Purdue News

April 11, 2006

Meghan Lamontagne named Purdue's 25th Golden Girl

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Possessing the poise, charisma and flashy twirling tricks the judges were looking for, Meghan Lamontagne, an incoming freshman from Pelham, N.H., bested nine competitors from five states to become Purdue University's 25th Golden Girl.

2006-07 Twirlers
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The announcement was made by Jay S. Gephart, director of the "All-American" Marching Band for 2006-07, on Saturday (April 8) following a long day of competition that included field tryouts and personal interviews.

Joining Lamontagne in Purdue's elite twirling ranks is Tierney Brown, a management major from Bloomington, Ind., who returns as the Girl in Black. Megan and Morgan VonDielingen, liberal arts majors from Seymour, Ind., also will return as Silver Twins, a position the identical twins have performed in for the last two years. Members of the Purdue Bands' faculty and staff judged the candidates and made the final selections.

Lamontagne, who's been a twirler since the age of 3, plans on majoring in communications with an emphasis on broadcast journalism.

"I just love to perform," Lamontagne said. "There is nothing like the feeling you get on the football field and the rush you get when the cadence begins. In high school I was known as the 'baton girl.' I don't think people even knew my name."

In 2005 Lamontagne was voted Miss New Hampshire Outstanding Teen. She is a seven-time World Open Twirling Champion and among her other accomplishments are performances before Boston Celtics' crowds in 2003 and performances at the AXA Liberty Bowl in 2003 and the Nokia Sugar Bowl in 2004. In 2004 she also toured Germany with her baton team, the Red Stars.

With the move to spring solo twirler auditions several years ago, Purdue aligned itself with other major university band programs which use auditions as a tool to attract top twirling talent from across the nation to their school. All the twirling candidates had to be accepted by Purdue to audition.

During the years Purdue's Golden Girl has enjoyed a national reputation as one of the top twirlers in the United States. Former director Al Wright began the tradition in 1954 when quarterback Lenny Dawson was referred to by the press as Purdue's "Golden Boy." Wright put gold sequins on Juanita Carpenter and named her the "Golden Girl." After Dawson graduated his nickname faded, but the Golden Girl has continued as a strong Purdue tradition.

Lamontagne will make her first appearance with the band at the Sept. 2 Indiana State game in Ross-Ade Stadium.

Writer: Kathy Matter, Purdue Bands public relations director, (765) 496-6785, kcmatter@purdue.edu

The featured twirlers for the 2006-07 "All-American" Marching Band include Morgan VonDielingen and Megan VonDielingen, the Silver Twins; Tierney Brown, the Girl in Black; and Meghan Lamontagne, the university's 25th Golden Girl. (Photo provided by University Bands)

A publication-quality photograph of Purdue University Bands' featured twirlers is available at https://news.uns.purdue.edu/images/+2006/twirlers-06.jpg


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