The first summer of the Bluecoats existence was a short tour — a few local parades in borrowed band pants and t-shirts with the Canton Police Boys Club logo. A full color fundraising brochure was created to seek the dollars needed to uniform the corps, starting boldly with “Do you remember the 1973 Hall of Fame Parade and the sense of pride you felt when the fledgling Bluecoat drum and bugle corps marched by wearing tee shirts and discarded band trousers for uniforms but stepping out and holding their heads as high…” The brochure goes on to give a little background on the activity.
- small bands competed in the 1920s using “primitive” instruments
- drum and bugle corps are between 100 and 150 members
- in the 1970s corps play the full range of music from Bach to the Beatles
The brochure also poetically reached out to the nostalgia of the recipient, “This type of civic-mindedness and summer activity brings to mind band concerts, ice cream festivals and a more serene time of life.” While there are no pictures of the members of the corps, the brochure is filled with the best looking drum corps of the day. A not so subtle hint that the Bluecoats need this look too.
The brochure cover’s uniform prototype would end up becoming the actual uniform worn through 1978. The look was modeled after the uniform of police units in the Caribbean, where corps co-founder Art Drukenbrod, also a professional tailor, vacationed and took note. The brochure also proudly touts the roots of the Bluecoats with the police, “the name Bluecoats was chosen as a tribute to Canton police force and, indeed, all policemen everywhere.”
The extent of the success of the brochure is not known, but Bluecoats Hall of Famer Richard Fredericks was a key corporate partner, providing significant funds to fully uniform that 1974 corps. Casting a nice foreshadow, the brochure proudly says that these young performers are “striving to be the best at what they do.” A decade later, another corps director would begin using “be the best you can be” a combination of six words to serve as a motivational slogan.
Monday Memory is an on-going series that starts off the week with a little history behind the Bluecoats on our website and social media outlets