Marching Band Silks Proke Spirit and Awareness


Photo courtesy of Jennifer Slusser

Silks, position! This year’s silks perform their routine for the “Star Spangled Banner.” The girls trained all summer and finally showcased their skills for the crowd at this year’s marching band showcase October 16, 2020.

Attention! Silk captain, Paige Radel, holds a cradle move after a long practice of teaching her team to march. Radel and her teammates have begun practicing for their first parade of the year in Juniata’s Memorial Day parade. (Photographed by Andrea Slusser)

Feeling the excitement of the crowd and listening to the band blare the school’s fight song, most viewers focus their attention on the football players storming into view. However, hidden in the commotion amongst the cheerleaders, athletes and spectators, the silks perform their perfected routines along with the marching band. 


To many, participating as a member of the school’s silk team holds experiences that prove as highlights to a girl’s time in junior high and high school.  Though it acts as the centerpiece of many lives, others have no knowledge of what the sport entails. 


Paige Radel, silk captain, said, “Silks is a unique sport and not one that you hear of everyday, like football, soccer and basketball. It’s a hidden sport, but it is still something that is really cool and that can be really important to many people and to their lives.” 


The silks spend several weeks practicing for about two hours a day year round. They twirl and throw large five foot tall flags around their bodies working on perfecting routines and move while attempting to stay in sync with their fellow teammates. 


Returning silks also find that when teaching their incoming teammates, they learn valuable experiences that they believe to prove vital for their futures. 


Laney Rupp, silk co-captain, said, “I learned that you have to work hard for your dreams, and that it’s not easy sometimes.” 


Radel said, “You have to go in with that mindset and I think that in a way, silks will help you to prepare for the real world. Like when you go to pick a future career path, to know to be determined, to apply yourself and to work hard towards your goals. Silks taught me a lot about how much your hard work really can pay off for you, and how much hard work you have to put in for that goal.” 


The girls find that when teaching others, they too learn themselves. They further explained that participating in silks not only includes experiences, but fun and enjoyable meets between friends at each practice. 


Madison Musselman said, “Silks are always fun and everyone is inviting. It’s really fun, and you get to work up to big performances with the other marching band members.” 


All girls in the school district can apply for a spot in the junior high silk team and learn moves and routines from returning silks and advisors. During the summer, the enrolled silks attend band camp along with other marching band members for several weeks in June and August. The captain and co-captain create the routines to match the band’s chosen songs, then all of the girls learn and thoroughly practice the different routines and moves with the returning silks. After completing band camp, the girls are ready to showcase their newly learned skills in football pregame, halftime shows and parades. 


Though many find silks difficult to handle both physically and mentally, it teaches girls how to maintain a positive mindset. They go through their issues in silks together and naturally become a family on the field. Recently, the silks came together again to practice and perform their sport for the Memorial Day parade. The silks will also attend band camp once again this summer to practice and learn as a team for their next summer season.


Participating in the silk team encourages both returning and new girls to make new friends and learn real world experiences together. They spend lots of time practicing and working with each other to grow their skills and commit to the sport that they love. At future competitions and performances, appreciate their efforts and notice the emotion and togetherness that the team presents in their showcases.