The 40-year-old mother of two has taught baton for years, and doing what she loves may be the secret to her youthful looks.
“I first started twirling baton when my older sister was a majorette for Oxford High School,” said Mixon. “I was 11 years old.”
In 1997, Lineville High School educators asked Mixon to be the majorette sponsor/instructor, and then, in 2000, educators from Oxford High School asked her to sponsor their majorettes. A sponsor is one who schedules practices sessions and coordinates activities for the squad.
One mother who watched from the sidelines during a recent baton class at Grace Baptist Church is Lorie Denton. She said her 10-year-old daughter loved twirling the baton.
“Audrey has always played softball,” said Denton, “but this season she went with only baton. She always looks forward to baton lessons.”
Audrey and about 20 other girls were in two classes on a recent Tuesday evening. The younger ones, the beginning and intermediate students, watched their teacher hold the baton and toss it in the air, and then they copied her moves. The older students, those in the advanced class, organized themselves into a circle, and, then, a senior majorette student led them in their practice.
Mixon stayed focused on one of her younger students.
“Good job,” she said to little Kristen Rhodes. “You are doing so well.”
She gave another student a high five for a move that was well executed.
Mixon works at a full-time job, and then she teaches baton to students from White Plains, Oxford and Munford during the evenings on Mondays through Thursdays. She teaches from 6:15-8:05, and adds private lessons into her schedule, too.
“Working with the majorettes is extremely rewarding,” she said. “Seeing them excel at something they love makes it all worth the time and energy.”
Also, each summer, Mixon hosts camps. She teaches OHS majorettes for a week, and she teaches during band camp, too. During football season, she works with majorettes for one and a half to two hours each afternoon.
Mixon is glad that, during the past few seasons, majorettes are part of the half-time shows during marching seasons. For several years, during the 1970s and 1980s, majorette squads became flag twirlers. Few schools had majorettes skilled enough to perform. Then, a renewed interest in twirling batons began.
“It is a difficult skill that takes a lot of practice,” said Mixon. “It involves coordination, rhythm, flexibility and twirling skills.”
Thanks to the number of students taking baton lessons, Mixon has seen the majorette squad grow from four at OHS to 17 this year, the largest number she has ever had.
One student that especially loves baton is Mixon’s daughter, Raeanne Pugh. She is a junior at OHS.
“My favorite part of being on a line is my friendship with all of the girls,” said Raeanne.
Another OHS majorette is Madison Thomas, a senior. She loves the performing.
“It is an honor,” said Madison, “when we go on the fields on Friday nights after practicing all year long.”
“We become like sisters,” said Reanne.
Mixon said her students are like her family.
“They know they can come to me with any of their life problems,” she said, “not just issues with (being a) majorette.”
Mixon is dedicated to girls who know how to use a baton with a flourish. She is behind each of them from their first attempts to when they, hopefully, are majorettes in the band. Not surprisingly, her busiest season is leading up to majorette tryouts.
For information about taking baton classes, call Mixon at 256-310-5508.
Call Sherry at 256-235-3533 or email to firstname.lastname@example.org.