The ’98 season was somewhat unique for many of the members. I managed to get on board sometime in April, making the long drive from Michigan City, Indiana. The vets followed an incredible ’97 season and expected great things. All of the rookies were very excited to be Blue Stars.
I met so many friends through this great organization. Martha was my "contact" before the season started, and ended up being my bud in the baritone line. Rich, Butler, Nick, Fischer, Petey, Ashly, Kaydee, Jo, Cheese...and on and on...I never forgot the people, the family I was given with this corps, it stays with you.
Things started off a little rocky (as they do everywhere!) in that our drill had to be re-written due to a lack of members to fill the holes. Once this was taken care of, things started rolling. Our late start caused some problems at the beginning, but at the home show it all started to click. This was the first show we felt good about and in which we first beat our talented rivals from Appleton, The Americanos. From a corps perspective things continued upward, though it was not quite the success most of the vets were used too.
We were able to take second place at DCM, without winning any captions. It was around this time that I found out how many Indiana members "The Blue Team" had. I was excited, for no other reason than I was also from Indiana. It was amazing to me how many non-local members the corps could draw.
At the start of DCI tour, things continued upward. The design started to make some sense and holes were closed. I remember riding from a show where a lightning storm just seemed to fall on us; Miller (permanent visual instructor) just started freaking out. It was something out of a movie. I remember it so well because it gave me a strange boost for second tour. I also discovered a great talent that a rookie might have, and was given the nickname, Precious. I’ll be glad to share if you ask me. Whatever it takes I guess.
I also remember stopping in Bloomington, IN for a laundry day, where Ron "Delicious" Ryles (visual tech) and I decided to hit some bars. When we came back everyone thought it would be a good idea to empty out a game full of stuffed animals in the laundry mat (you know, with the grab arm). I actually have a picture with almost the whole corps and 3-6 animals apiece. Not related to the show, but it’s something I always sort of remembered, good times.
Anyway, our show progressed though our score did not show until towards the end. Our best show would have to have been at the North American Open in Rocky Mount, NC, absolutely beautiful country. It might have been our best show of the season, though the judges did not agree. I was more than happy with what we put out that night, great show. DCI prelims was something of a second coming for us as we scored a 90.7. This particular year in drum corps meant record setting scores in our division, and fierce competition. Lot’s of great drum corps.
As for us, I’ll never forget the look on my brass caption head’s face (Eric Olsen) after both prelims and finals. It finalized a decision for me to enter the field of music education. Scores may not have made it a year for contention, but it was a Blue Star year. For me, I was just excited to wear the uniform. Finis Coronat Opus.
Author: Jeff Appel
1998 DCI Divison III Finals-Orlando
2. Phantom Legion
4. St. John's
5. Blue Stars
6. General Butler Vagabonds
7. Lone Star
8. Bayonne Raiders
"The Trials of Spartacus"