Considering the success the Bluecoats have enjoyed the past few seasons, it's hard to believe it wasn't until 2004 that the corps broke into the top six at the DCI World Championship Finals. First entering DCI competition in 1977 and first making the Finals in 1987, the Bluecoats broke 90.0 points for the first time in 1989. It's that year that is featured in this Download of the Week. Back in the late 1980s, we didn't have a fully functioning Internet yet. Fans rarely knew in advance much about the music corps were going to playing, and as it turns out, sometimes corps didn't know much about what other corps were playing, either. For three years in a row, Bluecoats ended up performing music other corps were also playing. In 1988, the corps' opener of "Old Black Magic" was also played by Blue Devils. 1989 saw both corps perform "Johnny One Note" and in 1990, both Bluecoats and Crossmen programmed "Caravan." There was a joke in 1990 where someone would ask what so-and-so corps was playing and the answer was, "I don't know. Let's find out what Bluecoats are playing." (I didn't say it was a funny joke!) With perhaps the longest helmet plumes of any corps in the 1980s and since, (seriously, check them out), the 1987 corps jumped off-the-line with "Johnny One Note" from "Babes in Arms," the Richard Rodgers, Lorenz Hart musical that also gave the corps its second tune of "My Funny Valentine." The piece, as was most the show, was about happiness and joy. If Bluecoats had any theme going on during the 1980s and 1990s, it was "fun." I remember playing my LP of "My Funny Valentine" when I received my DCI recordings in late 1989. I was playing the record at my parents' house when my mother walked into the room and said something like, "Wow. Now that's what I consider a creative drum corps arrangement." Bluecoats weren't the deepest thinkers on the field, nor did anyone in the audience have to think much about what they were hearing from the field. However, Bluecoats' fans started the chant of "Blooooooo" about this time to recognize their appreciation of the corps playing more for those in the stands over the judges on the field.
Louis Prima's "Sing, Sing, Sing" let everything hang out, featuring the soprano bugles in a screaming interlude. During the following drum break, the horns picked up flags and the entire center of the field came ablaze in yellow and red. Then the horns went back to their instruments and brought it home with a short reprise of "My Funny Valentine," ending with the chants from the stands of "Blooooooo." There really isn't all that much to say about the show other than it was fun, entertaining and enjoyable. But then, that's really quite a lot to say about any show. But seriously, check out the length of those plumes. This week only, you can save on 1989 World Championship Audio and Video Performance Downloads on the DCI Fan Network. Buy the 1989 Bluecoats Video Performance Download. (Available this week only for $3.99. Regular price: $4.99.) Buy the Audio Performance Download bundle of all 12 Finalists from 1989. (Available this week only for $15.99. Regular price: $19.99.) Offer ends Monday, July 4 at 8:30 a.m. ET.
Peformance excerpt of the 1989 Bluecoats.
Michael Boo was a member of the Cavaliers from 1975-1977. He has written about the drum corps activity for more than a quarter century and serves as a staff writer for various Drum Corps International projects. Boo has written for numerous other publications and has published an honors-winning book on the history of figure skating. As an accomplished composer, Boo holds a bachelor's degree in music education and a master's degree in music theory and composition. He resides in Chesterton, Ind.