The Blue Devils made notable headlines last week with the announcement of their 2024 production, “The Romantics.”

As the defending champions gear up to embark on the 2024 DCI Tour, here are four takeaways from the corps’ May 16 show reveal:

1. | Getting Enlightened

Blue Devils’ 2024 production centers around the age of Romanticism, which generally encompassed the early 19th century. A period of social change, the Romantic period was characterized by an emphasis on emotion, individualism, and nature, and served as opposition to the industrial revolution and the rationalism of the Enlightenment. 

“Romanticism was marked by an emphasis on nature, individuality, emotion over reason, freedom of form, and an exploration of the unknown,” the corps noted in its show reveal. “From the late eighteenth century to the early nineteenth century, the revolution of Romanticism was the making of the modern mind.”

According to Blue Devils, an “eclectic” repertoire was required in order to best embody the diverse emotions and elements of the Romantic period. Fans can also expect, as the corps described in its release, a sense of curiosity. 

2. | It’s About Timing

As part of Blue Devils’ 2024 repertoire, the corps plans to utilize music from Oppenheimer, Christopher Nolan’s winner of the 2024 Academy Award for Best Picture. 

The specific piece of music pulled from Ludwig Goransson’s film score — which also took home an Academy Award — is titled “Can You Hear the Music,” which could provide a unique challenge for a drum corps, as its rising and cascading melody volleys between various tempos. 

As Göransson noted in an interview (LINK), the piece totals more than 20 tempo changes. In order to successfully record it, orchestra members utilized in-ear monitors, which constantly delivered new tempos to musicians during the process of recording.

3. | Keeping it Recent 

In the vein of Blue Devils’ “Oppenheimer” homage, the final piece of the corps’ 2024 repertoire is also pulled from a film that was released in 2023.

“Poor Things,” which starred Emma Stone and tells the story of a woman revived from death, was scored by first-time film composer Jerskin Fendrix. At the 2024 Academy Awards, “Poor Things” also received several nods; Stone took home the award for Best Actress in a Leading Role, and Fendrix’s score was nominated for Best Original Score.

In a complimentary sense, given its fit with the film’s content, one film critic (LINK) referred to Fendrix’ score as “unruly” and “dissonant.” According to Fendrix, as described in an interview with the Los Angeles Times, he used instruments like pipe organ, bagpipe, accordion and more to create an “unnerving” atmosphere. 

4. | Carving out a Niche

In recent seasons, Blue Devils have made a habit of bringing popular music from Japanese animated movies and series to the drum corps stage.

2022’s “Tempus Blue” featured “TANK!” by Yoko Kanno, popularized in the late 1990s television series, “Cowboy Bebop.” Blue Devils followed this up with a pair of Japanese-inspired selections in 2023, including music from “Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure.”

As part of “The Romantics,” Blue Devils will perform Joe Hisaihshi’s “Merry-Go-Round of Life.” This piece of music was featured in “Howl’s Moving Castle,” a 2004 film that was later dubbed in English by Christian Bale, Josh Hutcherson and Billy Crystal, among others.

View Blue Devils' 2024 DCI Tour Schedule