CCA senior gets once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to perform at presidential inaugural concert
Andrea Griesacker's team of baton twirlers — TwirlTasTix — will take the stage at the Lincoln Memorial on Jan. 19.
When Commonwealth Charter Academy senior Andrea Griesacker began baton twirling, she never imagined that one day she would be performing on a national stage at the presidential inaugural concert.
The "Voices of the People" concert, held Jan. 19 at the Lincoln Memorial, will kick off inaugural activities. The president-elect and vice president-elect will be in attendance.
Andrea’s team, TwirlTasTix, was one of 16 groups selected from among 400 applicants to receive the honor. With members ranging from 6 to 21, the team has competed in the National Baton Twirling Association’s competition, placing in the top 10 in 10 events and earning a third-place finish. Andrea is the only Pennsylvanian on the Maryland-based team.
When the coach told team members they had been selected as finalists for the concert, Andrea says, they were excited about the magnitude of the opportunity and immediately threw themselves into working on their routine.
She is most excited, however, that her grandmother will get to see her perform. “Because of her age, she can’t come to many competitions,” Andrea says. “It will mean a lot to have her in the audience.”
Andrea joined the group three years ago, although her love for twirling began years earlier.
“My mom signed me up for ballet, tap and baton twirling when I was really young," Andrea said. "I tried different sports when I got older, but nothing felt the same."
During Andrea’s fifth-grade year – the same year she moved to Hanover, York County, and enrolled with CCA – she joined a local baton-twirling group and began to hone her skills.
After seeing TwirlTasTix – which was established in 2002 – perform and sitting in on a few practices, Andrea knew she had to be a part of the magic.
“The team just felt like a big family. ... I really enjoy the sportsmanship involved,” she said.
TwirlTasTix members create their own choreography, which consists of a mixture of group and solo routines engineered to give every member a chance to shine. “It makes a very interesting give and take. You can be an extremely good soloist but not do well with team performances – it’s all about cooperation,” Andrea said.
She prefers performing with her team, but Andrea stands out no matter the number of twirlers on stage. She and a partner performed a duet during last year’s Junior Olympics, and they walked away with the gold medal.
It was her third year participating in the Junior Olympics, and she hopes to qualify for next summer’s competition.
TwirlTasTix holds practices two evenings a week, a schedule that Andrea said is easy to maintain thanks to CCA’s flexible structure. In addition to baton twirling, she participates in as many field trips as she can, is involved in the STEM Conservatory program and is a member of the school’s adventure club.
While she hasn't made any college decisions, Andrea has been accepted to several universities and plans to study biology, in hopes of entering the veterinary field.
Wherever she goes, baton twirling will remain a part of her future. Andrea said she plans to continue with TwirlTasTix for as long as she can.