Drum Corps International
Bluecoats capitalizing on improved rehearsal approach
Bluecoats' horn line practices during spring training at Indiana Wesleyan University.Photo by: Drum Corps International

Bluecoats capitalizing on improved rehearsal approach

by Jeff Griffith

Bluecoats head drum major Samuel Crawford has seen his fair share of drum corps rehearsals. He’s been around the Canton corps for three very unique seasons; two of them ended with medals, one of which was gold.

Throughout the four weeks of spring training he’s spent with the 2018 corps at Indiana Wesleyan University in Marion, Crawford has noticed a special atmosphere surrounding the Bluecoats, particularly in terms of how the group operates logistically both on and off the field.

“I think we learned a lot from last season, just about how a drum corps should function, and how much discipline matters in rehearsal, and especially off the field, too,” Crawford said. “We’ve taken a lot of steps operationally, to make sure that the group is setup for success.”

According to Crawford, it all comes down to discipline. In his eyes, the corps has taken a very serious, driven approach to its daily training.

“I think the leadership team came into this season with a much more proactive attitude, and I think that’s really paying off. The vibe is very good, and the group knows the expectation, and they’re really doing it.”

In terms of how that mentality has manifested itself in rehearsals, the Bluecoats have emphasized a symbiotic relationship between leadership and membership. Ultimately, the intent is for the entirety of the corps to be on the same page from top to bottom.

BluecoatsBluecoats color guard members practice at Indiana Wesleyan University.


The maturity Crawford is noticing has paid off in rehearsals, and should, in turn, set the foundation for what the Bluecoats anticipate will be a successful 2018 season.

“I think we’re doing better at flipping the switch from not being on, to being on and saying, ‘We’re ready to get better right now,’” he said. “I think it’s shown up in a lot of different areas.”

With the 2018 season just around the corner — the Bluecoats open their season at the DCI Tour Premiere, June 21 in Detroit — Crawford’s main focus for himself, in his age-out year, as well as for the corps, is to get everything they can out of this summer.

“The 2018 Bluecoats will only exist for three months,” he said. “And once that’s up, that never happens again. That group of people will never be together again. So, I think, personally, and for the corps, if we can just max this out and really savor every second, that’s kind of cliché, but I guess when it’s the last season it really means a lot more.”

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