Bluecoats Alumni Corps just 12 Months from Debut Weekend
July 5, Canton, Ohio. Coming off a pandemic and a canceled year of drum corps, Bluecoats were anxious in announcing the formation of its 50th Anniversary Alumni Corps as to how many former members and staff would register to perform. Expectations were blown away when over 90% of those who had over the past few years expressed interest in participating signed up to put on a Bluecoats uniform one more time. By the time registration closed, over 300 brass, 100+ guard and three times the normal size of a drum line had signed up to perform in a once-in-a-lifetime production. CEO Mike Scott is thrilled at what has developed so far. “Bluecoats are excited to represent the Drum Corps activity on not just our, but DCI’s, 50th Anniversary in 2022,” said Scott, “it’s going to be such a special year for us and the community.”
Planning by the Alumni Corps Steering Committee had not anticipated a “super sized” unit and over the past month logistics have been re-visited and in many cases re-worked. “It’s an understatement to say that we were stunned at the response of our alumni,” said Steering Committee Chair Ted Swaldo. “We knew we had a strong alumni base but knowing the time and effort the Alumni Corps would take, these numbers blew us away.” The challenges to operating a group at this size are daunting, but the Steering Committee is composed of every living former Director and several Bluecoat Hall of Fame members with an incredible combination of experience and expertise.
Program Coordinator, Larry Hershman, has assembled an all-star staff of over 50 former Bluecoats to prepare the Alumni Corps. “We are fortunate to have so many alumni who have made their mark on the marching arts want to volunteer their talents as leaders,” said Hershman, “we could easily find hundreds of former Bluecoats that have the credentials to lead a group like this onto the field.” The Design Team, many of the current Bluecoats Designers, have already released the first 90 seconds of the 2022 show to the Alumni Corps. The Caption Heads and Section Leaders, tasked with teaching the Alumni Corps remotely over the coming year, were instrumental in Bluecoats growth and/or are currently instructing across the Drum Corps landscape, top marching bands and color guards. Alumni Corps staff are, or have been, part of 17 different Drum Corps International competing corps at the World Class and Open Class levels.
Over the next year, five decades of Bluecoats, including a dozen original Bluecoats, will be preparing for its 2022 production with state of the art and contemporary learning tools. The first “in person” rehearsal will not take place for a full year when the group convenes over the July 4th weekend in 2022, but the learning will happen over the next twelve months at home. To show how far spread “at home” will be, Alumni Corps participants hail from 41 states and five countries.
Bluecoats 50th Anniversary Alumni Corps will be performing at the 2022 Drum Corps International Semi-Finals in the Encore slot as well as several other premier events next Summer. Watch Bluecoats.com in Spring 2022 for details of the corps’ debut as well as other performances. Over the next year, there will be little publicity coming from Alumni Corps as they put in the work to live up to Bluecoats motto of Be The Best We Can Be.