September 21, 2006
When the Tulane football team plays its first home game on Sept. 30, the crowd will get fired up with Green Wave pride not only by the Tulane Marching Band--this year the band also has a featured baton twirler.
When Erica Andrew, a first-year student from Salem, N.H., applied to Tulane, she was delighted to discover that Barry Spanier, the band's director, was looking for a twirler.
"I visited other schools and they were great schools, but I didn't fall in love with them," says Andrew, who has been twirling since she was 7 years old.
While she attended Destination Tulane in April, Andrew tried out for Spanier and the deal was clinched. With her extensive experience twirling in high school, Andrew came to New Orleans for the Sugar Bowl in 2003 with the world champion Red Star Twirlers, her hometown twirling troupe. The veteran twirler says she has marched in at least a dozen parades every year since she began the sport.
With the Red Star Twirlers, Andrew went on the Germany Performance Tour 2004 throughout Germany and the Czech Republic, including the U.S. military base at Grafenwoehr that deploys soldiers to Iraq.
"I've always wanted to twirl in college, but academics come first with me," says the communication major who also is considering business. "I wanted a school with a good academic program, and I love all the courses I'm taking now at Tulane."
Tulanians will see Andrew stepping out in her custom-designed costume at the first home game of the Green Wave football team in the newly refurbished Louisiana Superdome. She also will twirl at pep rallies. To get the crowd fired up, she might break out the fire batons her dad recently sent from home.
"I'll use the fire batons at pep rallies, but not at games in the Superdome," Andrew says. "The stakes are very high for me, but I've twirled in the Superdome before. I don't get nervous; I get excited for it." Spanier says Andrew's skills match her enthusiasm. "She will be a great additional component to our overall presentation, in addition to the color guard with short and tall flags, the brass, the woodwinds and the drumline."
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