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Studio X-Treme senior twirlers participate in MSU honor band day

Russellville’s Studio X-Treme senior twirlers traveled to Starkville to participate in the honor band day at the first SEC game of the year at Mississippi State Saturday.

Participants included Addy Fikes, Macie Bishop, Carlie Blaker, Malorie Pace and Abby Boyd. They participated in the entry parade with the Famous Maroon Band and also at halftime to Steve Wonder’s “Signed, Sealed, Delivered.”

Pace and Fikes are the majorette captains at Russellville High School. Blaker is the majorette captain at Hamilton, and Bishop is the majorette co-captain at Hamilton.

The Russellville twirlers were among 283 students who joined in performing with the honor band and getting to watch the band’s halftime exhibition at the first home game of the season.

They performed the fight song and “Go State,” the two Mississippi State chants. They also got to rehearse at the university’s new practice facility.

Heather Davis, owner and instructor of Studio X-Treme, said it was a rewarding experience for the girls.

“They incorporated one and two batons into a dance twirl routine,” said Davis. “They were well-equipped with skills they learned in the studio, and that made it easy for them to handle the choreography they were taught to be ready for this performance.

“I twirled for four years at Mississippi State, and I’m very proud for them to get the experience of seeing what that’s like.”

Davis said the event is held to generate interest for possible recruitment to the university. “It provides an opportunity to see what it’s like to be part of a larger band at a big school and lets them see if that’s something they would enjoy.”

Davis said since the Hamilton band has 35 people in it, to perform in a band with more than 400 in it was a massive adjustment for Blaker and Bishop, but they handled it well.

Russellville students Pace, Fikes and Boyd are used to a band around 150, still much smaller than the Mississippi State honor band.

Fikes described the environment as welcoming, noting everyone was “very down-to-earth.”

“It was fun to spend the day with the band and the feature twirlers. I enjoyed getting to be on the field with their band – something you don’t normally get to do unless you are going to school there,” she said.

“I liked how they would ring cowbells. The fans were loud, and that all made it more exciting.”

Fikes said she thought she’d be nervous about performing in front of thousands of people, not to mention those watching the live televised show, but it “really wasn’t that bad.”

For Pace, the experience of getting to twirl on an SEC field was a welcome opportunity. “It was a great experience,” said Pace, “and I would love to do it again.”

Blaker agreed. “I loved when we were walking with the parade and everyone was ringing their cow bells and yelling for us. It was such a cool experience.

“I really didn’t feel nervous at all when I got out on the field,” Blaker added. “I just kind of zoned out and didn’t focus on the crowd.

“I am planning to try out to go to college there.”

Bishop said she too hopes to enroll at MSU. “It was a beautiful day and an exciting and friendly atmosphere,” she said. “They had a really nice practice field, and I enjoyed watching their exhibition. You feel very supported and welcome there.”

Davis said current Mississippi State feature twirler Channing Perrett came to Studio X-Treme a few weeks ago to work with all the girls to help get them ready. “She’s been very helpful and welcoming.”

“Saturday’s event was bigger and better than anything similar we’ve done before,” said Boyd. “I didn’t expect to be nervous, but when I walked out and saw how many people were watching, that took some getting used to.

“It was pretty fun, though – definitely something I would do again.”