Kinnick Stadium fills up with 72,000 loyal fans cheering on the University of Iowa Hawkeyes. These fans are in for a treat when entertained by the Iowa Hawkeye Marching Band and feature twirler, Golden Girl - Diana Reed!
Under the direction of Kevin Kastens the Hawkeye Marching Band consists of 240 marching members. Unique to other marching bands, the Golden Girl and Drum Major entertain with stunts during each show.
Reed shares details of her experience twirling for the University of Iowa Marching Band with TwirlZone readers:
TwirlZone: Describe a typical practice with the Band? Reed: The Hawkeye Marching Band practices 4-5 times a week for 2 hours at a time. I usually start practice with a quick warm up and a practice of my own tricks. After the band has learned the majority of their drill, I will join the band to practice the shows and put my choreography with the drill. In addition, the drum major and I will take time out of each practice to work on the tricks and partner stunts we do together. When it gets closer to game day, we will run the halftime and pregame shows straight through over and over again.
TwirlZone: Do you twirl 2 & 3 batons? Other novelties? Reed: I like to put a variety of twirling in each show. I always twirl 1, 2, and 3 batons for each game and from time to time I will do 4 batons, ribbons, knifes, or fire batons.
TwirlZone: What twirling trick is the most crowd pleasing? Reed: I think fire baton is the most crowd pleasing. The fans love watching fire baton and I will many times have people ask me when I’m twirling fire next so that they can make sure they see it during the halftime show. In addition, I also think that the partner tricks and stunts that I do with the Hawkeye Drum Major is very entertaining and crowd pleasing.
TwirlZone: Does your university provide a scholarship for taking part in the marching band? Reed: Yes, the University of Iowa’s Golden Girl position is one of the few full tuition scholarship twirling positions in the country.
TwirlZone: How many hours a week do you practice and work with the Band? Reed: As the twirler, I attend all of the marching band rehearsals, which is typically 8-10 hours a week with an extra rehearsal on game days. In addition, I usually practice an additional 10-15 hours a week in the gym on my own time to maintain my skills as a competitive twirler.
TwirlZone: Describe a typical football game day: Reed: A typical game day starts early for me with a 5:00 am breakfast. Then I have about a two hour practice starting 7:00 am. After practice I have a little down time to get dressed and ready for the game. An hour and a half before kickoff we have what we call our Rec Show, which is basically a pep assembly where the cheerleaders, dance team, Herky mascot, and fans come to get pumped up for the game. After the Rec Show, we parade over to Kinnick Stadium where we take the field for our pregame show and later our halftime show. Our halftime shows are typically 3 numbers. During the game, I cheer and twirl on the sidelines and following the game we typically take the field one last time for a post game show that consists of 3 or 4 numbers and our fight song.
TwirlZone: What is your most memorable moment twirling with your Marching Band? Reed: My most memorable moments twirling for the University of Iowa have probably come from our bowl trips over the past 3 years. I have been fortunate to twirl for the Hawkeyes in the 2003 FedEx Orange Bowl, the 2004 Outback Bowl, and in the 2005 Capital One Bowl. From these bowl trips I have had the experiences of twirling at several beach bashes in Florida, leading the band through parades at Disney World and Universal Studios, and performing at Hawkeye Huddles with over 25,000 Hawkeye fans crowded into one room. Finally, who could forgot the unforgettable catch in the last 7 seconds of last year’s bowl game that made Iowa the 2005 Capital One Bowl Champions. That was a very exciting moment that will definitely be a long lasting memory!
TwirlZone: What is your major in college? What are your plans following college? Reed: I am double majoring in Business Management and Performing Arts Entrepreneurship. My ultimate career goal is to perform on Broadway and eventually I would also like to open my own baton and dance studio.
TwirlZone: What influenced you to twirl for your University? Reed: My goal as young twirler was to one day twirl for an esteemed college and as a native Iowan, I have grown up watching the Hawkeyes all my life. In addition, I was inspired by former Miss Majorettes of America Tonya Pennock and Julie Canterbury who were also Golden Girls for the University of Iowa. However, it was after attending a Hawkeye football game that I was hooked! The enthusiasm of the crowd and excitement that filled Kinnick fascinated me and I knew at that moment that I wanted to twirl for the University of Iowa. Being the Hawkeye Golden Girl truly is a dream come true and I’m very proud to be a Hawkeye!!
TwirlZone: What other information would you like to share with TwirlZone Readers? Reed: Although I love being a solo feature twirler for the University of Iowa, I also enjoy twirling for fun with others. Therefore, I have taken the initiative to start a student organization called the University of Iowa Twirlers. This is a student run twirling club that’s purpose is to provide an opportunity for fellow students to come together to share their knowledge and expand their abilities on the performance of baton twirling. My hope is for our club to also be a step forward for the NCABT in establishing baton twirling as an official NCAA sport.
In hopes of one day having my own baton studio, I have also founded a youth baton twirling program at the University of Iowa called Diana’s Golden Twirlers. I teach about 30 girls between the ages of 6 and 16 from all over the eastern part of Iowa. The girls perform in parades, civic events, and twirling competitions throughout the year. To teach other children the art and sport that I have dedicated most of my life to is something I have a great passion for and something I desire to continue doing in the future.
Finally, twirling has given me the opportunity to fulfill one of my greatest passions – performing. Without baton twirling I would never had the experiences of traveling across Europe, performing at a Chicago Bulls halftime, winning $7,500 in the Bill Riley Talent Search competition, or leading one of the greatest college marching bands in the country down the football field. Although I have enjoyed traveling the country to compete over the years and plan to challenge myself in the future as a competitive twirler, I have found more pride in representing the University of Iowa than any other honor I have received so far. For I do not think it will be the titles I earn that I will remember 50 years from now, but rather that adrenaline rush that overcomes me when I’m leaping across the 50 yard line in front of 72, 000 screaming fans. For all those twirlers out there who want to one day twirl in college, my advise it to dream big and work hard for it because it will one day be one of the greatest experiences of your life!
Reed, originally from Norwalk, Iowa has been twirling since the age of four. Reed started twirling with the Norwalk Superstars, directed by Jan Stivers. At the age of six she started competing individually. Today, Reed's focus is on individual twirling and individual competitions.
Reeds titles include: National Show Twirling Champion, 1st Runner up in the Ladies Nationals Collegiate Twirl, Miss College Majorette of the North, Miss College Majorette of Iowa, Iowa State Grand Twirling and Strutting Champion, 2004 Junior Olympic Gold Medalist in both solo and freestyle twirling, 2004 AAU Joel Farrell Award Recipient, 2004 Bill Riley Talent Show Champion, Talent Award recipient in the 2004 Miss Iowa Pageant and placed second runner-up in the 2004 Miss Iowa Pageant.
Reed would like to thank her family for their love, support and guidance. Reed says that her family has been her biggest fans attending every game, competition, and performance. Reed also credits her coach Jan Stivers and teachers Ann Nita McDonald and Candy Kimball for playing a major role in her baton twirling career.