On Sunday, December 3rd, 1972 a tailor and two police officers held an informative meeting to start a competitive drum and bugle corps out of the workings of the Canton Police Boys Club youth based drum corps that the two police officers worked with. It would be no small feat and from the outset the trio were counseled against the endeavor. To motivate the 50 youngsters and parents that showed up that day, Art Drukenbrod (the tailor) read a letter from a national drum and bugle corps expert who advised that they would never find youngsters willing to give up the time required nor would the community be willing to support it.
Six months later, 119 young adults hit the pavement for the corps’ first parade, which they won and used the $15 prize money to buy gas to help bring the corps back home. One year later the corps hit the competitive field in brand new uniforms, helped in part by the same community that was supposedly not going to help the organization. Four years later the corps attended Drum Corps International Championships for the first time. Officers J. Babe Stearn and Ralph McCaulley believed, with Art, that their community and its youth were ready for the challenge. In honor of their police Boys Club roots, the corps was named the Bluecoats.
For the full story from the newspaper in 1973, click on the image to the upper right.