The 1974 Blue Stars season was difficult. We had grown accustomed to winning in 1972 and 1973; however, that same fortune was not to follow us in 1974. Before the year was over we would be defeated by corps that Blue Stars had previously dominated.
Our first weekend of competition was disappointing. We had heard rumors throughout the winter that the Madison Scouts were going to be good. Our goal was to put Madison in their rightful place behind the Blue Stars, as we had done so often in the past.
The scores were announced that first night and we found ourselves in second place behind Madison and down by seven points. The word given to us from the staff was that we would catch Madison by the end of the weekend with one notable exception, Frank said we would be twenty points down. Sure enough, on our third and final competition of the weekend, Watertown, Wisconsin, we were in fourth place and down by approximately twenty points. Somewhere between the competition and the bus ride home, the Blue Star tradition of pride and excellence had found its way into our midst to help us through this time of trouble. We were determined to have a successful season.
The ensuing weeks brought considerable changes to our field presentation. We also made a massive effort to recruit new members to fill our ranks. One of our more notable recruits thought it necessary to practice his bass drum parts all night long on the back of a seat on the way to Casper, Wyoming. l think there was a contract out on his life the next morning.
We had our ups and downs on the competition field but always seemed to have our share of fun on the road. 1974 was the year the boys' bus met its match in the middle of "nowhere" Kansas, witnessing the awesome sight of a 5,000 pound prairie dog. We were delirious with laughter after witnessing this beast in person.
1974 was also the first year anyone from Rock Falls Ill., marched in the corps. It was a little strange a first. We were not accustomed to the idea of only showing up for rehearsals on weekends, but a little gray Toyota would appear delivering our Rock Falls recruits.
The DCI championship was held in Ithaca, New York. Again it was a strange feeling not being in contention for the title. In fact, we were very concerned we were not going to make finals. I recall feeling nervous until the very last prelim score, that of the Polish Falcons, was announced. We may have been in twelfth place, but we still had made the championship finals.
In looking back there was something special about the 1974 corps and that was the desire to succeed. Other previous DCI finalists were not as fortunate since a number of corps did not repeat as finalists.
Walking off the field the night of finals was a welcome relief. The year was finally over. A year we had to struggle and scratch every inch of the way, a year with many frustrations and setbacks, but most members spoke of their anticipation and strategies of the coming year.
Although a twelfth place finish was not considered good in relation to Blue Star standards, I consider the year a success. We were still among the top twelve finalists. For all of those that were involved in 1974, we earned our twelfth place finish through hard work, dedication and team effort, the three key ingredients to being a success. First place or twelfth, I was still proud to be a Blue Star.
Author: Dave Albrecht
1974 DCI Finals-Ithaca
1. Santa Clara Vanguard
2. Madison Scouts
3. Anaheim Kingsmen
7. De LaSalle
9. Blue Devils
10. Purple Lancers
11. Phantom Regiment
12. Blue Stars
"In The Hall Of The Mountain King"
"In The Mood"
"El Cid Conquest"