tradition of having majorettes as a part of the Marching Wolverines. We have had so many young women share their twirling talents with us over the years, and these two young ladies are two of our very best. They are simply amazing and we are super excited for their upcoming international competition and wish them the very best,” Pisano said.
For students like Foster and Wenk, who have been twirling since they were little girls, the commitment to a fully-functioning band front was a selling point for the school.
“Grove City College has a remarkable music department and marching band. Breanne and I both came here because of the opportunity to twirl with this band,” Foster said.
Both women say they encourage younger twirlers to consider the College when it comes to deciding where they want to continue their education because of the opportunities that exist.