After stabilizing as a Top 12 Finalist in 1988, the Bluecoats took a new competitive step in 1989 with a different design staff. Entering the winter season, business appeared as usual as members reported for their first camp after Thanksgiving and picked up the “blue pages” of rules, regulations and the cost of being a Bluecoat. Touted as one of the least expensive Top 12 corps, the dues structure for 1989 was a paltry, by today’s standards, $125 for rookie “member” dues. But the Bluecoats of that era put together an ala carte cost structure. Winter Camps ranged from $6 to $10 per camp. Tack on about another $100 for 11 off-season camps (compare that to four camps for the brass section of the corps, two for guard and percussion today) and the cost rises to $250. An approximate $200 summer meal fee was payable on the first day of tour, and of course the incidentals of gloves, shoes (in 1989 that would be all members, switching from black to white) and so that topped the total dollar amount to right around $500. Adjusted for inflation, that comes to about $1750 in 2018 dollars and about half the price today’s Bluecoat pays.
But a scroll through the 1989 “blue pages” (read them yourself!) shows a very different organization. No full time director, an instructional staff that is easily a third of the size of today’s staff and corps full of volunteer parents. While those volunteers are key to today’s corps, the touring schedule in 1989 was more conducive to part time drum corps organizations. The first half of the season was spent touring regionally, for the Bluecoats in 1989 that was Drum Corps Midwest (no longer around). The second half of the season picked up the wider travel across the country en-route to DCI Championships, which rotated every two years to a new location. 1989 was originally intended to be in Montreal, Canada, but in the winter was returned to Kansas City, Missouri.
In 1989 Bluecoats would wander southeast after Drum Corps Midwest and take in a few Drum Corps East shows (also no longer around) before beginning the DCI touring schedule en-route to Kansas City, which would see the corps jump from 11th to 8th place, sporting a new sound (brass arranged by Jay Dawson, percussion by Robb Muller), new drill design (Bret Mascaro) and a new look with baby blue tops and white pants.