To my Bluecoats family.
I can say that now. My Bluecoats family. This is something I thought I’d never say. It feels wonderful.
For some perspective, I was in the Bluecoats Alumni Corps which performed at DCI Semifinals. I had never previously marched with the Bluecoats. I did try out for the corps in 1991, a scrawny 16 year old who could barely play 3rd soprano and definitely could march. I was cut after 3 audition camps, and I would end up going on to march 5 seasons with the Toledo Glassmen, followed by three seasons of all-age corps with the Empire Statesmen.
Performing with the Bluecoats Alumni Corps was special for me, as the corps invited Glassmen Alumni to join them. I haven’t had a corps to call home since 2013. That year, both Glassmen and Empire Statesmen folded within a nine month period, leaving me a corps orphan without warning. I remember writing that in my Drum Corps Planet live coverage as Empire left the field in Annapolis at 2013 DCA Finals, then having to all but run to the bathroom because I was overwhelmed by the emotion and couldn’t think of where else I could go so I could cry by myself.
When the invitation came from Bob Higgins, who taught me at Glassmen, and Jay Wise, an incredible human being who gave up his chance to perform with the alumni so the corps could be as organized as possible for this undertaking, I was honored and accepted immediately.
It was during the Bluecoats run through the Sunday before Finals, as the alumni corps sat in the stands and gave the kids the drum corps version of the Care Bear Stare, that one thought popped in my mind:
I have a home again. I have a corps again.
All of a sudden, I couldn’t see the performance anymore. I could only sit there, sobbing as quietly as I could, but this time with the joy of that thought warming my heart. I actually had to stop typing this up for a moment as the feeling came back from the memory.
Then we performed at Semis.
If you’ve seen the video, you have an idea of the power and emotion we performed with that night. You heard and saw the crowd’s reaction. You even caught glimpses of the 2022 corps, on the sideline, returning the love we gave them Sunday night.
If you were in the stadium, the impact was even more powerful because you were THERE. You were in that moment. You knew we were pulling off something special.
If you were a 2022 Bluecoats member, I hope you know how much the alumni love and support you. I think you do, based on how much emotion I saw from you when the video cut to you. You will always have your Bluecoats family.
And, if you were on that field with me, you couldn’t help but be proud of what we all accomplished. We only really spent 10 days together as a full corps, 3 in July and the week leading up to our performance in August. Even after COVID tried to get in our way, WE DID THE THING.
I tried out for Bluecoats in 1991, ironically when they played Nutville as their opener. It took 31 years, but I finally performed Nutville at DCI with the Bluecoats.
I can say forever more that I AM A BLUECOAT.
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