It seems as if most people remember their first year in drum corps the most, and this is certainly true about my first year in the Blue Stars. When I joined the corps in the winter of 1978, the future looked very bright. The previous year, 1977, had been very good for the corps both in terms of the direction of the program and the corps placement in finals. The show for 1978 looked good and everyone was excited, the only problem seemed to be getting enough people to fill the corps. During the winter attendance at the weekend camps was average but when the summer finally arrived and everyone moved to town, we discovered that we had less than 40 horns, and it seemed as if half of them were living with Schultz. At this point an entire novel could be written about that house on Avon Street which so many called home and so many others called disgusting. I started to wonder how anyone could survive the Blue Star social life without becoming damaged for life but I soon learned that it was impossible to avoid, so l quit worrying.
Well, the competitive season started and no one really knew what to think about the corps. All anyone could talk about were those funny red turbans and the long heavy capes the color guard was wearing. You either liked or hated the turbans and the entire color guard hated them with a passion. I'm sure they will never forget the hours they spent rolling and unrolling those long red things, nor will they soon forget the dreaded result of wearing a red turban on a hot summer night, "Turban Hair".
The season progressed, the corps picked up members and things started looking a little better. A few of those extremely knowlegeable writers for the drum corps magazines even started to say that we would make finals again. The only thing that wasn't getting any better for the corps was the weather. It seemed as if wherever we went a rainstorm followed, especially in the Midwest. After being rained out in La Crosse and Madison we started to wonder if we would ever perform again. At one point, I think we even considered quitting corps to start building an ark and wait for the oncoming floods. Eventually, even the weather started to cooperate and the corps returned for its tour of the East Coast and Canada for the big show in Whitewater. Here, with the color guard capes gone and the execution scores growing, we finally started to gain on those corps directly ahead of us, specifically the Crossemen and the Spirit of Atlanta. After Whitewater we went back to La Crosse for a little relaxation and a lot of hard work in preparing for the big push to Denver.
Before that big push started some of us did take a little time off for one of those events which make life especially life in drum corps, a little more interesting. What am I talking about? The "Puker" of course. Puker '78 was a great success. While I'm sure everone does not agree with the extreme activity witnessed on that day, I can say with great confidence that that annual event has a fond place in the hearts of many including myself, and the Blue Star Pukers have a place of their own in the history of drum corps.
After the midseason break we were back on the road to Denver, and that long road was paved with lots of sweat, hard work and some "Texas sized" Dallas cockroaches. But despite the bugs in Texas and the tremendous heat in Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas the corps continued to get better and better until we reached that stage of maturity where each performance was fun and enjoyable. We were finally confident in ourselves and in what we could do. The days in Denver were spent refining the show, building up our confidence and wondering who was going to be stupid enough to climb the mountain at the Colorado School of Mines. When the time finally arrived for the corps final performance in Mile High Stadium, I can remember a great feeling of excitement and anticipation. We were ready and this we owed to the staff. It seemed as if we had peaked at just the right time. We had reached our potential and the staff had done a tremendous job in taking us there.
We should all feel very good about the 1978 season because of the things we accomplished and the good times we had together.
Author: Fred Feeney
1978 DCI Finals-Denver
1. Santa Clara Vanguard
2. Phantom Regiment
3. Blue Devils
4. Madison Scouts
6. Spirit of Atlanta
7. 27th Lancers
8. Blue Stars
10. North Star
"Suite for Jazz Flute and Piano"
"Israeli National Anthem"
"Come In From The Rain"