By Susie Spitler
For the Weekly Record Herald
WEST MILTON — The 38th West Milton area oral history recording session of Milton Memories/Reflections took place on Tuesday evening, May 30. The panel discussion topic was “M-U Marquettes”.
Jamie Wackler Gregorovic was inspired by watching her neighbor practice and watching the Marquettes perform during parades and sporting events. She was accepted in 1975, her freshman year, and continued through grade 12. She stressed that this was a team sport — it was all about teamwork and practice, practice, practice. They performed in parades, football and basketball games, and drill team competitions. She was captain her junior. year and co-captain her senior year. During her sophomore year they got new uniforms and hats. They had to always stand at attention and during hot weather it was not unusual to have members pass out. Her favorite memory was, during her senior year, to perform with the band at Walt Disney World in Orlando.
Michelle Grile Sewell also joined her freshman year and continued through senior year. She was a member of the M-U Little Majors. They marched and twirled rifles. Michelle’s sister, Sandy, was a member of the Marquettes and her goal was to become a part of that team. She was co-captain her junior. year and captain her senior year. The uniforms were wool, hot and had to be dry cleaned, which was very costly. They decided on new uniforms. Moms who could made them, others paid to have theirs made. The captains and co-captains made up their own routines, practicing five nights a week. They came up with a new routine every two weeks as they would perform the same routine at a home game and an away game, then use a new one for the next home and away games. Michelle brought along several of their uniforms, including the infamous red and white gloves.
Ginny Stamper Cox was a member of the Little Majors and was a Junior High cheerleader. She was a part of the Marquettes her sophomore through senior years. She shared the impact being a part of this group had on her life. They earned many awards, she developed close friendships, there was a sense of community through performing at pep assemblies and attending camp with the band and flag corp. She felt the team helped build school spirit and pride.
Dawn Paulus Jay was accepted as a freshman, continuing through her junior year. She loved being a part of this special group while stressing the high standards they had to meet. They represented M-U so were expected to be respected role models. They had to pass stringent inspections every week. She talked about band camp at Miller’s Grove, 8-5, sometimes in very hot temperatures. She also mentioned injuries due to so much practicing, the blisters and bleeding feet. At the end of her freshman year she was voted Most Improved.
Dawn Gowdy Cauldwell was a member ninth through 12th grades, being accepted in 1975. She tried out to “The Lion Sleeps Tonight.” She appreciates the great memories, one of which is performing at the half time of a Gems Hockey game at Hara Arena. They performed, on the ice, to “Rockin’ Robin.” She recalled a routine called “Rubber Band Man” when they had discs on their hands with four colors of rubber bands — “We were awesome!” Their flat hand position was a stringent requirement. Her position was usually on the 50 yard line, a view that made her Friday nights special. She recalled how they practiced before school in the winter, no matter what the weather.
Collen Penny Hoover joined in 1971 and recalled a more relaxed atmosphere. They didn’t routinely have inspections. One exception was when they performed at the Dayton Mall with the Drum and Bugles Corps. She got something to eat and got ketchup on the front of her uniform. Mrs. Coate made their uniforms. She was co-captain her senior year. She recalled a beach ball routine performed to “Candy Man”. They had to keep their grades up, which motivated her to be a better student. She enjoyed the practices on Thursday nights on the field after the football team was finished with their practice. She mentioned that they had to compete every week. If someone was not up to par, an alternate was called in to take their place.
Marie Klepinger Parry was an alternate beginning in 1973. Michelle’s sister, Sandy, practiced with Marie every week so she knew the routines. This allowed her to perform at every game as an alternate. She was the Squad Leader her junior and senior years. It wasn’t marching that drew her, but the dancing, a love inspired by her parents. A few years ago she took her kids to watch the homecoming parade. She tried on her Marquettes jacket. It fit so she wore it to the parade and on into the stadium stands. She will always be proud of the Marquettes. After she was married she made some 40 uniforms for the team.
Sue Saunders Minneman graduated in 1977. She was a Marquette her 10th through 12th years. As the last speaker, most had already been said. She shared that they made their own cassettes. The caption would tape the band, then take the tape to practice. Sometimes, when performing, the band played a little slower than on the practice tape. She shared how the whole group went by bus to Vincennes University in Indiana for camp — with no chaperones. She also played tennis but 51 percent of her time had to be devoted to the Marquettes. Latin teacher, Mrs. Kauffman, once put on her report card “too much drill team, not enough study.”
To hear more details, funny stories, and share their pictures, tune in to the local access station, listen on You Tub, purchase a DVD or borrow one from the M-U Library. For further information call Barb at (937) 698-6559.