A New Rhythm in Blue!


rhythm in blue

Rhythm IN BLUE will bring the Bluecoats Experience to any performer 18+ in 2020. Season will culminate in Indianapolis Soundsport™️ performance.

CANTON, OH – The mission of Bluecoats includes bringing world-class performance experiences to students through our programs. We call this the Bluecoats Experience, and we work hard to make it unique, life-changing and unforgettable.

With the goal of bringing the Bluecoats Experience to as many young people as possible, and working hard to ensure that our programming is accessible and affordable, today we’re announcing a new version of Rhythm IN BLUE that brings the Bluecoats Experience to a broader audience.

Rhythm IN BLUE was founded in 2012 as an alumni program of Bluecoats, eventually opening the ensemble to friends and family of Bluecoats alumni. For the last eight years, the program has performed at community events in Northeast Ohio, and in Drum Corps International events including Tour of Champions: Akron and the SoundSport International Music & Food Festival™️ in Indianapolis, IN.

In 2020 – the Rhythm IN BLUE season will expand to participate in more performances, including a “mini tour” that will culminate with a performance at the Tour of Champions: Akron performance and the SoundSport International Music & Food Festival™️ during the DCI World Championships in Indianapolis, IN. Starting today, the program is open to any student 18+ who can commute to Ohio for an Audition Experience Camp, rehearsals and performances. Pre-season rehearsals will be one weekend day about every six weeks in the winter and spring. The summer rehearsals and performances will primarily be on weekends except for the final week of the season spanning from the Tour of Champions: Akron to the Drum Corps International World Championships weekend.

2020 does not mark the end of the rich alumni experiences offered at Bluecoats, however! The programs Curbside! and The Legacy Arc will continue to be managed by the Bluecoats Alumni Council. These programs bring performance opportunities to alumni with local performances in Northeast Ohio and an opportunity to perform at Bluecoats-operated events, including the with the corps during performances of the Bluecoats corps song Autumn Leaves.

For 2020, Bluecoats has assembled an excellent instructional and design team for Rhythm IN BLUE. Musical supervision and design will be managed by Ryan Adamsons, who marched Bluecoats in the early 2000s, taught brass with both Bluecoats (2003-2008, 2011) and Santa Clara Vanguard (2012-2019). He was elevated to Assistant Brass Caption Head in 2019 while at the same time arranging music for the Santa Clara Cadets, including their Open Class Championships in 2018. Joining the team as Visual Supervision and Designer is Will Wells, also an early 2000s Bluecoat and recently has taught with Blue Stars on visual (2012-2015) and brass (2020) staff with drill design credits across Texas as well as 2016 Texas Area E Champion Port Isabel High School Silver Tarpon Band. Rounding out the design team is Vickie Disch, who marched Bluecoats 1990 in the guard, co-founded and co-designed Fortitude Independent (WGI) then later went on to design and instruct for Munford (TN) High School’s marching band guard and MIA Gold Medalist indoor guard. She currently serves the Color Guard Director for the University of Dayton Flyer Marching Band.

Rhythm IN BLUE Director, Jay Wise, is excited about the new approach, “We learned a lot about SoundSport over the past four years as a Bluecoats alumni ensemble and I can’t wait to take this next step.” Bluecoats CEO Mike Scott added, “Expanding our vision of what this program can be will only bring the Bluecoats Experience to more young people, in a more accessible way. How great! ”

Bluecoats will host an Audition Experience Camp on February 8th, 2020 at Orrville High School, in Orrville, Ohio. The event is open to anyone with marching arts experience over the age of 18. Rhythm IN BLUE will be open to brass, colorguard, and drum set or auxiliary percussion performers, and all are encouraged to complete this form if interested!

2020 DCI Rules Congress proposals at-a-glance


Brass Amplification Limitations

Proposed by: Michael Martin, The Cavaliers

Summary: Previously proposed under the same title in 2018 and ultimately not making it out of the instructor caucus sessions for a vote, this new proposal does not call for limits on the number of soloists who can be amplified at any one time, rather looks to prohibit the use of short-range microphones to reinforce the entire musical ensemble.

On the record: “The drum corps brass fan is savvy and perceptive. The difference in fidelity between an acoustic tuttie brass moment and an amplified or electronically-reinforced tutti brass moment is noticeable to the average DCI show-goer, and certainly to the avid fan. What has always made this activity unique is the power and precision of the well-taught brass section. This maintains the integrity of that aspect of our activity.”

Evaluation Structure Innovation

Proposed by: Chris Komnick, Nick Monzi, Jason Robb, Madison Scouts

Summary: This proposal calls for a pilot of a new evaluation structure centered on fan engagement, that would give audience members the opportunity to rank and rate their favorite corps in various categories. At Monday-Tuesday shows, groups would receive an overall ranking based on fan voting; no adjudicator feedback or scores. At Wednesday-Thursday shows, groups would receive an overall ranking based on fan voting and adjudicator feedback; no scores. At Friday-Sunday shows, groups would receive only adjudicator feedback and scores based on the current adjudication structure.

On the record: “We propose to introduce new layers within the evaluation and feedback system, so as to better maximize fan engagement, the dosage of information provided to corps and adjudicators, and the quality of adjudicator feedback.”

Color Guard Sheet Enhancement

Proposed by: Denise Bonfiglio, The Cadets

Summary: This proposal would shift the judging criteria on the color guard adjudication sheets away from “exclusive skills” to a mix of “skills and big picture.”

On the record: “DCI has a very small pool of judges that are expert at evaluating skills. Opening the sheet up to include the big picture would make the sheet more accessible to a larger segment of the judging community.”

Any Instrument Policy

Proposed by: Kathy Black, DCI Board of Directors

Summary: This proposal would allow the use of any instrument, including woodwinds, effective for the 2021 season.

On the record: “Opening the drum corps activity to young musicians currently excluded is consistent with the DCI mission to bring the life-enriching benefits and enjoyment of marching music performing arts to more people worldwide.”

Allow for Live Sampling Created in Real Time

Proposed by: Matt Jordan, Jon Vanderkolff, Bluecoats

Summary: This proposal would allow rhythmic effects such as delay and live looping to be used by corps in performances. Not intended to legalize pre-recorded or sequenced music, this proposal aims for performers to use the stated effects on instruments being played in real time.

On the record: “If our goal is to train performers to have a future in music performance, using delay effects and live looping are educating our students more accurately than the current time-consuming system of having an electronics designer ‘approximate’ those effects.”

Rules and Systems Task Force Voted On by the Membership

Proposed by: Lindsey Vento, The Academy

Summary: DCI’s Rules and Systems Task Force, which is made up of a group of corps-affiliated representatives from the instructional community and members of the judge leadership team, helps determine and guide the ongoing process of how drum corps are adjudicated and provides direction to the artistic standards related to rules and systems. Currently these individuals are appointed by the DCI artistic director who serves as the chair of the committee. This proposal would shift the selection of the committee into the hands of DCI’s voting member corps every three years.

On the record: “Anything we can do to potentially spread the voice and representation across more organizations, allowing feedback and discussion to occur with various backgrounds and differing organizational makeups, can only benefit the students/members.”

Scoring System Update

Proposed by: Marie Czapinski, DCI Adjudicator

Summary: This proposal would adjust the current scoring system to include six judges who would all adjudicate off the field from within the stands. The proposal calls for these judges with the following percentages factored into a corps’ total score. One overall general effect judge with a music background (20%), one overall general effect judge with a visual background (20%), one visual ensemble judge with a visual design background (15%), one visual ensemble judge with a color guard background (15%), one music ensemble judge with a percussion background (15%), one music ensemble judge with a brass background (15%).

On the record: “When the current judging system was devised, the speed and velocity of movement on the field was considerably less and more predictable. There were few props, if any. We have adjusted through the past decade as designers became more creative, however, we have now moved to a level of presenting through the interdisciplinary arts that is setting new standards for outdoor production and the evaluation system should be updated to properly reward the efforts being presented.”

Sound Reinforcement Limits

Proposed by: Steve Vento, The Academy

Summary: This proposal would create sound reinforcement decibel limits based on the size of the venue.

On the record: “This will ensure a more enjoyable experience to the fan … This will also ensure a better listening environment under the statutes of health and wellness. There is no need to go over 110 decibels.”

Read the proposals in their entirety

2020 Drum Corps International Tour Schedule


View the complete schedule of 2020 DCI Tour events

Premier Event Series

Detroit, MI
DCI Tour Premiere presented by DeMoulin Bros. & Co.
Ford Field
Thursday, June 18

Stanford, CA
DCI West
Stanford Stadium
Saturday, June 20

Zionsville, IN
DCI Crossroads
Zionsville Community High School
Sunday, June 21

Muncie, IN
DCI Central Indiana
Scheumann Stadium
Friday, June 26

Pasadena, CA
Drum Corps at the Rose Bowl
Rose Bowl Stadium
Saturday, June 27

Richmond Area, VA
Stadium TBA
Thursday, July 2

La Crosse, WI
DCI La Crosse
Veterans Memorial Stadium
Sunday, July 5

Orlando, FL
DCI Orlando
Camping World Stadium
Sunday, July 5

Memphis, TN
DCI Memphis
Liberty Bowl Stadium
Saturday, July 11

Denver, CO
Drums Along the Rockies
Broncos Stadium at Mile High
Sunday, July 12

St. Louis, MO
DCI Midwestern Championship presented by DeMoulin Bros. & Co.
The Dome at America’s Center
Sunday, July 12

Ardmore, OK
DCI Ardmore
Ardmore High School
Tuesday, July 14

Denton, TX
DCI Denton
Apogee Stadium
Thursday, July 16

Austin, TX
DCI Austin presented by FloMarching
Kelly Reeves Athletic Complex
Thursday, July 16

Katy, TX
DCI Katy presented by Band Shoppe
Legacy Stadium
Friday, July 17

San Antonio, TX
DCI San Antonio presented by Fred J. Miller, Inc.
Judson High School
Saturday, July 18

Corpus Christi, TX
DCI Corpus Christi presented by Fred J. Miller, Inc.
Calallen High School
Saturday, July 18

Mesquite, TX
DCI Mesquite presented by The U.S. Marine Drum & Bugle Corps
Mesquite Memorial Stadium
Monday, July 20

McKinney, TX
DCI McKinney
McKinney ISD Stadium
Tuesday, July 21

Hattiesburg, MS
DCI Hattiesburg
M.M. Roberts Stadium
Wednesday, July 22

Little Rock, AR
DCI Little Rock
War Memorial Stadium
Wednesday, July 22

Montgomery, AL
DCI Montgomery
Foshee-Henderson Stadium
Thursday, July 23

Trussville, AL
DCI Birmingham
Hewitt Trussville Football Stadium
Friday, July 24

Murfreesboro, TN
The Masters of the Summer Music Games presented by Jupiter, Mapex & Majestic
Middle Tennessee State University
Friday, July 24

Atlanta, GA
DCI Southeastern Championship presented by Stanbury Uniforms
Mercedes-Benz Stadium
Saturday, July 25

Syracuse, NY
DCI Syracuse
Stadium TBA
Thursday, July 30

Allentown, PA
DCI Eastern Classic presented by Big, Loud & Live
J. Birney Crum Stadium
Friday, July 31 & Saturday, August 1

Charleston, IL
DCI Eastern Illinois
Eastern Illinois University
Saturday, August 1

Pittsburgh, PA
DCI Pittsburgh
Baldwin High School
Sunday, August 2

View all 2020 DCI Tour events

DCI World Championships

Open Class Prelims
Marion, IN
Indiana Wesleyan University
Monday, August 3

Open Class Finals
Marion, IN
Indiana Wesleyan University
Tuesday, August 4

World Championship Prelims presented by GPG Music
Indianapolis, IN
Lucas Oil Stadium
Thursday, August 6

World Championship Semifinals presented by EARasers & InEarz Audio
Indianapolis, IN
Lucas Oil Stadium
Friday, August 7

SoundSport International Music & Food Festival presented by Motif Music
Indianapolis, IN
North side of Lucas Oil Stadium
Saturday, August 8

World Championship Finals
Indianapolis, IN
Lucas Oil Stadium
Saturday, August 8


Bluecoats Announce 2022 Alumni Corps Design Team


September 29, 2019

Preparations continue for The 50th Anniversary Bluecoats Alumni Corps!  Key to the success of this major project will be the selection and development of a program honoring all former Bluecoats while entertaining the vast Bluecoat fan base as well as the greater DCI audience.  “We needed designers that understand who we were, what we are now and how we got there,” said Ted Swaldo, Chairman of the Steering Committee. “We now have just that team on board!”

Brass design will be in the hands of Doug Thrower, who has been writing for the corps since 1997 and has been on staff since 1992.  Doug, who was inducted into The DCI Hall of Fame this past season, was previously inducted into Bluecoats Hall of Fame in 2009. “We have a lot of great charts to choose from, including some from before the Bluecoats hit the big time,” said Thrower.  “The challenge will be to have the final product flow as a single comprehensive idea.” 

Tom Rarick will handle the percussion writing and coordination.  When not doing drum corps Tom is an in-demand clinician, consultant and adjudicator.  Since 1997, he has served as a percussionist in The United States Air Force Band, Washington DC.  Tom has been with the Bluecoats since 2002 and was inducted into Bluecoats Hall of Fame in 2011. Reflecting on 50 years of Bluecoat history Tom said, “Much has changed over time and continues to evolve, especially with percussion.  We are striving for a program that has that balance of traditional and modern.”

Matt Jordan is an internationally acclaimed percussion educator, arranger, clinician and performer with vast experience in drum corps and indoor drumlines prior to coming to the Bluecoats.  He will be responsible for the sound design of the overall program, the role he currently holds with Bluecoats. Matt is excited to put a modern touch on the legacy of the corps in the modern age of amplification and electronics. “While the rest of the design team will reach back into the corps’ past repertoires and bring them back to life, my challenge will be to form the right soundscape with those treasured charts.”

Kevin Stahl will handle the visual and drill design.  He was the Bluecoat of the Year in his age out year, became a visual instructor the next year and moved up to visual caption head in 2002.  Kevin also was responsible for the visual design of the Bluecoats 2017 and 2019 special Chinese New Year’s Celebrations in Hong Kong. This past year he was inducted into Bluecoats Hall of Fame on the merits of his two decades of work with the corps.   Kevin remarked, “In just the relative short time since I marched, the visual aspect of drum corps has grown immensely. It will be exciting to design a program that will acknowledge the transformSEPTEMBER 29, 2019ation.” 

Kyle Albright will develop the color guard material.  Kyle spent his entire DCI career with the Bluecoats but also performed in the indoor circuit with Insignia and Millennia winter guards.  Kyle’s current high school program in Pflugerville, Texas, was a 2019 WGI Finalist. “I am very excited to be part of this team and this project,” said Abright, “The Bluecoats have an enormous emotional connection with so many people through their entire history, we want this program to continue our legacy of communicating that emotion.”

Rounding out the design team will be Larry Hershman, returning to his familiar role as Program Coordinator.  It was this role Larry held twice with the Bluecoats in the late 80’s and again in the early 2000’s. No stranger to massive drum corps projects, he was the Program Coordinator for the All Star Drum Corps Macy’s Parade/Today Show programs. Larry was inducted into Bluecoats Hall of Fame in 1991 and the World Drum Corps Hall of Fame in 1992.  “We have almost two hours of music to choose from,” said Hershman, “it will be a daunting, but exciting, process to put together the perfect 20 minutes.”