DERRY — Local twirlers are up to their batons in preparation for a busy spring season ahead.
Coming off last summer's national championships, the Derry-based Red Star Twirlers are getting ready for warm weather appearances, practicing regularly and taking on their twirling talents.
Under the watchful eye of longtime coach Gina Hutchinson, the twirlers recently took part in the New Hampshire championships, earning 62 team and individual state titles in novice, beginner, intermediate and advance categories.
Emily Cowette, 9, of Derry took the most titles in her division including intermediate solo, advanced queen modeling, and beginner marching and strutting.
She also won a duet with Sarah Martin of Londonderry.
Other top winners included Morgan Torre of Londonderry, earning the solo title in the 10-12 division; Isabella Bolduc of Derry, tops in the 13-15 category; and Katie Carlson of Derry in the senior age division. Bolduc also took the state strut title and Micayla Pica of Derry won the 13-15 queen title.
As a team, the Red Stars won Twirl Corps and the Senior Dance Twirl Division title.
Following the state event, the twirlers are now gearing up for this spring's trip to Washington, D.C., to perform in the annual Memorial Day parade. Ten members will follow the lead of past Red Star teams and will march up Constitution Avenue.
The Red Stars first performed in Washington as part of the inauguration celebration of President George Bush in 1989.
For Hutchinson, the most incredible experience was not the parade itself, but being able to lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown with the Red Star name on it, followed by a tour of the famed Arlington National Cemetery.
The Red Stars also performed for soldiers deploying to Iraq at Grafenwoer Army Base in Germany in 2003. In 2008, Derry's Veterans of Foreign Wars named the Red Stars "Volunteers of the Year" for their efforts to support the troops here at home and abroad.
The twirlers will be hosting fundraisers to help finance their trip to Washington and also invite anyone to come to the nations's capital that weekend to see the local baton experts in action.
To support the Red Stars or for information, contact Hutchinson at 432-9116.
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