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Drill Team

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NEWS
February 15, 1991 | By Sydney Trent, Inquirer Staff Writer
Listen up everybody, it's time to rock With a brand new group called the Onyx Hip-Hop It's really quite simple, it's easy to do Listen up, everybody, we're about to . . . The sounds carried outside the double metal doors of the West End Community Center in Chester - the pounding thump of feet, the harsh bark of voices. Inside the aging brick building last week, on scarred wooden floors surrounded by punched-out walls, the practice session had begun. As a half-dozen boys chanted and strutted in the back of the room, 13 girls, their pigtails bound in bright barrettes, stomped and spun, slid and shuffled, dipped and dived.
NEWS
April 7, 2013 | BY SOLOMON LEACH, Daily News Staff Writer leachs@phillynews.com, 215-854-5903
SHORTLY BEFORE Gregory Scott was killed in February, he asked a few close friends to help him revive the Gold Coast Buccaneers, a drill team that he had been part of since the 1960s. Scott, 55, wanted the West Philadelphia group to return to its glory days when it would literally stomp the competition to shame. But before the group could really come together, Scott was gunned down outside his West Philadelphia home by his cousin James Scott III and another man, James Hiller, police say. Now the group is trying to move forward without the man affectionately known as "Chops," whom they considered the glue of the Buccaneers.
NEWS
March 21, 2004 | By Gloria A. Hoffner INQUIRER SUBURBAN STAFF
As Aschenel Hall raised her arms in a sweeping arch over her head to demonstrate a dance move, the gold charm around her neck reflected a flash of light. The charm moved with Hall, 17, as she directed the members of the New Imperial Marvalettes Drill Team. On the charm was the engraved face of Cheryl Marie Williams Harden, Hall's grandmother, Marvalettes codirector and - since a recent Saturday morning - a murder victim. "She was the energy of our drill team. She raised me," Hall said of the woman who became mother to two of four grandchildren when Jocelyn Marie Harden, Cheryl Harden's only child, was killed in 1992.
ENTERTAINMENT
November 19, 2013 | Jenice Armstrong, Daily News
THE CAMDEN Sophisticated Sisters (CSS) drill team really has been kicking it lately. Just this year alone, CSS members delivered high-energy performances on ABC's "Dancing with the Stars," "Good Morning America" and the "Steve Harvey Show. " Stop for a second and let that sink in. These aren't pros. I'm talking about kids, some barely as high as my knee. They live in one of the roughest cities in America and practice in an abandoned water tower. Yet, the Sophisticated Sisters drill team is beating the stereotypes - about their hometown and about kids from disadvantaged backgrounds.
NEWS
March 22, 1990 | By Maida Odom, Inquirer Staff Writer
They march like Marines and "get down" like limber dancers on a Janet Jackson video. Proud and disciplined, the Conestoga Angels, a high-stepping drill team with precise timing pushed by steady drumbeats, did the seemingly impossible one recent night. They quickly captured the attention of about 700 adolescents who'd grown rowdy after sitting too long. Teacher after teacher begged, threatened and pleaded with the crowd at Shoemaker Middle School, at 53d and Media Streets, to quiet down and listen to other acts performing at the school's annual talent show.
NEWS
April 15, 2013 | By Stacey Burling, Inquirer Staff Writer
The girls on the crowded stage at the Boys & Girls Club of Camden County looked tense and frustrated as they tried to replicate the complicated dance moves members of the Camden Sophisticated Sisters drill team were demonstrating. About 100 girls ages 3 to 18 had come Saturday to audition for the team, which has been featured on CNN and NBC as a bright spot in a troubled city. Tawanda "Wa-Wa" Jones, who founded the team 26 years ago, had not let the prospective members in on a little secret: Almost all would get in. "This is not about the trophies," Jones said as she supervised from below the stage.
NEWS
May 19, 1994 | By Dan Hardy, INQUIRER CORRESPONDENT
Nine months a year, four or more days a week, the rhythmic cadence of drums sounds out from a hillside overlooking the Ruth L. Bennett Homes public- housing development, broadcasting a toe-tapping message of pride to the community. Starting at 5 p.m. on most weekdays and on many weekends, the 38 members of the Bennett High Steppers drill team strut their stuff in a parking lot sandwiched between the Chester High School athletic field and the Bennett Homes. Marching skillfully to the complex beat, they perfect their drill routines under the watchful eyes of adult mentors.
NEWS
June 14, 1990 | By Maida Odom, Inquirer Staff Writer
Arthur Jerome Marks, 37, who along with his wife founded a popular West Philadelphia drill team, the Conestoga Angels, died Saturday at his home. According to his wife, Celestine, Mr. Marks was despondent because he had been unable to find steady work since he was laid off from the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard in November. She said he committed suicide. Born in Philadelphia, Mr. Marks attended Most Precious Blood elementary school and graduated from Roman Catholic High School in 1970.
NEWS
May 3, 2013 | By Molly Eichel
TAWANDA "WAWA" Jones would always joke that the drill team she founded, the Camden Sophisticated Sisters (CSS), was ready to make its Hollywood debut. On Tuesday, that aspirational joke became reality when the CSS girls taught the celebs how it was done on ABC's "Dancing with the Stars. " The eight ladies from South Jersey performed a stunning number to Beyonce 's "Get Me Bodied. " To see a video of their performance, go to ph.ly/CamdenDWTS. Jones still can't believe her troupe made it to prime time.
NEWS
October 29, 1996 | By Rita Giordano and Alfred Lubrano, INQUIRER STAFF WRITERS
The drumbeat's the heartbeat. Everyone knows. Everyone goes: First there're Willie and Ollie Days, reed-tall and owl-serious, banging drumsticks on drumheads as they stride out their mother's back kitchen door to the grassy place between two sealed-up and forsaken buildings where it all goes down. The pied pipers of percussion. Soon the other Passyunk drill-team drummers join them, grinning, nodding, bouncing body-moving rhythms off those sad, old walls. Next come the girls - the steppers - summoned by the boom-boom-boom.
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NEWS
January 17, 2016 | BY JULIA TERRUSO, Staff Writer
AS MAYOR KENNEY'S official black SUV rolled up, high-pitched cheers erupted from the steps to Southwest Philadelphia's Penrose School and the rat-tat-tat of the drum line started inside the building. "He's here! He's here!" Kenney shook hands with the second-grade welcoming party, standing in a line with "Welcome, Mayor Kenney" signs and shy smiles. "Thank you for having me," he said. "Should we go inside?" The mayor has said he will visit one school a week as a nod to his focus on education and two big promises: making pre-K education available to every child in Philadelphia, and putting in place "community schools" - campuses that offer residents access to health, counseling and social services, and community development programs.
NEWS
January 3, 2016 | By Dylan Purcell and Erin Arvedlund, STAFF WRITERS
It's a new year, and for the 116th Mummers Parade, perhaps a new era. The iconic Philadelphia celebration Friday featured three new brigades, including two Hispanic performance groups and an African American drill team. One costumed member of the Pirates Wench Brigade, who wouldn't give his name, said he welcomes the new groups and diversity. But he hoped they would adopt the Mummers' history rather than bringing their own. "They're creating a tradition that's not really our tradition," said the man, a veteran of the brigade.
ENTERTAINMENT
August 5, 2014 | By Patricia Mans, For The Inquirer
Emonie offers a self-assessment: "I am funny and smart!" What she neglects to mention is that, at 16, she also is a beauty, with big, brown eyes that sparkle and a dazzling smile. To those attributes, add a creative streak, which has led her into a variety of activities. She is learning how to scrapbook, but she already excels at crocheting - so much so that Emonie, who has the makings of a fine teacher, delights in showing her younger classmates how to do it. Her social worker describes her as a good communicator, as well as an honest person.
ENTERTAINMENT
November 19, 2013 | Jenice Armstrong, Daily News
THE CAMDEN Sophisticated Sisters (CSS) drill team really has been kicking it lately. Just this year alone, CSS members delivered high-energy performances on ABC's "Dancing with the Stars," "Good Morning America" and the "Steve Harvey Show. " Stop for a second and let that sink in. These aren't pros. I'm talking about kids, some barely as high as my knee. They live in one of the roughest cities in America and practice in an abandoned water tower. Yet, the Sophisticated Sisters drill team is beating the stereotypes - about their hometown and about kids from disadvantaged backgrounds.
NEWS
May 26, 2013 | By Sarah Smith, Inquirer Staff Writer
The members of the Gold Coast Buccaneers drill team did not cry. Instead, the elementary students stomped, clapped, and chanted to remember their slain drill master, gunned down three months ago in West Philadelphia. This class was the last one Gregory Scott taught the steps he had grown up practicing. Scott, 55, affectionately known as "Chops," organized a school version of the drill team, known as the Gold Coast Funkateers, at the Samuel B. Huey Elementary School just a month before he was killed Feb. 27. The shooting was allegedly a culmination of a dispute between Scott and his cousin James Scott III. James Scott and another man are charged with murder and await trial.
NEWS
May 3, 2013 | By Molly Eichel
TAWANDA "WAWA" Jones would always joke that the drill team she founded, the Camden Sophisticated Sisters (CSS), was ready to make its Hollywood debut. On Tuesday, that aspirational joke became reality when the CSS girls taught the celebs how it was done on ABC's "Dancing with the Stars. " The eight ladies from South Jersey performed a stunning number to Beyonce 's "Get Me Bodied. " To see a video of their performance, go to ph.ly/CamdenDWTS. Jones still can't believe her troupe made it to prime time.
NEWS
April 15, 2013 | By Stacey Burling, Inquirer Staff Writer
The girls on the crowded stage at the Boys & Girls Club of Camden County looked tense and frustrated as they tried to replicate the complicated dance moves members of the Camden Sophisticated Sisters drill team were demonstrating. About 100 girls ages 3 to 18 had come Saturday to audition for the team, which has been featured on CNN and NBC as a bright spot in a troubled city. Tawanda "Wa-Wa" Jones, who founded the team 26 years ago, had not let the prospective members in on a little secret: Almost all would get in. "This is not about the trophies," Jones said as she supervised from below the stage.
NEWS
April 14, 2013 | By Stacey Burling, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
The girls on the crowded stage at the Boys & Girls Club of Camden County looked tense and frustrated as they tried to replicate the complicated dance moves members of the Camden Sophisticated Sisters drill team were demonstrating. About a hundred girls aged 3 to 18 had come Saturday to audition for the team, which has been featured on CNN and NBC as a bright spot in a troubled city. Tawanda "Wa-Wa" Jones, who founded the team 26 years ago, hadn't let the prospective members in on a little secret: Almost all of them would get in. "This is not about the trophies...," Jones said as she supervised from below the stage.
NEWS
April 7, 2013 | BY SOLOMON LEACH, Daily News Staff Writer leachs@phillynews.com, 215-854-5903
SHORTLY BEFORE Gregory Scott was killed in February, he asked a few close friends to help him revive the Gold Coast Buccaneers, a drill team that he had been part of since the 1960s. Scott, 55, wanted the West Philadelphia group to return to its glory days when it would literally stomp the competition to shame. But before the group could really come together, Scott was gunned down outside his West Philadelphia home by his cousin James Scott III and another man, James Hiller, police say. Now the group is trying to move forward without the man affectionately known as "Chops," whom they considered the glue of the Buccaneers.
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