Twirling a 65-year habit for Clarene McNeal


By Glenn Battishill - gbattishill@aimmediamidwest.com



Clarene McNeal twirls a baton Wednesday morning at SourcePoint. McNeal twirled the batons after she played piano in the SourcePoint Elastic Band.


Glenn Battishill | The Gazette

As “Pine Cones and Holly Berries” by The Osmonds begins to play over the stereo, Clarene McNeal starts swirling two batons with red, white, and green ribbons attached to them.

As the song transitions, she gracefully puts down the batons and picks up another baton, this one with green glow sticks on either end. She begins twirling them again and the green glows are blurs at the ends of the spinning batons.

After a moment, she puts down the glowing baton in favor of two shiny red, white, and blue batons and begins twirling one in each hand.

A smile never leaves her face.

As the song crescendos, she begins tossing the batons in the air to the beat of the song. She catches the baton right on the final beat of the song and strikes a pose.

The crowd at SourcePoint, who stopped in the middle of their lunches to watch McNeal, gives her a big round of applause.

McNeal, a Delaware resident, said she has been twirling the batons for 65 years and performed a short routine Wednesday at SourcePoint. She also plays piano in SourcePoint’s Elastic Band.

“[65 years ago] I saw some majorettes and liked it so I started learning in my hometown,” McNeal said. “I love it.”

McNeal said she has been teaching the baton and piano for 55 years and ran her own 200-member baton corps, the Suncoast Twirlers, in Florida for years.

McNeal said these days she keeps her routines more or less the same, but does adapt them to go with the music as much as necessary.

“It’s just fun to be able to still do it at my age,” McNeal said. “I’m doing it just about once a month. I really like to twirl to Ohio State songs.”

McNeal says she still enjoys twirling, but doesn’t teach it anymore.

“I never twirled for any of my students because they were better than me,” she joked Wednesday. But she said she does it at SourcePoint because “nobody sees [twirling] that much anymore.”

Clarene McNeal twirls a baton Wednesday morning at SourcePoint. McNeal twirled the batons after she played piano in the SourcePoint Elastic Band.
http://www.delgazette.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/40/2017/12/web1_DSC_0962.jpgClarene McNeal twirls a baton Wednesday morning at SourcePoint. McNeal twirled the batons after she played piano in the SourcePoint Elastic Band. Glenn Battishill | The Gazette

By Glenn Battishill

gbattishill@aimmediamidwest.com

Contact Glenn Battishill at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.

Contact Glenn Battishill at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.