As has been the case in recent years, information about the Bluecoats’ 2018 production is locked away safely, and head drum major Samuel Crawford has kept it so.
But in terms of his own personal expectations for his age-out year production, Crawford — now in his fourth year conducting and the third in his current position — didn’t hide his excitement, which he said is echoed by the members of the corps.
“We’re super bought into it,” he said about the yet-to-be-revealed show theme. “I think that every year, the Bluecoats get better at being the Bluecoats, and the show design is more iconic, and it kind of builds upon what we’ve done in the past.”
Each of the last few years, the Bluecoats’ productions have been predicated on musical and visual innovation. Crawford described those characteristics as the Bluecoats’ “identity;” the corps, in his words, wants to find new ways to keep “pushing the envelope.”
According to Crawford, the 2018 show will follow a similar pattern, as the Canton, Ohio corps looks to continue to discover new ways to evolve.
“I think if you look back through the history of music, the people who we now know — like Mozart, Beethoven, all the big names — are people who did stuff differently in their time,” he said. “I think that’s kind of where the Bluecoats are in the history of drum corps. We’re making decisions that are different in our time but that are going to last through the years, and will hopefully have people talking about us 100 years from now.”
“The most exciting thing about what we’re trying to do this year is it’s something completely different that we haven’t seen in years past,” visual staff member Samia Mooney added. “We’re not trying to recreate something that’s been done. We’re not doing an anniversary of a year that we’ve done before. We’re trying to create a style that is truly unique to the organization.”
While the Bluecoats’ lips are sealed regarding the title and theme of their program, the corps’ music selections for 2018 have been released.
While a handful of them — such as Wynton Marsalis “Home (from Congo Square)” and Billie Holiday’s “God Bless the Child,” to name a couple — fall under the jazz heading, Crawford said the show goes far beyond what people think of when associating drum corps and jazz music.
“I think when people think jazz, they think we’re going to barely move and just stand still and jam all day, and we do some of that, but it’s still drum corps,” he said. “I think that our designers do a really good job of blending the jazz with the rah-rah, play loud drum corps moments that people love.”
With spring training set to wrap up in the coming days, the Bluecoats will introduce their production at the DCI Tour Premiere, June 21, in Detroit, which will be broadcast live in nearly 500 movie theaters across the country.