A major(ette) impact
The Park City High School band in the 1940s and early 1950s was in its prime. Under the direction of long time director Byron D. Jones, the band had received 49 awards. During Jones’s tenure, which ended in 1954, the high school band performed at many parades and noteworthy events, including playing in front of 67,000 people at the East-West Shriners Game in San Francisco in 1950. The band did not do it alone, however. Leading the way at many events were the Park City majorettes and pepsters, entertaining the crowd with their lively dances routines and skilled baton twirling.
Not to be confused with cheerleaders, majorettes and pepsters marched along to a band’s tune by doing choreographed dances moves all while intricately twirling their batons as they led the band. Some advanced majorettes have even been known to twirl flags, knives, and fire batons. The Park City High School majorettes stuck to the classic baton, impressing crowds wherever they went.
Across the country majorettes were known for their elaborate costumes, and the majorettes and pepsters in Park City were no different. The Park City High School majorettes made their own uniforms, which consisted of white satin skirts and buttoned tops, black hats and white cowboy boots. On the other hand, pepsters wore white, long-sleeved blouses and black pants.
It wasn’t only their uniforms that made the majorettes unique, but their performances as well. In 1950 one reporter in The Park Record believed that majorettes were important components to the high school band, claiming they “perhaps make the music sound better.” Later that same year, the Record again had nothing but praise for the majorettes and pepsters, stating their dance moves were “clever” and that they “put the crowd in good spirit” at one of the basketball games.
The majorettes and pepsters were able to perform at events outside of Park City along with the band. In 1947 they led the band at the National Aeronautics Association’s Utah Aviation Day parade in Salt Lake City, a parade which also included 39 new planes of various designs towed down Salt Lake’s Main Street. In addition, while in San Francisco in 1950 for the Shriner’s game, majorettes Marilyn Henrion and Stanice Worthman, along with director Bryan Jones and drum major Beverly Hall, were featured on television and in numerous Bay Area publications. The Park City High School band had many achievements during its heyday, but they did so following the majorettes and pepsters.
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Jennifer Pharr Davis, the 2012 National Geographic Adventurer of the Year, who set a record of covering the Appalachian Trail will speak of the ‘Pursuit of Endurance’ at the Park City Library on Wednesday.