Drum Corps International
Kind of Blooo: Bluecoats enjoying 2004 success

Kind of Blooo: Bluecoats enjoying 2004 success

by Chris Weber

Faced with starting the 2004 season with numerous staff and organizational changes, the members of Bluecoats have adjusted well and are hard at work perfecting their program, looking forward to the last three weeks of the competitive season. "At the beginning of camps adjusting to the new staff changes was of course a little hard," said Joe Beitman, a third-year Bluecoats member and their current drum major. "The new staff members brought forth their own techniques which were jumbled all together. They had to find one specific way to organize everything and teach it to the members. Since then, we have all been on the same page. Anything that has been brought forth and given to us, we've brought it to a whole new level. We've stepped it up, we're having a blast, we're learning a lot and we're taking it all and running with it." Even a grizzled sixth-year veteran of the corps can attest to the positive vibe that has been brought into Bluecoats' 2004 season. "This is the best this corps has ever worked, from a membership and management perspective," said Michael See, a baritone player who is finishing up his sixth and final season with Bluecoats. "This also is probably the hardest-working group I have ever been a part of, and it is a little heartbreaking for me personally that this corps is making such positive steps forward when I'm going to be aging out." As the final sprint to the end of the season approaches, "change" for the Bluecoats now, is nothing more than nickels, dimes and quarters. Teaching styles have solidified throughout the corps and the main focus right now is in perfecting the 2004 program.

"Right now we want to be working on the overall package of the show," said Becky Novak, a member of the color guard. "We are an entertainment group. We're here to perform and max it out at every performance, creating something that the audience is going to want to stand up and cheer and clap for. Because of this, we'll definitely be focusing in on the overall package, making everything stronger, bigger and better." Erin Rigelman, percussion captain, echoed Novak's sentiments. "Right now we just need to get better. We have a lot we need to work on, and everyday we improve something while we work toward the weekends for the big regionals. It's a little frustrating right now because we know where we need to go and what we have to do to get there, but we have to take it in stride just to make sure that we do it right." Throughout this season, the Bluecoats have held very close corps in the top of the competition pack, inching their way through the high 80s hoping to break the 90-point mark at any moment. Still, the competitive part of the season often takes a back seat to what the members are truly working toward during the season. "This is a competitive activity. If it wasn't competitive, there probably wouldn't be much point," said Rigelman. "As a corps we just want to make ourselves better and be the best that we can be. We are aware of where we are sitting and whom we are competing against, however, all competition right now is against ourselves. Every night we have to improve ourselves and then see what happens from there." "To us winning isn't everything, and it never has been," said Novak. "As performers first and foremost, the season is all about taking charge of our own show and letting people know who the Bluecoats are. Ever since my first year in 2000, people still remember our shows because of the way we communicated with the audience. We present ourselves differently from every other corps, and that is what people will hold onto." Competition aside, this will definitely be a memorable year for Bluecoats' members as well as drum corps fans. "This is a totally different Bluecoats than has ever been on the field before from a difficulty level of the show, a competitive standpoint and the mentality of the corps. We're not content with being at the bottom, and we're ready to go," said Rigelman. And as Beitman said from the beginning, change has moved into Bluecoats for the better. "We are a different corps this year. The audience should be prepared to have fun with this. Don't be worried with 'oh he missed a step-off,' or 'oh no they didn't catch their rifle on the same count,' kind of attitudes. No matter what, we want the audience to always have a smile on their face as we're going to want to please the crowd."

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