When it came time to begin plans for the 2017 season, the Bluecoats’ design team hadn’t even heard of Thank You Scientist.
Now, the work of the New Jersey-based progressive rock band is not only featured in the corps’ opening movement, but will also be performed in a private concert for members of the corps on Tuesday, June 20 at Denison University in Granville, Ohio.
It was Trevor Yuile—a composer from Canada and friend of the corps’ brass arranger, Doug Thrower—who initially introduced executive director David Glasgow and the creative minds in the Bluecoats organization to the music of Thank You Scientist.
“Our design team checked it out, listened to it and kind of fell in love with it,” Glasgow said. “It’s definitely a combination of jazz and funk and rock, it’s kind of an interesting fusion of all those things. We thought that it would relate to us and would relate to drum corps, but it would also be unique.”
This season, the defending DCI World Champions will be using two of Thank You Scientist’s works, “Prelude” and “Psychopomp,” which will combine to make up the show’s opener.
The 2017 production—the title for which has yet to be announced—also includes the works of Jónsi, John Psathas and Frank Zappa.
The concert, which will include a full performance from the band, serves several purposes—not only will the Bluecoats be able to experience their source music live and meet the masterminds behind it, but Thank You Scientist will have its first taste of what a DCI ensemble can do with its creations.
According to Glasgow, the band will hopefully be able to catch some of the Bluecoats’ rehearsal just two days before the corps’ first competitive performance of the season, before running a Q&A session with corps members prior to their concert.
“It’s one of those opportunities that doesn’t happen in drum corps very often,” Glasgow said. “It kind of melds what we do in drum corps with the music industry. A lot of our students are music majors, so it’s an opportunity for them to learn a little bit about the music industry and life on the road.”
“It’s also an opportunity for us to establish a positive relationship with the artists who we’re working with in terms of the music,” he added. “It really allows us to have a one-on-one relationship there and gives them an opportunity to better understand what we do.”
Glasgow also said that he hopes the connection between his corps and an up-and-coming band will be mutually beneficial, especially when it comes to the kind of exposure the Bluecoats can give Thank You Scientist within the marching music world.
“Hopefully, we’ll be able to open up their music to a whole new audience,” he said.
And in terms of the concert, Glasgow expects it to be an enjoyable experience for all involved, as the Bluecoats prepare to kick off their season two days later at the DCI Tour Premiere in Indianapolis.
“I think it’s going to be as exciting for them to see what we’re doing with their music as it is for us to see them,” he said. “I think they’re going to be kind of surprised.”