Altoona native to perform in Super Bowl pregame show

Meghan Sinisi is on her way to the biggest game of them all.

The Altoona native will perform Sunday as part of the Super Bowl XLVIII pregame show in her role as the featured baton twirler for the Syracuse University Marching Band.

The longtime twirler, 18, a freshman studying Communication Sciences and Disorders, landed the historic position as the college’s Orange Girl last year.

Sinisi, who feels humbled and honored at the opportunity, cried when the news was delivered, she wrote in an email.

“I couldn’t wait to share the news with my family and friends,” she wrote. “This is an opportunity that I will never be privileged to experience again, and I am so extremely happy and grateful to share it with all the members of the Rutgers and Syracuse University marching bands. Having a chance to perform at the Super Bowl was beyond my wildest dreams and I, as well as all of the other SUMB members, now know that all of our hard work and dedication has paid off.”

During the season, the Syracuse University Marching Band has performed at a Buffalo Bills football game, the Texas Bowl in Houston and a Canadian Football League game, Sinisi wrote.

Sinisi also took home top prizes at the National Baton Twirling Championships held at the University of Notre Dame in July.

Whether or not the band’s performance Sunday will make it on the air is, well, up in the air.

“I have been told that we may get some TV time during the pregame performance, but it’s hard to tell because of all the commentating that goes on before kickoff,” wrote Sinisi, the daughter of Anthony and Lori Sinisi of Altoona.

“It’s an amazing opportunity for her,” Lori said, adding that her daughter has worked extremely hard over the years.

The Sinisi family isn’t attending the Super Bowl, but hope to see it on television, Lori said.

Debbie Bernhart, owner of Carol’s School of Baton in Altoona, has been coaching Sinisi for about seven years.

“It is absolutely fantastic,” Bernhart said. “I just spoke to her on Sunday, and I told her to savor every minute because that’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and we’re just so proud of her after getting the position at Syracuse. … She’s just very deserving because she’s such a hard worker.”

Sinisi wrote that she is blessed and lucky, thanks to her family, Bernhart, the marching band and its director, Justin Mertz, “who has shaped us into the marching band we are today and who has so readily prepared us for such a prestigious performance.”

“This performance will simply be the most rewarding and most fun I have ever had as a feature baton twirler. I am anxious for the performance, but I know the adrenaline of twirling in front of thousands of people will give me a sense of accomplishment that I have never experienced before,” she wrote. “It will be a performance that I will never forget.”

Mirror Staff Writer Amanda Gabeletto is at 949-7030.