Westernaires celebrate 60 years of high kicks, dance

Published 10:12 am Friday, September 23, 2016

NEDERLAND — Nederland High School Westernaires are gearing up to celebrate 60 years.

The high kicking, dance and drill team alumni will take to the field prior to the start of Friday’s night’s game against Vidor. They will be joined by the current Westernaires team and a group of young hopefuls called Small Stars, Tabetha Franklin, who is heading up publicity for the event, said.

Former Westernaires can attest to the fact that hairstyles and uniforms have changed since the inception of the group 60 years ago.

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Stacè Voivedich was a proud Westernaire in 1974-1975 and distinctly remembers those days.

“We used to have to wear wigs,” Voivedich said. “It was flipped at the shoulders so we all looked the same. Now they wear a bun under their hats. I remember taking my wig to the beauty shop every week and had a Styrofoam head to put it on.”

The uniforms changed as well. In the beginning skirts could only be 3-inches above the knee. The style of fringe was adjusted through the years too.

Kay DeCuir was a Westernaire from 1979 to 1981.

“I had a platinum white Dolly Parton wig,” deCuir said. “We were picture perfect and all of the wigs flipped right at the shoulders so we were identical. Wig colors were either platinum blonde, brown or black.”

Then there was the blue eye shadow, weekly weigh-ins, nail checks and more.

By her senior year the wig requirement was changed, she said with a laugh.

“It was a ball. There were 51 of us, five officers. I was an alternate officer. We danced in competitions all over and the furthest was in Anaheim, California,” she said.

In order to afford the plane ticket and accommodations the drill team had fundraisers. One such fundraiser had the girls in roller skates as car hops at The Sonic.

“It snowed that year,” she said. “We still wore roller skates and heavy letterman jackets.”

Voivedich and DeCuir have fond memories of their time as a Westernaire.

“Some of my best memories from high school are being a Westernaire and we are still friends today,” DeCuir said.

Voivedich has three friends coming in to stay with her and go to the game and the scheduled luncheon to follow on Saturday.

“We’ve remained friends. It’s a really good group,” Voivedich said.

But the long hours of practice and performing in all sorts of weather are all worth it for these women.

“It was like once we marched onto the field that didn’t matter,” she said. “We heard Grandioso and knew it was time to dance. We just loved it.”

Mary Meaux: 409-721-2429

Twitter: @MaryMeauxPANews