Season Synopsis: After an up and down end to the 1982 season, 1983 began, as off seasons usually did at this time in history, with weekly practices in the fall and winter. But member participation dropped off, especially in the horn line. The successful winterguard program from the past two off-seasons did not field after the 1982 corps season. Plans were put together in the Fall for a themed show around the Broadway musical All That Jazz and by winter the percussion had parts in hand for Let’s Hear it For Me from the musical Funny Lady.
In 1982 the corps had been given a former Massillon school that had been abandoned to use as a permanent corps hall. However, the upkeep on the deteriorating structure was a significant burden and by winter it had been abandoned as a practice facility.
Heading back to Canton, Edgewood Elementary became the late winter practice site. It was at this location that the members were gathered in late March and Tom Jakmides announced that he was stepping down as the Corps Director and the corps was folding. Rookie Ken Fanti recalled, “I really got the impression that the Bluecoats were ‘done’ that day.” Members gathered and discussions started of going to other corps to march the 1983 season. Many did. “It seemed like the end,” Fanti said, “We drummed for a while before packing it all up and leaving.”
Later in the summer, Jakmides would drive one of the corps buses with a handful of kids to the 1983 U.S. Open in Marion, Ohio, where just two years earlier the corps had ruled the Class A universe as champions. It would be the last function with the corps Jakmides would serve, as during the winter leading into 1984 the corps would completely restructure and a new director would step in. A parent of a drummer with business experience and a desire and drive like few others would take on the challenge of bringing back the Bluecoats.