SPRINGFIELD, Mo. –  Honoring the past, for hopes of a better future. On October 15, 2021 at Kickapoo High School, a special tribute will be given to a drum corps that formed 50 years ago to honor young women and girls.

The tribute will happen at Kickapoo’s football game during halftime. The performance will include the Central Kilties Drum and Bugle Corps.

“The Kilties were founded in 1926,” Current member Marion DeWeerd said. “The whole idea of the Kilties was to promote inclusivity and give girls more opportunities to do something in high school.”

After the Kilties were created, each high school in Springfield made their own groups. Kickapoo formed the Bonnie Buchanan’s. Lori Vonnahme Lincoln was one of the group’s first members.

“We started practicing in the summer of 1971,” Lincoln said. “We went half a day to school at Glendale High School. We practiced in the morning and went to school in the evening. Then Kickapoo was finally finalized in October of 1971.”

Lincoln’s group lasted until 1988.

“Since then all but two of the drum corps have disbanded,” DeWeerd said.

The Kilties are still around. Tonight, DeWeerd’s group will lead dozens of Bonnie alumni onto Kickapoo’s football field.

“The idea here is we want to promote more awareness about these drum corps and give more opportunities for people at other schools to be able to do something like this,” DeWeerd said. “I don’t know what I would do without the Kilties.”

Bonnie alumnus Debbie Ingram says her corps has been practicing for tonight’s performance for a month.

“It’s coming back to each of us slowly,” Ingram said. “You kind of pick it up. You kind of learn to march. Some of the girls don’t necessarily want to march. Some of the girls don’t want to twirl because some of us we don’t remember how to do those things.”

But, Ingram says it’s all for fun.

“Because of the sisterhood,” Ingram said. “We want to remember it. We would love nothing more than to see [drum corps] come back to the schools and have other girls see that sisterhood. Maybe then, they would have the desire to do that as well.”

Ingram says you can expect to see her group twirling on Kickapoo’s football field. The game starts at 7 p.m.

“It’s going to bring tears to my eyes,” Lincoln said. “I won’t be able to see where I’m going.”