WAYNE, Mich. -- Just before 7 p.m., Blue Stars color guard members trekked down from the corps’ food truck to the football field for their evening rehearsal block. With unattended brass instruments lining the west sideline, a few members set up the field with the corps’ array of props.
This time was different. It was their last staging of spring training.
The next time the Blue Stars roll their props onto a field, it won’t be so leisurely. They’ll be in Ford Field, under bright stadium lights and surrounded by spectators.
But this was Wednesday night, the eve of the DCI Tour Premiere presented by DeMoulin Bros. and Co. in Detroit, and the Blue Stars still had rehearsals to work through. On this day, though, the light at the end of the spring-training tunnel was nearly blinding.
“This whole season has been leading up to the first show and the shows after that,” second-year baritone player Ellie Abbott said. “But we are more than prepared to go into tomorrow and be amazing at what we are doing.”
Abbott, who has a solo in the Blue Stars’ 2019 production, “Call of the Wild,” admitted the final day before the Tour Premiere brings some nerves around the corps with its members knowing the implications of the season-opening show and the masses who will see them perform.
“There are a little more nerves [than usual] just because it’s such a large audience and it’s something that some of us have never experienced before,” Abbott said. “But I feel like, with everything that we are doing and the way we do rehearsals, we do it the same way every day and we perform exactly how we practice.”
Not only will thousands be packed into Detroit’s Ford Field to witness six of DCI’s top corps offering the first glimpse of their 2019 performance, but the shows will be broadcast to an even larger movie theater audience across the country.
“That movie theater audience is really hyping us up,” Blue Stars’ horn sergeant Christian Torres said. “Everyone on the horn line is ready to go.”
Torres, who plays the trumpet, is in his fifth year in the corps. With each season, his nerves calm even further.
“To be honest, every year I get a little less anxious for [the season opener] because every year we just get on the field and know we’re going to kill it,” he said.
“I think this spring training has been very special because the energy has been just killer from day one and I think as time has progressed we’ve just been really able to focus and hone it in to make it a really special performance.”
A year ago, the Blue Stars finished eighth at the DCI World Championships with a score of 90.050. Perhaps their excitement is so high for 2019 because of all of the new elements associated with it. They’ve received new uniforms and added large, bold props that won’t leave much uncovered turf.
Torres grinned just talking about the show, excited to have the ‘wow’ factor associated with his age-out year.
“It’s incredibly exciting,” Torres said. “ These are some of my favorite props we’ve ever had and I think that the world and all the movie theater audience is going to love it. When we first saw the props, we got so excited. This is unlike anything we’ve done before and I just love it personally.”
Along with the props, Abbott noted the Blue Stars have key “moments” worth watching out for in their production, anticipating stunned crowds after the corps’ first performance in Detroit.
“Personally, I am very excited to perform this show because it is something that we’ve decided to take risks on,” Abbott said. “We’re doing stuff that people may not have done before in their shows. We’ve waited so long for this moment to perform for a really large crowd of people.”