Dr. David Kampschroer, a founding father of Drum Corps International and former director of the Blue Stars, passed away Monday night at the age of 74. After a lifetime of involvement with DCI and touching countless lives along the way, members of the DCI community share some of their fondest memories of "Dr. K."
Video credits: "Legacy Collection," "Brass Roots," audio from the April 15, 2008 edition of the "Field Pass Podcast," photos from the DCI archives.Billy Happel, Blue Stars drum major 1971-1974 We always managed to get a round of golf in every year with the old gang from La Crosse and remember the "old" days. My son came along one year when he was about 23 years old and spent nine holes in a cart with David. Before that he knew of David, met him a few times in his life, but never got to talk with him. Talking with my son afterward, he said to me, "I now know why you admire David. I have never met anyone with as much insight into everyday events and how to learn from them as him." What my son didn't know is that David told me after that round, "Haps, you did good. Raising a kid like Justin is what life is all about, and in the end, all that really matters." That meant more to me than anyone can imagine. Dale Antoine, DCI Event Manager You never get to pick your family and when you get married, your wife's family comes along for the ride. I was very blessed to have Dave as my father in law, and he accepted me into the family from day one. He offered advice only when he felt we needed it but was always there with his love and support. His grandchildren adored him. Family came first. DCI has lost a man of vision and leadership who always felt the kids come first. He is now at peace and watching over us. Thanks for all you did for your family. John Turner, DCI Open Class Judge Administrator I was lucky enough to have worked with Dr. Kampschroer when I first joined the DCI staff and for several years thereafter he was a friend and trusted mentor and just a great person to spend time with. His passion and genuine enthusiasm were contagious. Bill Howard, DCI Hall of Fame '94, former director of the Madison Scouts I let Dave know several times in the past that I credit his corps for helping the Madison Scouts move from 14th place in 1972 to fourth place in 1973. In 1973 our corps competed together about 26 times, and as hard as we tried, the only time we were able to beat the Blue Stars that year was the last show, which was after Championships. But at Championships, Blue Stars were second place and we were fourth. I contend that we would never have improved 10 places from year to year if we hadn't been pushed so hard by trying to beat the Blue Stars. Dan Acheson, DCI Executive Director David was a mentor and friend to me throughout the years, especially in my early days at DCI in the mid-1990s. I will be forever grateful for the gift he gave of his time and himself to the drum corps activity as well as his love and friendship to me personally. He will be missed. Brad Furlano, Blue Stars Executive Director Dr. K's contribution to the Blue Stars and the drum corps activity is widely known, but many may not realize he continued to be a trusted resource to me and the organization through our reemergence as a World Class corps in the last decade. He was always a phone call away to provide advice, a kind word of support, or even a kick in the pants if necessary. He will be missed by all. Scott Litzenberg, DCI Event Manager Dave was a great man and an even better person. He made a difference and was a joy to be with. A tough old coot who loved being around people. He was a master at getting those Hall of Fame members into places in stadiums where they didn't belong, haha! Dave, thanks for being a friend and treating us like you knew us forever. We will miss you. Steve Stueck, Blue Stars Business Manager Dr K. was already a legendary figure in my mind when I came to the corps in the late 1970s. During more recent years, I would often get phone calls to get the inside scoop on winter rehearsals. He was always interested in hearing how his "baby" was doing. He was quite dismayed that the organization at one time was very nearly wiped out. But through the efforts of many people?”some whom he impacted quite positively?”the Blue Stars not only survived, but once again are a World Class finalist corps. Allison Scallan, Phantom Regiment member 1999-2003 Dr. K was our corps director in 1999. He used to always say he was the dad and we were all his children. He was kind of like a grandfather figure to most of us. One morning we came out to the rehearsal field and there was Dr. K with a lawn mower, cutting the grass for us. He just waved and went along like it was normal. He was willing to do anything for the corps. Judy Young, Blue Stars color guard member 1965-1972 and instructor 1973-1977 What a privilege it was to work with Dave. When I think of him, I think of a leader, mentor, educator, and most of all a dear friend. He made everyone he ever met feel as though they were very special. He treated people the right way, with respect. Dave's legacy will live on in every past, present, and future Blue Stars member. The corps' motto, "Finis Coronat Opus [The end crowns the work]" are words he lived by, taught by, and led by. They are words every Blue Star understands. Dave will be missed! Rick Young, Blue Stars soprano 1965-1968, horn instructor 1969-1978, and arranger 1970-1980 Dave was the glue that held the Blue Stars together for more than a decade. He recruited staff members who were dedicated to the same principles he wanted to instill in the membership. Many pursued careers in education because of his influence. Dave was a unique individual who will be sadly missed by the drum corps community and all those who were fortunate enough to have spent time with him. Michael Boo, DCI Staff Writer He is a part of DCI's history that cannot be replaced. When I visited him at his Florida home, he took me around the enormous retirement community of The Villages to show off all the ongoing activities that were available, .such as continuous educational talks presented by fellow residents and various club meetings. I believe he was demonstrating that although he was retired from work, he was not at all retired from life.