In 1973, Rob and Sheila Michael of Clyde started the non-profit High Society Baton Corps in Fremont. Now, their daughter, Nan Kramer, leads the group, which has branched out to Bellevue and Bowling Green.
Because Tiffin twirlers have expressed interest, Kramer is to give twirling instruction in Tiffin. She is offering a free information and registration night Wednesday in the Tiffin Developmental Center gymnasium. The classes are to meet 6-6:45 p.m. each Tuesday at the same location.
"We've been asked for years to come into Tiffin. ... Some (Tiffin students) have been coming to Fremont to practice, but I want to get it established here in Tiffin," Kramer said.
PHOTO BY STEVE WILLIAMS
Members of High Society Baton Corps gather for a photo Saturday after the Tiffin-Seneca Heritage Festival parade.
Having been a twirler herself for more than 40 years, she enjoys passing on the skills to youth. Her most famous student is Jonathan Burkin, who appeared on the television program, "America's Got Talent." He is the world champion of the men's division and member of the U.S. World Team.
As the featured twirler for the University of Maryland marching band, Burkin marched in President Barack Obama's inaugural parade and performed a solo in front of the viewing stand.
"He comes in as a guest instructor for me. He lives in Maryland right now," Kramer said. "It's really neat when he comes in to do clinics. I'm real happy he still helps out his own group when he gets a chance."
High Society participated in the Heritage Festival Parade Saturday and passed out information brochures. Girls and boys ages 4-19 are eligible to sign up for lessons. Families with more than one twirler get a discount. The monthly fee is all-inclusive.
"You pay $35 a month. We take care of the uniforms. The group purchases the uniforms and you just rent them for $10. ... Then you're not spending $100 on a uniform that's going to end up in the closet when you're done," Kramer said.
Although the corps does enter competitions, Kramer does not charge an extra fee for those who want to participate. Kramer said family time is important, so she limits travel distances and does not schedule a parade or contest every weekend.
The students are coached according to age and skill level. Assisting Kramer for more than 20 years has been Tabitha Kirsch, who also serves as adviser for the Tiffin University majorettes.
"We all practice in our own towns, with smaller class sizes, but then when we come together, we all march. We've got over 100 members, so its really impressive when you see us coming down the road," Kramer said.
Some of the High Society members are to be on hand for demonstrations Wednesday. For more details, call Kramer at (419) 603-0899 or visit the group's Facebook page.