Retro: Batons at the ready as bands give it a twirl

Drum Majorettes- Darnall Grenadiers Band'22nd May 1990
Drum Majorettes- Darnall Grenadiers Band'22nd May 1990
0
Have your say

BANG the drum! Here come the majorettes.

Sheffield’s marching bands have been many and magnificent down the years - and they have almost always been led by an ornately uniformed, baton-twirling front woman.

Drum Majorettes'Chapeltown Drum Majorette Gala, High Green, Sheffield'29th August 1982

Drum Majorettes'Chapeltown Drum Majorette Gala, High Green, Sheffield'29th August 1982

Groups such as Manor Militaires and Norfolk Grenadiers brought the beat to parades and festivals across the city through the Seventies, Eighties and Nineties.

Today Tuesday Retro continues its A-Z series of hobbies enjoyed in our region and D is for drum majorettes. “It’s completely different to most things that girls do,” says Rebecca Shiel, a 15-year-old trainer with the Steel City Stars group. “I started when I was five and all my friends were doing jazz or ballet or whatever but this made me feel really unique.

“It’s lots of fun and obviously there’s real health benefits. Plus when you’re on parade and you see people smiling at what you’re doing, it’s a wonderful feeling.”

Today, there are just two troops in the city - the Steel City Stars and Sheffield Militaries Majorettes. Both formed from the ashes of the old Norfolk Heritage Park Majorettes (“we changed our name,” says Rebecca, “because away from Sheffield everyone presumed we were from Norfolk”).

But as little as 25 years ago there were several bands all across Sheffield including The Concord Drum and Bugle Corps, The Star Manor Militaires Band & Majorettes, and Darnall Grenadiers Band. “A lot of the same people are still involved, though,” explains Rebecca, of the Manor. “It’s quite addictive. You start at four or five and then you just want to keep doing it. The group is like one big family.”