The Elizabethtown Area High School marching band is made up of over 100 high schoolers. But one younger member snuck into the lineup this year as the majorette. Emma Schneider, currently a seventh grader at Elizabethtown Area Middle School, has twirled for the group the last two years.
The majorette for the marching band accompanies the band with a dancing and baton twirling routine. Usually the majorette is a high school student, but Emma began in the sixth grade, at age 11. Heather Hartsough, the majorette instructor for the school, has never seen a majorette this young in her time coaching.
Emma, who is the daughter of Scott and Michelle Schneider of Elizabethtown, began twirling baton at age 3. She had been taking a dance class at Paula’s School of Baton in Mount Joy. “But I liked the costumes of the twirlers, so she decided to try baton,” Emma said. And despite neither of her parents having any experience twirling, Emma has jumped wholeheartedly into sport.
While it is unusual for a majorette to start atsuch a young age, the school has been behind Emma from the very beginning. Hartsough, said although it is unusual for a majorette to start at such a young age, it made sense because she is a strong twirler and lives in the school district.
“When we asked the band director and the athletic director, we got a resounding ‘yes,’” Hartsough said. Students were supportive as well, Emma said; some approached and said, “Emma, we are here for you.”
Hartsough says that she enjoys working with Emma.
“She is an amazing twirler and is a really good tumbler, which has been something we can showcase,” Hartsough said. Her tumbling was featured in the 2018 marching band show, where Emma did a front flip in the midst of twirling two batons. The highlight of the 2018 show — and also Emma’s favorite part of the show — was when Emma twirled two batons that were lit on fire, and Hartsough said she hopes to add another fire baton next year.
“Emma can twirl three batons, and we are trying to add a fourth regular. So we want to add a third fire baton next year,” Hartsough said, continuing to say Emma is excited for the next year too.
“I’m excited to use another fire baton, because they are pretty cool, even though I’m nervous performing with them,” Emma said.
Besides her role as majorette in the high school band, she twirls year round with Paula’s School of Baton. As part of Paula’s School of Baton, Emma competes throughout the region as a part of three team routines as well as four individual routines.
Emma said she’s excited to continue performing because she likes “getting feedback from judges to get better.”
Hartsough was optimistic too.
“Emma is a talented girl and I’m glad I get to help her take on bigger and harder tricks,” Hartsough said.