Kilgore College Rangerettes have returned from a trip across the pond to jolly old England, where they performed their signature routines for an international audience.

The Birmingham International Tattoo, an event featuring performances by military, school and college marching bands from the US, the UK and Europe, was held Nov. 23 and 24. The ‘Rettes were featured performers at the Tattoo.

This is the organization’s second performance in an official military marching tattoo as they were featured in the Basel Tattoo in Basel, Switzerland, in the summer of 2018, according to a press release on the KC website.

“It has been such an amazing opportunity to bring a little Kilgore, Texas and the USA to the beautiful county of England,” said Rangerette Director Dana Blair.

“In the last year and a half, this group has brought their All-American flair to Basel, Switzerland, Modena and Milan, Italy and now Birmingham and London, England. There is nothing more rewarding than to see these young ladies perform so beautifully and be so impressive to other performing groups from around the world. It has simply been amazing!”

The trip was a special one, marking a momentous occasion for the internationally recognized precision dance team: in 2020, the Rangerettes will mark 80 years since teacher and drill team director Gussie Nell Davis first created the iconic Kilgore group.

The Tattoo performance was well-received, according to Blair.

“The crowd’s reaction to the girls’ performance of the high kick and special ‘Texas’ skirt routine gave us all chills! The audience roared and absolutely loved it. We could hear so many people commenting all around us and we were so proud.”

In addition to performing for the international audience, the Rangerettes also had the opportunity to visit historical and cultural landmarks on their trip.

“The girls also loved experiencing the culture of the English people. They visited castles, saw the Crown Jewels and the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace. It was an exceptional educational experience for them,” Blair said.

Kilgore College President Dr. Brenda Kays also remarked on the momentous event.

“The girls were just phenomenal and they were received so very well,” Kays said, noting the ‘Rettes received “rave reviews.”

“They did Kilgore proud, they did the State of Texas proud,” she said. “It’s always commented upon: not just their grace and athleticism, but their demeanor, their leadership. They’re just classy individuals.”

The Birmingham International Tattoo, first held in 1989, is held each year in November at the Barclaycard Arena, featuring massed military bands and displays, according to KC’s press release.

It attracts performers from the United States, Europe and Russia — as well as British bands from the Royal Marines, Coldstream Guards, King’s Division and Gurkhas.

The festival features traditional military music, field gun racing, dancers, dog display teams and one of the largest groups of standard bearers with around 120 standards on parade at each performance.

Each year the event raises money for the Royal Star and Garter Homes that provide care for disabled ex-service men and women.


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