Villagers are accustomed to seeing The Villages Twirlers and Drum Corps perform at many local events, but may not realize that Ann Pelle and her team take it on the road several times a year. On Saturday, the Twirlers performed in the Veteran’s Day Parade in downtown Orlando. They will perform in the Florida Citrus Parade in downtown Orlando on Dec. 30. The Citrus Parade is recorded and shown on television on New Year’s Day as part of the Citrus Bowl pre-celebration.
This is the sixth year the Twirlers and Drum Corp will participate in the Citrus Parade. The group loves doing this parade, Pelle said. People come out looking for the “Grandma Twirlers.” Sometimes the cheers and screams are so loud it is hard to hear the drummers.
The parade life is not all glamour and accolades. The routes are two miles plus, there is a pre-parade show and a lot of standing while waiting for the parade to begin. In order to be ready for these extra-long days, Pelle adds a two-week conditioning class to their regular weekly rehearsals prior to the parades.
Starting in 2003 with nine members, the group now holds a membership of 105 including the 30 men and women that make up the Drum Line. Typically about 65 participate in the parades.
Locally people will have plenty of chances to see this group in action as they participate in holiday parades in Lady Lake, Fruitland Park and Bushnell.
And you don’t want to miss their performances at the tree lighting ceremonies on the Squares beginning with Spanish Springs on November 30. The twirlers will be donning brand-new bright-red uniforms, performing new routines choreographed by Ann Pelle. A special treat included in all the performances on the Squares are the fire baton twirlers. Pelle along with veteran twirlers Kathy Berlin and Katy Kendall will be twirling fire batons at all three tree-lighting ceremonies.