Alumni Feature: John Kowal

John Kowal: 1979-1983, ’85 Percussion

John Kowal became a Bluecoat in 1979 and marched in Bluecoats and Phantom Regiment until 1986, his age-out year. John is presently living just outside of Houston Texas, working as a mechanical engineer for the NASA Johnson Space Center. He has one twelve year old son and two step-daughters ages 19 and 23.

Q: How has Bluecoats impacted your life?
A: One of the things I’ve noticed about different organizations or institutions is the difference in the impact the people have had on me. The camaraderie in drum and bugle corps, Bluecoats, is that thirty years later I can go back and compare people from then and now; the members look different but they are still the same. It’s as if I stopped marching last year. I’ve been to events like High School reunions. The people are different and it feels strange. In Bluecoats, bonds last a lifetime. I always strive to do my best; perfection is my goal. I got my feet wet in college and applied that attitude for college which led directly to my employment with NASA. (more…)

Alumni Feature: Dawn Crandall Bradbury

Dawn Crandall Bradbury: 1995 Rook-Out – Brass

Being a one season age-out, affectionately known as a “rook out”, is challenging in its own right. Regardless of being a one year member or a super vet, the experience of being a Bluecoat is life long.  We feature this month 2000 Contra (tuba) “rook out” Dawn Crandall Bradbury.

Q: What was the show that made you want to be a Bluecoat?

A: I have loved the Bluecoats since the summer of 1995. Their Homefront: 1945 show touched me every time I saw it.  I decided that summer, that one day, I would be a part of this group. I was marching with a Division III corps, and one of our staff members had aged out with the Bluecoats. She talked about the organization very highly, but for me, it was always about the music. I loved the style, the jazz, the sound. (more…)

Alumni Feature: Celeste Cooning

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Celeste Cooning (foreground)

Celeste Cooning: 1994-1998 Color Guard

Celeste, originally from Warsaw, Indiana, now calls Seattle, Washington her home. A graduate of Indiana University and University of Washington, Celeste is a visual artist working predominantly in cut paper. Her work has graced the Seattle-Tacoma Airport, Starbucks, Seattle’s Jackson Park, Zoe Juniper Dance Company, and Kinesis Project in NYC. (more…)

Alumni Feature: Kevin Armbruster

Kevin Armbruster: 1972-1980 Brass

Kevin Armbruster got his drum corps fix started before age 10, when the Marion Cadets sent their feeder corps to nearby town for a parade.  Kevin was hooked, and drum corps was in his future plans even at a young age.  Fortunately for the Bluecoats, Kevin’s family soon moved to Canton, Ohio and a lo and behold, new drum corps was starting up in 1972.  The McKinley High School band member jumped in with the corps playing soprano. (more…)

Alumni Feature: Bob Rohrbaugh

Bob Rohrbaugh: 1974-1977 Percussion

Bob’s first performance was the Bluecoats’ first judged competition and Bob’s last performance was the corps first DCI prelim appearance in Boulder, Colorado in 1977.  Bob notes many fond memories from those beginning years, but a few stand out.  (more…)

Alumni Feature: Mike Bonnell

mb2Mike Bonnell: 1984-1986 Brass

Mike marched with the corps in the mid 1980s and still lives within a short distance of the J. Babe Stearn Center (the second “the Boys Club” building).  Mike’s earliest memory of the Bluecoats was back in the early to mid 70’s.  His Mom’s best friend lived by the old Boy’s Club on Navarre Rd. and they use to go there on the weekends to visit, and the Bluecoats would be there at times rehearsing.  “We would be out there watching them practice,” Mike said. “ A guy I marched in high school with (Paul Sutter) asked me to come to a Bluecoats rehearsal, so I did.  I was hooked from day one!” (more…)