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RBHS twirler performs with honor band

By Brandi Miller for the FCT

Anyone who has heard the Red Bay High School band knows how impressive the band is sounding these days. The number of band members is increasing, and the pride in the band is at an all-time high. Along with the awesome music the band makes, the twirlers and color guard are putting on amazing displays of talent. One of the new twirlers, Layla Bilstein, recently had the opportunity to take her talents to the next level by participating in honors band at Mississippi State University.

Bilstein, a sophomore at RBHS, participated in honors band Sept. 3 at the halftime show between Mississippi State and South Alabama.

“My baton teacher, Mrs. Heather Davis, was a twirler at MSU, and she told my mom it would be a good experience for me if I would do this, so my mom went online and signed me up for it,” said Bilstein.

The day started with an early trip to Starkville to the MSU campus. Bilstein and her mother had to be checked in by 6 a.m. for sign-in. Once all the students were signed in, the honor band was divided based upon what they were going to do during the performance.

“Once we were separated, I was able to meet the other twirlers,” said Bilstein. “We learned our new routine from 7:30-8:30 a.m., then we all practiced together until around 9 a.m.”

Bilstein is a first-year twirler, so this was a new and exciting experience for her. She said doing the halftime shows at the RBHS football games helped prepare her for the nervousness that often accompanies performing in front of a large crowd.

“Getting out on the field in front of all those people was definitely the hardest part of the day,” said Bilstein. “I had never performed in front of anybody until the first football game, so this is all still new to me.”

Bilstein said she would advise anyone who is thinking about starting twirling to not get frustrated and give up. She said the only way to improve is through practice and, in the end, it is a sport that anyone could love.

“I would like to thank my teacher Heather Davis for telling me I can do it and for pushing me to do better and to do it right if I was going to do it,” said Bilstein. “I would also like to thank my mom, Lorie Collum, for always reminding me I can do better if I try and to always do my best. I want to thank Johnathon Hill my band director for letting me twirl this year even though I haven’t been twirling long – and for letting me twirl fire, at that.”

The experience of twirling at MSU is something Bilstein will always remember. Not many students get the opportunity to do something so memorable.