Drum Corps International
Random Bluecoats memories

Random Bluecoats memories

by Drum Corps International

The day after the DCI major event in Battle Creek, Mich., I stopped in Portage, Mich., to have lunch on my way home. While in the restaurant, I ran into John Weldy, a former marching member of Bluecoats. I asked him to send me something for Fanfare and he supplied the following. My name is John Weldy and I marched in Bluecoats' mellophone line in 1993 and 1994. These are a few of my favorite drum corps memories: My nickname was Lucky because I wore a goatee with a red tinge. Whenever someone asked why I was named Lucky, someone would always chime in that I looked like a leprechaun. In 1994, Magic of Orlando had a mellophone soloist whose nickname also was Lucky. Some of the guys from the 'Coats and some of the guys from Magic thought it would be fun to introduce us. We met before one show. The guy had bright red hair (mine is brown) and a bright red, bushy goatee that put mine to shame. To really complete the look, Magic's uniforms were sort of like a purple velvet tux coat. All I could say was, "You win, dude, you win." In the opener in 1993, the mellophones had a pass-through with the contras where we had to jazz-run backward as they were jazz-running forward. Needless to say, we were always really shaky about that one, not wanting to run into them. Well, one of the first few shows of the season in some nowhere place, I took it. I was running full-bore backward and all of a sudden I felt a thud as a contra clocked me and just about knocked my hat off. I don't even think I reached an arm out to fix it. I just went through the whole rest of the show with my hat down almost to my nose! Here's a story of what not to do for all the current corps members (though we had fun with it). Please don't change the music. In 1994, my seat partner that summer and I decided it would be a good inside joke if we played a lick from "Eleanor Rigby" at the end of the show. (The closer was "C Jam Blues.") Listen really close to the third instance of the repeated mellophone lick at the end of the closer and you can hear two lower mellophones playing "Eleanor Rigby." Another fun little thing: You never know what you'll see out the bus window. In 1994 as we were pulling into one show site, my seat partner and I looked over and saw a cemetery with a big, ornate headstone that read "MELLO." We put that on our section shirt that year, but the top of the headstone was the DCI championship trophy. I was a huge Star of Indiana fan during my years in the Bluecoats, and I still am today. I'm proud to say that I was a fan of their 1993 show all the way. Seeing that show evolve over the summer was something I'll never forget. I wish I had a video of every single one of their performances that year, as it was always different. They were scoring so high down in Texas during the early season that the joke was, "Did you hear Star broke 100?" In 1994, we got to do a show with Star and the Canadian Brass in Canton, Ohio. It was the first year of their Brass Theatre gig and they were doing it on gym floors. We took the day and worked out simple staging for our show as an indoor standstill. The most fun was "C-Jam Blues," our huge crowd-pleasing closer. The piece was just a jam session and for the staging, they had us run up the stairs into the audience. That was so much fun! I'll always remember that, scattering the line up into the stands. Sure wish we could have done that at Finals! If there's one tip I can give to corps members today, it's this: Don't get so caught up in what you're doing that you miss the amazing stuff going on all around you. I heard some outstanding ensembles during my time in the Bluecoats. My two favorites (other than Star 1993) were hearing a very polished 1994 Star of Indiana play "When You Wish Upon a Star" inside a small band room after the Canton Brass Theatre show, and being three feet in front of the 1994 Blue Devils horn line while they played their victory concert at DCI North in Canton. It was probably the loudest thing I've ever heard! I do have one sad story, the saddest thing I've ever seen in drum corps. In the late 1980s and early 1990s my favorite corps (other than the Bluecoats) was the Velvet Knights. They were the clown princes of drum corps and their demise left a huge hole in drum corps that has yet to be filled. Their signature was to bring Jaws (their "pet" shark prop) onto the field at the DCI World Championship Finals, and the crowd always went nuts. Well, 1993 was the year that Glassmen and Colts first made finals and VK was struggling to stay in. On Semifinals night, they wound up in 13th place. The next night, there was Jaws, waiting at the edge of the stadium where only the performing corps coming into the stadium could see him. There was a sign on him that read, "Good luck finalist corps." It was one of the classiest things I've ever seen, and in retrospect, one of the saddest. They never made finals again.


Fanfare archives Michael Boo has been involved with drum and bugle corps since 1975, when he marched his first of three seasons with the Cavaliers.

He has a bachelor's degree in music education and a master's degree in music theory and composition.
   
He has written about the drum corps activity for over a quarter century for publications such as Drum Corps World, and presently is involved in a variety of projects for Drum Corps International, including souvenir program books, CD liner notes, DCI Update and Web articles, and other endeavors. Michael currently writes music for a variety of idioms, is a church handbell and vocal choir director, an assistant director of a community band, and a licensed Realtor in the state of Indiana. His other writing projects are for numerous publications, and he has published an honors-winning book on the history of figure skating. His hobbies include TaeKwonDo and hiking the Indiana Dunes. But more than anything, Michael is proud to love drum corps and to be a part of the activity in some small way, chronicling various facets of each season for the enjoyment of others.

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