Drum Corps International
Bluecoats use urban setting to connect with audiences

Bluecoats use urban setting to connect with audiences

by Drum Corps International

The Bluecoats' 2002 show, entitled "Urban Dances," brings a viewer through several phases of a typical American city during a typical American day – a frenzied morning, a traffic-snarled commute, a reflective noontime break and a trip to a club after work. It's a show that was designed to be more audience accessible, according to Bill Hamilton, director of the North Canton, Ohio-based corps. Hamilton said it's a show about "Bluecoats personality, and of audience accessibility." Hamilton also said that audiences are connecting with the show in unique ways. "When we go to a club at the end of the day (the show ends in an urban nightclub setting), it's as much a rush for the audience as it is for the performers," Hamilton said."It has exciting moments in it, it has reflective moments in it. We're excited with the reaction we're getting. People seem to like us!" added Larry Hershman, who was program coordinator with Bluecoats from 1986 to 1991, retired, then came back as program coordinator in 2000. Dave Glasgow, a former Bluecoats' drum major serving his first year as tour manager, said that the show, "Electrifies the audience. It's very entertaining, very colorful, very jazzy and very fun."The Bluecoats score an 83.20 in Enid, Okla., on July 16, just behind the Crossmen (84.05 and the Cavaliers (89.50). "We're further ahead" than we were in past years at this time, Hamilton said, while attributing their strong performances to many factors. "We're more complete. Our performance is stronger. We're having more fun. Things are running smoother, and we're traveling in better buses," Hamilton concluded.Hamilton said the program is not based on a specific city's specific day, but it instead refers to "A generic place, it's a universal thing. (And) We like the universality" of it, Hamilton said. Specifically, "You can see what you hear, in that all of our music suggests something in the city. You can see the music," Hamilton said.The 2002 Bluecoats' musical program consists of "Paradise Utopia" from "Concerto for Bass Trombone" by Christoper Brubeck; "New World" from "Dancer in the Dark" by Bjork; and "Pedal to the Metal" by Michael Daugherty.In addition to the universal appeal of the music, Hamilton said that the dedication of the corps members this year is contributing to the corps' success. Specifically, Hamilton said that, "The talent and dedication of the kids, and of the professional staff, and the tons of preplanning that we do," has contributed to make the Bluecoats' season thus far a big success."The talent that we have in the corps is clearly notches above where we were last year," Hershman said, adding that, "the product that the team has put together is definitely a few notches above where it was last year."Likewise, Hamilton had his work cut out for him late last spring, as he "Worked very hard to make sure that big decisions were made in May, and making sure that logistics" were taken care of. This intense preplanning has also made the Bluecoats' summer a lot more enjoyable for all. "They're a big challenge," Hamilton said of the logistics.Hamilton has been with the Bluecoats for 30 years – he marched with them in the 1970s, and has been corps director since 1993.

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