PARKERSBURG, W.Va. — This past summer a young Parkersburg woman was awarded the title of Majorette Queen of America, which is the Drum Majorettes of America’s oldest and highest title.
Lily Wright was the feature twirler at Parkersburg South High School, before she graduated in 2015 and moved on to Marshall University.
“I guess you could say twirling is a huge part of my life. My mother used to twirl and help coach twirlers in the area. Being around the sport when I was younger and falling in love with the shiny batons, of course I just had to become a twirler as well,” Wright said.
Wright won the DMA titles of 2012 Teen Majorette Queen, 2015 Senior Majorette Queen and 2016 Miss Majorette of the Year Elite.
Wright, who is 18, has been twirling batons since she was 3. She has twirled baton and competed at various competitions within the United States.
She competed in the Drum Majorettes of America competition circuit and at DMA Nationals this past summer, when she reached her goal of winning the organization’s highest title, Majorette Queen of America.
“Everything happened so quickly, it was quite a surreal experience,” Wright said. “Now I get to travel to represent DMA at performances and contests throughout the year.”
The ceremony took place at the end of July during DMA Nationals at Wingate University outside Charlotte, N.C.
“Ever since she has started competing nationally, it has been a goal of hers to become DMA’s Majorette Queen of America,” Eric, her father, said. “Although I am proud of her because she has accomplished a lifelong goal, I’m more proud of the work and determination that she has put forth to achieve it. It also gives her a platform to be a positive role model for other twirlers.”
Wright is a biology major at Marshall University. She is the featured twirler of the school band, the Marching Thunder.
Besides classes, Wright’s time is filled with band practice and performances.
“It’s going to be a busy but exciting season,” Wright said.
Majorette Queen is the Drum Majorettes of America’s oldest and highest title. To compete for Majorette Queen, one must first become an elite level contestant by accumulating a certain amount of competition wins and then obtain a regional qualifying title.
The next step is competing at DMA Nationals, which is held each summer at Wingate University in North Carolina. During the competition, each contestant competes in solo technical routine, dance fancy strut routine, talent presentation, evening gown modeling, interview suit modeling, on stage interview and a private interview.
Wright said the fancy strut routine is her favorite.
All the events are weighted and added together. The contestant with the highest overall score is crowned the winner.
The Majorette Queen travels throughout the year to be the hostess and representative of DMA at competitions and performances.
“The title means so much to me because I have grown up in the organization. I have always looked up to the queens and wanted to become just like them,” Wright said. “It’s always seemed so intangible, though, so to finally be in this position and get to be that figure and inspiration for other young twirlers is a dream come true.”
Wright said a majorette in the traditional sense is a girl who leads a marching band while twirling her baton. However, baton twirling has evolved beyond that definition. Nowadays, majorette is a term for anyone, girl or boy, who combines technical baton twirls with dance and gymnastics, whether it be for individual competition or the marching band, she said.
“Being a majorette is a lot more artistic now, which is something about it that I really enjoy,”Wright said.
Wright’s mom, Misty, said, “It is just such a proud time for her dad and I. She has worked so hard for this. Lily is truly a beautiful, inspiring young woman and we are so happy that she has the opportunity to share this with others while reigning and twirling for Marshall this year.”
Wright has been involved in teaching batons for the past several years. She currently teaches a group of individual twirlers called the Be-You-Tiful Twirlers.
“We focus on not only building our technical twirling skills, but also learning how to be happy and confident with wherever we are in our twirling and life journeys,” Wright said. “I think it is just as beneficial for the girls as it is me. They are full of so much promise and energy, and teaching them is definitely a light in my life.”
Wright and her class are preparing for the Marshall University Twirler For A Day on Oct. 22.
At halftime of the Marshall football game, the Marching Thunder is inviting twirlers from across West Virginia to perform on the field with the band.
Wright and the Be-You-Tiful Twirlers are also getting ready for the DMA Fall Classic competition. It is one of DMA’s three annual national level competitions Nov 5-6 at Parkersburg South High School.