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Boston Globe, 1/22/13, p.  3, col.  1



Tunemasters Majorette O’Dierna Picked for Ceremony


by d.  laja


        National television viewers who did not see the entire Inaugural Parade were sure to notice the high school majorette standing at attention on the right side of the screen as President Barack Obama addressed the huge D.C.  crowd at his second inauguration -- despite a brief camera-tuning mishap that made everyone else look like space aliens.


        Brigid O’Dierna, the majorette for the regionally-famous Tunemasters, the marching band of Frederick Douglass High School in Roxbury, was selected from among the many high school bands in the Inaugural Parade to represent them on the stand.  Ms. O’Dierna was easy to pick out among the heavy clothes, hats and gloves of dignitaries and family members in the bone-chilling sunshine, in her uniform consisting only of pasties, a “microthong” and sparkly flip-flops.  She stayed admirably motionless during the speech, smiling at the crowd while holding her baton in “ready” posture under her arm.


        Ms. O’Dierna’s bare shoulders, purple in the 29-degree-Fahrenheit weather, were responsible for a color tint mishap at CNN Headquarters.  “So help us,” said an unnamed staffer, “we had never seen skin that color before.  We thought the tint was messed up.”  The “correction” changed Ms. O’Dierna’s skin to normal but resulted in the President and everyone else on the stand taking on a greenish hue.  The “correction” was corrected after thirty seconds.


        The Inaugural Stand was only the last ordeal that Ms. O’Dierna had to endure in her scanty costume.  Leading the Tunemasters, one of 17 high school bands, along the mile-long route, she had endured strong winds and a brief snow squall which made the band almost invisible.  “The instruments stuck to our lips,” said Rodney Sykes, a trombonist who nevertheless had the benefit of a full-coverage outfit.  “We were all wearing thermals underneath but we were still freezing.”


        “It was a cold and windy march for us,” said the Tunemaster’s long-time bandleader, Sgt.  R.T.  Watson (retired), “but we met the challenge and it was an honor to be invited.”  The brevity of Ms. O’Dierna’s uniform makes it easier for her to pivot and do high throws, he added.


        After the ceremony, Ms. O’Dierna spoke briefly with First Children Malia and Sasha, obviously admiring their warm but fashionable coats.  Sasha asked how to hold a baton.  “She’s got a great grip,” O’Dierna said.  “They are both friendly, regular girls.”


        And did she exchange any words with the newly-sworn in President?


        “He shook my hand and laughed and said I deserved a hot bath,” O’Dierna said.  “Right after that my band came by and I slipped into a long coat and Uggs.  They’re all great guys.”



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