Blue Stars Drum and Bugle Corps
|Location||La Crosse, WI|
|Championship titles||VFW: 1977
DCI Class A60/Div.III: 1989, '93, 2001, '03
shoulders & down
outside of sleeves,
navy collar & closure,
silver four-pointed star
White shako w/silver bill, straps, chains & two-triangle badge
& Red plume.
The Blue Stars Drum and Bugle Corps is a World Class (formerly Division I) competitive junior drum and bugle corps. Based in La Crosse, Wisconsin, the Blue Stars was one of the thirteen founding member corps of Drum Corps International.
The Blue Stars Drum and Bugle Corps was founded in 1964 by Frank Van Voorhis and David Dummer. That first year, there was only a color guard, but soon the color guard merged with the Apple Arrows Drum and Bugle Corps of La Crescent, Minnesota to become the Blue Stars. The Blue Stars took to the streets in 1965 as a competitive parade corps. They were sponsored by First Federal Savings and Loan and were known as the First Federal Blue Stars. In order to raise funds, First Federal issued stock in the corps and sold it to the citizens of LaCrosse.
In 1966, the corps moved into field competition, and found immediate success, winning several competitions, including the Minnesota State American Legion Championships, before traveling to Washington, DC for the American Legion National Championships, where they finished 20th of 47 junior corps. The following year, the corps finished 10th of the 25 corps competing at the VFW Nationals in New Orleans. This commenced a streak that continued from 1966 through 1979, wherein the corps advanced to the finals of every major competition they entered. During this streak, the Blue Stars won the 1973 Catholic Youth Organization (CYO) Nationals and the 1977 VFW National Championships.
In 1971, at the urging of Cavaliers founder Don Warren and Troopers founder Jim Jones, the Blue Stars, Cavaliers, Madison Scouts, Santa Clara Vanguard, and the Troopers formed the Midwest Combine. This action was taken in reaction to the rigid, inflexible rules of the American Legion and VFW (the primary rule makers and sponsors of both corps and shows) and the low or nonexistent performance fees paid for appearing in the various competitions. The corps felt that not only were they having their creative potential as artistic performing groups stifled, but they were being financially starved. (A similar group of Eastern corps, the United Organization of Junior Corps (also known as the "Alliance"), was formed by the 27th Lancers, Garfield Cadets, Boston Crusaders, Blessed Sacrament Golden Knights, and Blue Rock.) The Combine members felt that the corps should be making their own rules, operating their own competitions and championships, and keeping the bulk of the monies those shows earned. For the 1971 season, the corps stuck together, offering show promoters the five corps as a package. Despite pressure on show sponsors, judges, and other drum corps, the Combine corps were not only booked into a number of shows together, but they found a host for a show of their own, which was a spectacular success despite fears of failure that lasted until a standing-room-only crowd arrived literally at the last moment.
In 1972, the Blue Stars, along with the nine other corps from the Midwest Combine and the Alliance, plus the Anaheim Kingsmen, Argonne Rebels, and De La Salle Oaklands were founding members of Drum Corps International, which remains as the sanctioning body for junior corps in North America. At the first DCI World Championships in Whitewater, Wisconsin, the Blue Stars finished in second place in a competition that featured thirty-nine corps from the East, the South, the West Coast, the Midwest and Great Plains, and Canada. For DCI's first eight years, Blue Stars were an annual finalist. In 1980, the corps missed finals, finishing in 13th place and continued to decline for the next two years. The corps, no longer sponsored by First Federal and beset with heavy debt and declining membership, ceased operations after the 1982 season.
Some alumni of the corps refused to see the Blue Stars die. Building a new organization, LBS Cadets, Inc., on the ashes of the old, they returned a corps the field in 1983, competing in the Cadet Corps International circuit under the name, Blue Star Cadets, because the original corps and the Blue Stars name were still encumbered with debt. In 1985, the Blue Star Cadets began competing in Class A60 in Drum Corps Midwest (DCM), which the original corps had helped found in 1978. In 1986, the Blue Star Cadets finished 7th of 20 corps in the DCI Class A60 prelims. Although the corps missed making DCI Finals, the new organization had paid off enough of the old one's debt to regain use of the name, Blue Stars. In the years after regaining its name, the Blue Stars became one of the most consistently competitive corps in Divisions II and III (now Open Class), never placing lower than 5th in its division. The corps won the Class A60 World Championship in 1989 and the renamed Division III World Championship titles in 1993, 2001, and 2003.
Disaster loomed in 2003, however, when the corps's fundraising bingo operation suddenly began losing money. A plea to the drum corps public resulted in an influx of funds that saw the corps survive the season that culminated with its fourth DCI title--- earned while going undefeated in competition. The reorganization resulting from the crisis directed more attention across the river from Wisconsin into Minnesota and out into the rest of the Midwest with the result that the corps doubled in size from 53 to over one hundred members and moved into Division II competition for 2004.
With the move to Division II, the Blue Stars began planning for expansion to the then-maximum drum corps size of 135 members and a return to Division I competition. In 2004, the corps placed 5th in Division II, rose to 3rd place in 2005, and returned to Division I competition in 2006 for the first time since 1982. In 2006 and 2007, the corps finished in 14th place at the DCI Division I World Championship Finals. In 2007, the corps introduced a more contemporary uniform design, abandoning the cross-straps and buckle used for the majority of its existence, although their trademark helmet was retained until late in the 2008 season. In 2008, the Blue Stars returned to DCI Finals for the first time since 1979, finishing in 8th place in the World Class Finals. The corps went on to make finals consistently until 2012 where they placed 13th but made it back into finals in 2013 placing 12th, then moved up to 9th place in 2014.
The Blue Stars Drum and Bugle Corps is sponsored by Blue Stars, Performing Arts for Youth, Inc., a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization that has a Board of Directors, corps directors, and staff assigned to carry out the organization's mission. The Executive Director is Brad Furlano, and the Corps Director is Dr. Russell Gavin.
After the Blue Stars name had been returned to the corps, a cadet corps for younger members was formed. Initially, this was a parade drum and bugle corps. In order to broaden its appeal, the Blue Star Cadets were converted to a youth band with woodwinds as well as brass and percussion instruments. The group has been inactive for several years.
Show Summary (1972-2015)
Gold background indicites DCI Championship; Pale shaded background indicates DCI Top 12 Finalist.
|1972||Intermezzo from The Suite in E Flat by Gustav Holst / First Federal March / Bridge Over Troubled Water by Paul Simon /
Norwegian Wood by John Lennon and Paul McCartney / Scarborough Fair by Paul Simon /
South Rampart Street Parade by Bob Haggart and Ray Bauduc / Green Leaves of Summer by Dimitri Tiomkin
|1973||Suite for Band by Gustav Holst / First Federal March (Unknown) /
Battle Hymn of the Republic by William Steffe and Julia Ward Howe / Malaga by Bill Holman /
South Rampart Street Parade by Bob Haggart and Ray Bauduc / El Cid by Miklos Rosza and Paul Francis Webster /
Conquest (from Captain From Castile) by Alfred Newman
|1974||Tiger Rag by Nick LaRocca, Eddie Edwards, Henry Ragas, Tony Sbarbaro, and Larry Shields /
In the Mood by Wingy Manone, Joe Garland, and Andy Razaf / El Cid by Miklos Rosza and Paul Francis Webster /
Conquest (from Captain From Castile) by Alfred Newman / Hall of the Mountain King (from Peer Gynt Suite #1) by Edvard Greig /
Light My Fire by Jim Morrison, Ray Manzarek, John Densmore, and Robby Krieger
|1975||Canzona by Peter Mennin / I've Been Searching So Long by James Pankow / Introduction by Terry Kath /
The Ballad of Billy the Kid by Billy Joel / Soulero by Bob James and Richard Evans
|1976||Jaws by John Williams / O Bless The Lord (from Godspell) by Stephen Schwartz /
Echano (from Children of Sanchez) by Chuck Mangione / Malaguena by Ernesto Lecuona / S. W. A. T. by Barry De Vorzon /
Bellavia (from Children of Sanchez) by Chuck Mangione / Soulero by Bob James and Richard Evans
|1977||Wedding Dance by Joaques Press / Hatikvah (Israeli National Anthem) by Giuseppe Cenci, adapted by Samuel Cohen /
Hava Nagila (Traditional) / Selections from The Planets by Gustav Holst / Backwoods Sideman by John LaBarbera /
If You Believe (from The Wiz) by Charlie Smalls / Soulero by Bob James and Richard Evans
|1978||Malaga by Bill Holman / Suite for Jazz Flute and Piano by Claude Bolling /
Hatikvah (Israeli National Anthem) by Giuseppe Cenci, adapted by Samuel Cohen / Hava Nagila (Traditional) /
Selections from The Planets by Gustav Holst / Backwoods Sideman by John LaBarbera /
Come in from the Rain by Melissa Manchester and Carole Bayer Sager / Espana by Emmanuel Chabrier
|1979||St. Louis Blues March by W. C. Handy, adapted by Glenn Miller / Birdland by Joe Zawinul /
La Fiesta by Armando Anthony "Chick" Corea / Strike Up the Band (from Strike Up the Band) by George Gershwin /
Children of Sanchez by Chuck Mangione
|1980||Pontieo by Edu Lobo and José Carlos Capinam / Go Back Home by Sam Falzone / La Fiesta by Chick Corea /
Children's Dance (from Merry Mount Suite) by Howard Hanson / March from The Suite in E Flat & Military Suite in F by Gustav Holst
|1981||Mathis der Mahler by Paul Hindemith / Country Road by James Taylor / Charter Jazz Suite by Bill Holcombe /
Carnival (from La Fiesta Mexicana) by H. Owen Reed / April in Paris by Vernon Duke and E. Y. Harburg
|1982||Canzona by Peter Mennin / Celebration Suite by Chick Corea / Alexander's Ragtime Band by Irving Berlin /
Image of Maria by Mark Slater / Tiger Rag by Nick LaRocca, Eddie Edwards, Henry Ragas, Tony Sbarbaro, and Larry Shields
|1983||American Salute by Morton Gould / Suicide Is Painless (from M*A*S*H) by Johnny Mandel /
Come in from the Rain by Melissa Manchester and Carole Bayer Sager
|1984||Come Follow the Band (from Barnum) by Cy Coleman / Moorside March by Gustav Holst /
Rootbeer Rag by Billy Joel / Don't Get Around Much Anymore by Edward Kennedy "Duke" Ellington /
Come in from the Rain by Melissa Manchester and Carole Bayer Sager
|1985||My Favorite Things (from The Sound Of Music) by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II /
Scenes From An Italian Restaurant by Billy Joel / Jeanine by Kenny Burrell /
Strike Up the Band (from Strike Up the Band) by George Gershwin /
In Your Eyes by George Benson / Soulero by Bob James and Richard Evans
|1986||My Favorite Things (from The Sound of Music) by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II /
Day By Day & God Save the People (from Godspell) by Stephen Schwartz / I've Been Searching So Long by James Pankow /
Soulero by Bob James and Richard Evans
|71.70||7th Class A60|
|1987||Rondo Capriccioso by Camille Saint-Saëns / Perpetual Rondo by Jean-Luc Ponty /
At the End of the Day & I Dreamed a Dream (from Les Misérables) by Claude-Michel Schönberg, Alain Boublil, and Jean-Marc Natel /
Soulero by Bob James and Richard Evans
|3rd Class A60
|1988||The Score / Don't Rain on My Parade (from Funny Girl) by Jule Styne and Bob Merrill /
Selections from Les Misérables by Claude-Michel Schönberg, Alain Boublil, and Jean-Marc Natel
|75.10||3rd Class A60|
|1989||Carmina Burana by Carl Orff||88.30
|1st Class A60
|1990||Rondo Capriccioso by Camille Saint-Saëns / The Seventh Seal||81.60||5th Class A60|
|1991||For the Beauty of the Earth by Folliott Sandford Pierpoint / Praise Ye the Lord by John Rutter /
Come Before Him by Dick Tunney and Melodie Tunney / Requiem Aeternam by John Rutter /
Let There Be Praise by Dick Tunney and Melodie Tunney
|84.70||3rd Class A60|
|1992||Celebration of Music
by John Rutter & GLAD
|A Mighty Fortress by Martin Luther / Amen by Bob Kauflin / Praise Ye the Lord by John Rutter /
The Great Storm is Over by Bob Kauflin / Tag (Original)
|1993||Selections from Candide||Westphalia Chorale / Battle Music / Oh, Happy We / What A Day / Make Our Garden Grow / Overture
All from Candide by Leonard Bernstein
|1994||Pictures at an Exhibition||Promenade / Dance of the Unhatched Chickens / Hut of Baba-Yaga / Market Place at Limoges / Great Gate of Kiev
All from Pictures at an Exhibition by Modest Mussorgsky
|1995||Dance Pieces||Armenian Dances by Alfred Reed / Liturgical Dances by David Holsinger||85.40||5th Div.III|
|1996||Appalachian Spring||Appalachian Spring by Aaron Copland||87.80||3rd Div.III|
|1997||Divine Comedy||Inferno / Paradise / Ascension
All from Symphony #1, Divine Comedy by Robert W. Smith
|1998||The Trials of Spartacus||Spartacus Tone Poem by Jan Van der Roost / Love Theme (from Spartacus) by Aram Khachaturian /
Third Symphony by John Barnes Chance / War of the Elders (from Belkis, Queen of Sheba) by Ottorino Respighi
|1999||Ivan the Terrible||Overture and Chorus / Song of the Fyodor Bazmanov / Uspensky's Cathedral / The Tartars /
To Kazan / Humming Chorus / Dance of the Tsar's Men
All from Ivan the Terrible by Sergei Prokofiev
|2000||Carmina Burana||Were diu werlt alle min / Tanz / In taberna / Veni, veni, venias / In trutina / Ave formosissima / O Fortuna Plango Vulnera
All from Carmina Burana by Carl Orff
|2001||The Legend of Alcobaca||Dom Pedro's Revenge (5th Movement), Ines (2nd Movement) & Coronation of the Dead Queen (4th Movement)
All from The Legend of Alcobaca by James Sochinski
|2002||Three Decades||Jewish Fanfare and Chorale / Inferno (from Divine Comedy) by Robert W. Smith /
I Dreamed a Dream (from Les Misérables) by Claude-Michel Schönberg, Alain Boublil, and Jean-Marc Natel /
Overture to Candide by Leonard Bernstein
|2003||Visions of Blue||Gavorkna Fanfare & Chorale and Toccata by Jack Stamp / Follies (from Divertimento) by Roger Cichy /
Lento (from Dance Movements) by Philip Sparke / Symphony for Brass and Percussion (mvt III) by Alfred Reed
|2004||Reloaded||Gundam Wing by Kow Otani / Tank by Yoko Kanno / The Legend of Ashitaka (from Princess Mononoke)by Joe Hisaishi||91.025
The Music of Final Fantasy
|The Man With the Machine Gun / Liberi Fatali / Isn't It Beautiful? / Don't Be Afraid
All from Final Fantasy by Nobuo Uematsu
|2006||The Gift of Freedom||Grover's Corner (from Our Town) by Aaron Copland / Simple Gifts by Elder Joseph Brackett / O Come Emanuel (Traditional) /
Liturgical Dances by David Holsinger / America The Beautiful by Samuel A. Ward
|2007||Power and Grace||Firebird Suite by Igor Stravinsky / Swan Lake by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky /
The Swan (from Carnival of the Animals) by Camille Saint-Saëns
Every Second Counts
|La Vie en Rose by Marguerite Monnot, Louis Guglielmi, and Edith Piaf / Reverie by Claude Debussy /
Toccata by Charles-Marie Widor / Pavane by Gabriel Faure /
Pagodes, Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun & Suite Bergamasque (Claire De Lune) by Claude Debussy /
Third Symphony by Camille Saint-Saëns / Three Gymnopedies: No. 1 by Erik Satie /
The Girl with the Flaxen Hair by Claude Debussy /
Pavane for a Dead Princess & Le Tombeau de Couperin by Maurice Ravel
|2009||The Factory||Hardin County (from Lincoln) by Alan Menken / The Factory by Frank Sullivan / Fancy Free by Leonard Bernstein||90.05||8th|
|2010||Houdini||Notes on A Scandal, Morning Passages (from The Hours), Primacy of Number (from Naqoyqatsi) & The Illusionist by Philip Glass /
Trapped by Frank Sullivan / Tearing Herself Away (from The Hours) by Philip Glass /
The Mountain (from The Bucket List) by Marc Shaiman / Nixon in China by John Adams
|2011||ReBourne||Main Titles (from the Bourne Identity) by John Powell / Burly Brawl (from The Matrix Reloaded) by Don Davis /
Bourne Gets Well (from the Bourne Identity) by John Powell / Trinity Definitely (from Matrix Revolutions) by Don Davis /
Treadstone Assassins (from The Bourne Identity) by John Powell / Bullet Time (from The Matrix) by Don Davis
|2012||The Blue World||Fate Has Smiled Upon Us by Marc Straitenfeld /
The Explorers (from Symphony No. 1: A Sea Symphony) by Ralph Vaughan Williams /
Variations on Symphony No. 9 "New World Symphony" by Antonín Dvořák / Original music by Tom Aungst and Frank Sullivan
|2013||Voodoo: I Put A Spell On You||Voodoo by Richard Saucedo, Ian Grom, and John Mapes / I Put A Spell On You by Jalacy "Screamin' Jay" Hawkins /
At Last by Harry Warren and Mack Gordon / One Speed by Graeme Revell
|2014||Where the Heart Is||The Chairman Dances by John Adams / Homeward Bound by Paul Simon / Home by Drew Pearson and Greg Holden /
To Build a Home by Jason Swinscoe, Patrick Watson, and Phil France (The Cinematic Orchestra) /
Original music by Richard Saucedo, Ian Grom, and John Mapes
|2015||Side Show||Entrance of the Gladiators by Julius Fucik / The Daring Young Man on the Flying Trapeze by Gaston Lyle and George Leybourne /
I Will Never Leave You (from Sideshow) by Henry Krieger and Bill Russell / Send in the Clowns by Stephen Sondheim /
Carnivale by Jeff Beal / Original Music by Richard Saucedo, Ian Grom, John Mapes
The corps motto is the Latin phrase "Finis Coronat Opus," which is translated as "The End Crowns the Work." Many Members and Alumni often shorten this phrase to simply the letters F.C.O.
The five-pointed "Nautical Blue Star" and, more recently, the four-pointed "North Star" that has adorned the corps' uniforms since 2007 are the symbols of the Blue Stars. The six-pointed "Star of David" has also been used as a corps symbol. Both the five- and six-pointed stars have been seen as images in the Blue Stars' field drill.
Israeli songwriter Naomi Shemer's song Jerusalem of Gold, also known to corps members as the Jewish Chorale, was first played by the Blue Stars in their 1977 musical program and was adopted as the corps song.
For many years, the Blue Stars uniform was quite traditional and easily recognized. The helmet was the most notable tradition of the Blue Stars' uniforms--- the corps holds a trademark on its specific style. Late in the 2008 season, the helmets were exchanged for blue shakos with white plumes and a silver "North Star" badge on the front. White cross straps and a silver buckle over a dark blue shirt were a part of the corps uniform from the beginning through 2006, when they were eliminated for a "more contemporary looking" uniform that features a silver North Star. With more recent uniform redesigns, the corps switched to a white shako with a white plume. In 2014 the white plume was replaced with a red plume to emulate the classic look of the helmets previously worn by the corps.
- "World Class Corps". Drum Corps International. Retrieved April 5, 2012.
- corpsreps.com "History for Blue Stars". Maher Associates, Inc. Retrieved April 5, 2012.
- A History of Drum & Bugle Corps Vol. 2; Steve Vickers, ed.; Drum Corps World, pub.; 2003
- "DCI.org News: Determination: Believing in the Midwest Combine". Drum Corps International. March 12, 2004. Retrieved April 5, 2012.
- "forum The Drum Corps Discussion Group". The Sound Machine. Retrieved April 5, 2012.
- "2014 Blue Stars, Performing Arts for Youth, Inc. Board of Directors Membership". Blue Stars Drum & Bugle Corps. Retrieved May 14, 2012.
- "Blue Star Cadets Youth Band". Blue Stars Drum & Bugle Corps. Retrieved May 28, 2012.
- "Blue Stars Alumni". Facebook. Retrieved May 26, 2015.
- "Song History for Blue Stars". Maher Associates, Inc. Retrieved May 14, 2012.
- "Song History for Blue Star Cadets". Maher Associates, Inc. Retrieved May 14, 2012.
- "Blue Stars". Drum Corps Wiki. Retrieved June 18, 2008.
- Blue Stars website
- Blue Star Cadets website
- Blue Stars Fan Network
- Blue Stars Repertoires at Corpsreps