Drum Corps International
Spotlight of the Week: 1985 Star of Indiana, 'Walt Disney Salute'

Spotlight of the Week: 1985 Star of Indiana, 'Walt Disney Salute'

by Drum Corps International


1985 Star of Indiana
The 1985 Drum Corps International Tour is remembered for a number of reasons: Madison, Wisconsin's Camp Randall Stadium hosted the DCI World Championships for the first of seven times, Garfield Cadets became the first World Class corps to nail a "three-peat," and Blue Devils became the only corps to win top honors in the brass and percussion captions in consecutive seasons without winning the title. Some 57 years earlier, Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse debuted. After a couple failed animated features that couldn't find distributors, the character hit the big time with his third cartoon, the late 1928 "Steamboat Willie." In 1932, Disney received his first Academy Award nomination for a film produced in 1931, the same year another man, also born in Illinois, first opened his eyes. In 1963, with a $1,300 loan, William A. "Bill" Cook started his flagship Cook Incorporated (now Cook Medical) in a bedroom of his apartment in the college town of Bloomington, Ind., the same year Walt Disney surveyed several square miles of practically worthless swampland for a new development to be named Disney World. Fast-forward to 1984 when Bill Cook persuaded a young director named James Mason to come to Bloomington to hear him out about a new corps he wished to found. Mason had been director of the Colts, a corps in which Cook's son Carl had marched. Cook was quite impressed with drum corps and at the 1984 DCI World Championships in Atlanta, he cornered Mason and asked him to visit Bloomington as soon as the season was over. Not a week later, Mason found himself director of the new Star of Indiana. After the Bleu Raeders did it in 1972, Star of Indiana was the second corps in history to earn a spot in the DCI World Championship Finals in its first year of competition, finishing in 10th place. The corps, from the beginning, was run like a business, setting up a new mode of management that over time was embraced by other corps that came to recognize that outside ventures could help fund their operations. In Star's case, their buses were utilized year-round for a successful tour bus operation, and a travel company sprung from the corps' touring needs. Bill Cook himself was often found behind the wheel of one of the corps' buses.
Star of Indiana's first show was the lighthearted "Walt Disney Salute," entirely comprised of music written for Disney films. The corps turned to arrangers Larry Kerchner, Dennis DeLucia and Bob Dubinski, all three who had roots in the Bridgemen. Close to half the corps' first-year membership was made up of ex-Bridgemen members, with another sizeable number coming from the Pride of Cincinnati, which did not field a corps after the summer of 1984. Kershner's arrangement of "When You Wish Upon A Star" opened the show. Leigh Harline and Ned Washington wrote the song for the animated 1940 Disney film, "Pinocchio," in which it was sung by the character, Jiminy Cricket. It won the Academy Award for Best Original Song and became the Walt Disney Company's theme song. Star of Indiana also made it its own. "Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah," written by Allie Wrubel and Ray Gilbert for the 1946 combination live action and animation film "Song of the South," also won the Academy Award for Best Original Song. The piece served as the opening and closing parts of a medley with the next work in Star of Indiana's show. Mack David, Al Hoffman and Jerry Livingston wrote "A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes" for the 1950 animated classic, "Cinderella." It is said that the thoughts expressed are identical to those in "When You Wish Upon a Star." Toward the end of the medley, Star of Indiana members formed the outline of a five-point star, which became an essential element in most of the corps' shows to follow. The melody for this piece was inspired by "Etude No. 9" of Franz Lizst's "Transcendental Etudes" for solo piano.

1985 Star of Indiana
Paul Dukas' most famous work, "The Sorcerer's Apprentice," is an orchestral symphonic tone poem written in 1896-1897 and based on the 1797 poem "Der Zauberlehrling" by the famed German writer, Goethe. The music achieved its greatest fame when Walt Disney included it as one of the segments of his 1940 animated masterpiece, "Fantasia." "Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?" was written by Frank Churchill for Disney's 1933 cartoon, "Three Little Pigs." Drill writer George Zingali, coming off stints writing the visual programs for 27th Lancers and then the Garfield Cadets, played around with the whimsy of this percussion feature by having the corps form the outline of the wolf and then "running" the wolf 13 yards across the field, its left and right arms and legs passing through each other to convey the motion. "Mickey Mouse March" was written as the opening theme for the television program "The Mickey Mouse Club," a variety show for children in the 1950s. Star of Indiana performed the piece not as a march, but as a ballad, ending with the members singing, "M-I-C-K-E-Y-M-O-U-S-E" at the end. Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman were songwriters for Disney when Walt showed them a mock-up of a new ride planned in 1966 to be added to Disneyland. Disney instructed them to create a simple song that could be translated into many languages. He was so captivated by their musical creation and the words, "It's a Small World," he changed the name of the attraction from "Children of the World" to that of the title of the song. Some say that this song is the most translated music in the world. The corps' version referenced musical elements from around the world, with flags incorporating the image of longitudes and latitudes of a globe. A reprise of "When You Wish Upon a Star" led into the closing moments of Star of Indiana's inaugural show, capping off what many say is one of the most carefree and cheerful productions ever witnessed in Drum Corps International competition.

For this week only, you can save on the Legacy Collection DVD that contains this complete Star of Indiana performance, along with all finalists from the 1985 DCI World Championships.

Buy the 1985 Legacy Collection DVD. (Available this week only for 20% off. Regular price: $35.99.)

1985 Overview

Discount DVD offer ends Monday, Jan. 27.
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, Indiana.

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