Since 2011, the Marching Tar Heels were unable to find a single majorette skilled enough to join the band. That is, until first-year students Ava Smith and Ciara Gillis twirled onto the scene. Now the band has two baton-wielding performers for its pregame and halftime shows.
“We’ve had students audition in the past. We don’t always have students audition, but in the past couple years, I haven’t felt that the students who auditioned would have contributed in a positive enough way to the ensemble,” band director Jeffrey Fuchs said. “And then Ciara and Ava both auditioned this year, and they have great skills and great presence.”
Smith and Gillis both have extensive experience in competitive baton-twirling. Smith started twirling in fourth grade, and Gillis when she was 5.
“Luckily, we came in and we were about at the same skill level, which really helped," Gillis said. "And then our teacher, Zoe, was brought in, so it’s kind of a learning experience for all three of us, working things out together. But we get along really well, and it’s been really fun getting to work with her.”
Jordan Showalter, a senior drum major for the Marching Tar Heels, said that the band was excited to add the majorettes.