The year of 1982 signified many new things for the Blue Stars. A new director, many new members and a smaller corps were on the list. I joined the corps on June 11, 1982, eight days before the beginning of the first tour. At the time I joined, there weren't too many members. The new director, Bob Lendman, said that whether there were five or fifty members the corps would be leaving La Crosse on tour. On June 15, a Blue Star coach came in from Spokane, Washington with about 20 new recruits. The next three days we practiced. Friday, June 18, arrived with much anticipation. The next night was our first show in Canton, III. That evening we were the first corps to perform. Our show consisted of "Canzona" as opener with drill, drums and guard; "South Rampart Street Parade' at a concert set with the drums and guard at parade rest; and "Come In From The Rain" at a concert set with the drums and guard still at parade rest. We made it through the show, or should I say struggled through it? The crowd wasn't sure of what to think until it was announced that we had only been practicing for 4 days.
Our next show was in Geneseo, 111. From there we headed west. Our destination was Boulder, Colorado. We rode on the bus for a day and a half. At the show we waited for almost an hour at parade rest before retreat. That was the first show we placed ahead of someone (we still had an incomplete show). What a thrill!
The next show was in Montrose, Colorado. From Montrose we headed toward California. The day after we left Montrose we experienced our first bus breakdown in Green River, Utah. We did our laundry and continued the ride with a pit stop in Las Vegas. Soon we landed in "Smogland" Riverside, California. Then we had shows in Fresno and Los Angeles. Our first free day was in Disneyland. We did the morning "Main Street Parade" and a short standstill. That night we climbed on the buses and headed north hitting Stockton, San Jose, and Monterrey.
Our second free day came in San Francisco. Chinatown and Pier 39 were two favorites. Our next destination was Ogden, Utah. Retreat at that show was for drum majors only. From there we travelled to Denver for Drums Along the Rockies. It was the first show we really "performed". After we circled up, Moe had tears running down his face. He seemed to be happy with our first "performance". By this point we had a full show: "Canzona", "Backwood's Sideman", "Ragtime" (drum solo), "South Rampart Street Parade", "Come In From The Rain", and reprise. One article in Dmrn Corps World called our show "Blue Stars' Greatest Hits" (except for the drum solo that was written by Dave Wakely, capton head drums).
Great Bend, Kansas, was our next stop. That night the hornline did chop suey for the first time. We had to do it in the gym. Next came the Kansas City show. Somehow we got lost on the way to the show and ended up warming up on the way to the field. Canzona sure had a lot of fracs in it that night.
We finally came to our last show on the first tour- Omaha, Nebraska. For many of us it was our first time on astroturf. We practiced on it before the show. After the show we pulled out and headed home toward La Crosse. For several members of the corps La Crosse was very new, especially for those we picked up on tour. We arrived at the corps hall (the Mary E. Sawyer Auditorium) at 8 a.m. on Wednesday, July 14. A two day vacation!!! On Saturday of that week we did a Legion parade in La Crosse. The parade ended down by the Civic Center. We jumped on the buses and headed toward Minneapolis for the Aquatennial Show. We stayed overnight in South Saint Paul with the Emerald Knights. The next day there was the River Days parade in Stillwater. We were one of the few units that went in full uniform.
Our next three shows took place in Madison, De Kalb, and Horicon. Over the next few days we learned a new reprise and drill, none other than the infamous "Tiger Rag."
July 31 took us to Cedar Rapids. Shows in Dubuque and Decorah rounded out the schedule. Our last day off in La Crosse came on August 3. That was a day of celebration. That's right, it was Puker '82. Considering, for some strange reason, everyone was hung up on Mr. Rogers, it was no shock that he became the mascot.
Thursday, August 5, we left for Drum Beauty in Stillwater, Minnesota. The next night we were in Racine, Saturday, August 7, took us to Whitewater for DCI Midwest. When we circled up, Pierre Beelendorf came forward and presented Tshirts to the members who had been with the corps since January. The Tshirts read, "TRUE BLUE - I was there when the corps needed me most."
In Dayton, Ohio, on August 10, we learned a new ending to "Tiger Rag" and kept closing down holes. Canton, Ohio, home of the Football Hall of Fame, was the place of our next show on August 12. We then travelled to Ypsilanti, Michigan, for DCI North. We pulled out after the score was announced and headed across the border to Brantford, Ontario, our housing for DCI Canada. We went to DCI Canada in Hamilton.
Our last show before prelims was in Ogdensburg, New York. We had our highest score of the season there, a 62.3. Since Hamilton, a few kids began to get sick. Eight or ten were sick to the point where they couldn't march. That evening we left the city of Varenz, our housing outside of Monteal. During practice a man asked the instructors if the corps would participate in their kid's day parade. It was the first and only parade where we could do horn "maneuvers".
Friday, August 20, took us into McGill Stadium for DCI Preliminaries. We knew our mission. It was to do the best job we possible could. The whole corps seemed to be generally running on full because we went and performed one hell of a show. A lot of kids were disappointed with the score of 53.10.
The Blue Stars of 1982 may have placed 37th, but when one considers how late the program got moving, we really ended up accomplishing so much. Our lowest score of the season was in the low 20's with the highest being a 62.3. That means a point change of 38 to 40 points. In closing, the Blue Stars of 1982 didn't aim to win, we aimed to survive.
Author: Sue Stoen
1982 DCI Finals-Montreal
1. Blue Devils
2. Santa Clara Vanguard
3. Garfield Cadets
4. Phantom Regiment
5. Madison Scouts
6. 27th Lancers
10. Sky Riders
12. Spirit of Atlanta
. . .
37. Blue Stars
"Alexander's Ragtime Band"
"Image of Maria"-"Tiger Rag"