Each week, one corps from the vast Season Pass video archives (reaching back to 1974) is going to be featured in the Insight section of the DCI Season Pass, with a few minutes film clip to give you a glimpse into the corps and the program. We won't be concentrating on any single period but the entire repertoire in the DCI archives. Remember, all the performances we'll spotlight here are available for purchase in the DCI store.
So, when I was challenged to come up with the first-ever Insight selection, I decided it had to be a show that impacted me for several reasons. Surprisingly, the choice was easy to make: Blue Stars 1975. This was the very first show I ever fell in love with live. 1975 was my first year marching in a drum corps, and I had a chance several times during the season to witness Blue Stars perform this show. It was so different than anything else on the field. It was customary then that one would see an explosion of flags off the line to grab one's attention. (Back then, there were no flag changes. The corps' flags were of the United States Bicentennial motif, perhaps because it was a take on a star.) Through parts of the opener, rather than facing the audience, many horns were clustered in pods facing each other. These were elements of experimentation by the corps' drill writer for just that season, Bobby Hoffman, coming off his stellar year with Anaheim Kingsmen on his migration to the East Coast to totally shake up the activity with Bridgemen the following year. In the Chicago (rock band) medley that followed, (a work noted for being a major part of the show with no stops in between selections), Bobby had the corps spell out the phrase "CTA" (Chicago's first name) and the word "Chicago," which was spelled in the script used on the band's albums. This led one marching and maneuvering general effect judge to continually ask in jest, "Hica? What the heck is Hica?" I should mention the guard wore hotpants. At the end, the corps placed fifth at the DCI World Championships in Philadelphia, with a score of 87.50, less than five points under Madison Scouts' winning score. For much of the season, Blue Stars stayed just a couple points under Madison, remarkable for the fact that the corps started the season with a relatively small corps and built up members during the season. They pulled off a second place finish in marching and maneuvering at finals. As we get ready to welcome the corps back to Division I status after decades in Division II and III, I encourage all to check out the clips of the corps back in 1975, when it was a leader in innovation and feared nothing. For its time, the corps was – well -- the corps wasn't for its time. It was well ahead of its time, perhaps better appreciated today than back then. And that's why I have selected Blue Stars 1975 to kick off this new project on DCI.org. Did I mention the guard wore hotpants? To see more of this video, subscribe to the DCI Season Pass! Not a DCI Season Pass subscriber? Subscribe now! Purchase the 1975 Legacy Collection DVD.