1992 was only the second year that the Blue Knights made the Finals at the Drum Corps International World Championships, placing ninth.

A year after first becoming a finalist, also finishing in ninth place, the corps went a step further from the inclusion in 1991 of Copland's "Outdoor Overture" by presenting "Portraits of Aaron Copland." The show consisted of "Billy the Kid," "Corral Nocturne" (from "Rodeo"), "The Red Pony" and "Chorale and Shaker Dance." The closing tune by John Zdechlik is based on the Shaker hymn "The Gift to Be Simple," the same tune that plays a major role in Copland's "Appalachian Spring."

The show started out quiet and reserved with the opening strains of "The Open Prairie" from Copland's ballet, "Billy the Kid," with random percussion sounds reflecting the essence of the remoteness of the Wild West. It took almost a minute to build to a big push, increasing the tension.

1992 Blue Knights
1992 Blue Knights


Volleys of bass drums announced the gunfight between Billy and the posse sent to bring him to justice.

Color guard flags in this section were emblazoned with different Western motifs including longhorns, cowboy boots and hats, spurs and stars.

"Corral Nocturne" from Copland's ballet, "Rodeo," showed that the corps could take its time and let a piece breathe, delivering a work of soaring beauty that filled the field with melancholy reflection. A little known fact is this movement was originally co-written with Leonard Bernstein, whose music filled the corps' entire show two years earlier.

1992 Blue Knights
1992 Blue Knights


"Happy Ending" from "The Red Pony" has long been a favorite of drum corps. After a brief minute-long segment of joyous abandon, "Corral Nocturne" returned to end the piece, with a few hints of "Appalachian Spring" thrown in the front ensemble and the final brass solo.

The energetic finale from "Chorale and Shaker Dance" featured flags with a dense and colorful floral motif. One last flag change was thrown in with less than a minute left in the program to leave a lasting visual impression.

And with the spirited and brisk conclusion of the show, Blue Knights proved that the corps' placement in the Finals the year before was no fluke.

1992 Overview

Michael Boo was a member of the Cavaliers from 1975-1977. He wrote about the drum corps activity for more than 35 years while serving as a staff writer for various Drum Corps International projects. During his lifetime Boo wrote for numerous other publications including an honors-winning book on the history of figure skating. He also was an accomplished composer. Boo passed away in 2020 and was inducted into the DCI Hall of Fame posthumously in 2021.