Alumni Feature: Celeste Cooning


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.

Celeste has many fond memories in her five years with the Bluecoats, which all center around the great friends she made, with many of whom she is still in contact. One year stands out specifically, “At the end of 1997, I was not ready to say good bye. The camaraderie felt among the members and staff was at an all-time high and I didn’t want the season to end. That and, 89 (Kevin Wier) saying ‘goodnight, girls’ and the epic glow-stick war the night before finals in 97.”

Celeste Cooning and the 1998 Guard

When asked how drum corps has affected her life, Celeste’s response: “How has it not affected my life? My sense of community, my work ethic. Having the courage to chase my passions, and to constantly challenge my comfort zone. All of these qualities are rooted in what I learned at the Bluecoats.”

Celeste is still in contact with many Bluecoats. Most recently she traveled to Grand Rapids, Michigan to take part in ArtPrize, an international art competition. While there she was able to connect with several mid-90s alum, and even was surprised by a visit from 2016 color guard members and DCI World Champions, Delaney Faught and Megan Dufala.


“We pick up right where we left off. Something special binds us together. We may have ended our marching days over 15 years ago but it could have been yesterday. In getting to know Delaney and Megan it’s good to know that the essence of the Bluecoats still exists. The close-knit family, the work-ethic and the shenanigans.” -- Celeste Cooning

Celeste's work can be viewed at


Feature authored by Kelli Carlson