WGI Percussion and Winds World Championships!

Congratulations to all the talented performers and staff who took the floor at WGI Percussion and WGI Winds World Championships last week! We were proud to see so many current and former Bluecoats bringing productions to life either as performers or as staff members!

At WGI Percussion World Championships we cheered Broken City along as they achieved a record-breaking finals score of 98.850, winning Independent World Class finals. Bluecoats Percussion Caption Head Roger Carter works with Broken City during the indoor season and many Bluecoats percussion performers are members of the group. Congratulations to Broken City on such a rewarding season!

Super Bloo in the Super Bowl

The Super Bowl is a worldwide media event with the halftime extravaganza getting lots of attention beyond the sporting world.  Super Bowl 53 saw several Bluecoats participate in the halftime production. Nick Taylor, Jake Lyons, Colin Brewer, Corinne Artis, and Alex Naughton, all recent Bluecoats, had a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be part of the amazing halftime production at Super Bowl 53.

Nick Taylor, a member of the 2008 Bluecoats Snare Line, is a musician in the United States Navy Band and represented them as a member in the Joint Service Color Guard during opening ceremonies.

Jake Lyons, part of the Bluecoats Front Ensemble in 2012 and 2013, helped produce the drumline that appeared with Maroon 5’s act. “In early December, the casting team reached out to me personally about being a liaison for this drumline they were going to use at the show. I’m an Atlanta based WGI director of a percussion group, and they kind of stumbled upon me through the grapevine,” Lyons shared. The halftime producers wanted an Atlanta based group of 32 performers and it fell upon Lyons’ shoulders to staff and equip the group. Thanks to Seavine, Sabian, Innovative Percussion and On2, the equipment needs fell into place.

Lyons looked to the staff and alumni of Equinox to fill the personnel needs. “The group is made up of Equinox staff and alumni, people who are or were affiliated with our indoor group, all PHENOMENAL musicians who all marched WGI/DCI and have taught for years. We were so so stacked and it was such a joy to play with that many amazing DCI alums.”  Current Equinox members were not included due to the strain of preparing for the WGI season just weeks away.  Participants moved to Atlanta for an intensive week of training, including several “all day” rehearsals on site at the Mercedes Dome.

Creatively, Lyons said they had license to do what they wanted, “They let us write most of our own choreo and let us heavily embellish what their arrangers wrote for us, so we ended up with all kinds of back sticking and stick tricks in the show, stuff we knew would appeal more to the masses than technical drumming.”  Jake was joined by Bluecoats alum Colin Brewer, 2010 Front Ensemble, with the majority of the drummers being former DCI performers as well.

Corinne Artis, part of the Bluecoats Color Guard in 2011, 2013 and 2014, was also a key participant for the halftime production.  Georgia State’s Marching Band had an announcement come out in early December to current and past participants about being part of the LED cast.  As with all parts of the Super Bowl halftime show, participants were not allowed to share their role in the event with friends and even family. Over the month, rehearsals added new layers on to the show, “Georgia State was on the LED cast, the light squares to the left and right of the stage,” Artis shared, “so we started by learning our drill and then every rehearsal we would add another cast, the lantern drones, the fans, the talent, until the whole production came together a few days before the game.

Alex Naughton, a member of the Bluecoats Color Guard from 2016 to 2018 was also a part of the LED cast alongside Reverie Winter Guard where he marches. He said, “It was interesting to see how much work goes into something that big.” He mentioned the performance coordinators “who have to work many long nights to get everything to work perfectly in the drones, LED lights, pyrotechnics, and drill for roughly 1,000 cast members. At that level, everything has to be perfect because if something goes terribly wrong it could be as Adam Levine said to us, ‘a career killer.’” Naughton’s favorite moment of the experience was getting to play the role of fan where he got to enjoy a Maroon 5 concert around ten times during rehearsals.

Of the experience, Artis said, “It was a really cool experience to see behind the scenes how many people come together from all over and how many hours were put in to create a unique 15-minute production. Very similar to another sport I know!”  Brewer stated, "Having done DCI and WGI for a long time, big crowds aren't intimidating anymore. But this was a lot bigger than I imagined and it was like, oh this is actually happening." Lyons agreed, “I think we really gave many of them some life-changing performance opportunities.”


A Busy Weekend For Bluecoats: DCI Annual Meetings, Health & Wellness & Bluecoats Indoor!

Bluecoats Logo Last weekend was busy for Bluecoats, as our staff, executive team, designers, and even Bluecoats Indoor gathered in Indianapolis for a weekend of fun, rehearsals, and great conversation. The Bluecoats executive team, caption heads, designers, and members of the board of directors came together for the 2019 DCI Annual Meetings and Instructors Summit. Dubbed “Here’s To Our Health,” the summit was an opportunity to discuss the state of our activity, learn more about DCI’s efforts to make drum corps safer, and vote on important changes to our rules and policies.

Bluecoats has two members on the Rules and Systems Task Force (RSTF) of DCI, Bluecoats Artistic Director & Visual Designer Jon Vanderkolff and Bluecoats Brass Supervisor Dave MacKinnon. This DCI committee was instrumental in guiding conversation on the modification of field judge procedure and other competitive elements proposed at the meeting. Following a weekend full of incredible conversation across the activity, the DCI Voting Membership voted to approve the instructors’ recommendations for field judge and prop rule changes.

Also at the “Janual,” as it’s called, Bluecoats CEO Mike Scott and CFO/COO Genevieve Geisler attended the New Directors Orientation where new directors and administrators from across the DCI Community learned more about DCI governance, who’s who in the DCI office, and more. That wasn’t all for Genevieve though as over the weekend she also met with the IN STEP: Women of DCI initiative that she chairs. The IN STEP committee sponsored a presentation about hiring diverse teams and complying with the Equal Opportunity Employment Act. You can see the interview Genevieve did with the new DCI News here! Additionally, this weekend Bluecoats Executive Advisor David Glasgow was re-elected to the DCI Board of Directors where he will continue to offer his business expertise and insight as an affiliated board member.

Another integral part of the DCI Annual Meetings is the DCI Board Consortium where members of the boards of directors of all corps join together for a week of discussion of best practices and how the drum corps activity can move forward. Bluecoats was represented by four members of our board including Board President Scott Swaldo.

As if all of that wasn’t enough, the design team met to discuss summer 2019! Additionally, Bluecoats Indoor was rehearsing nearby and was hard at work on their 2019 winter program. We had some major set developments and the members had a hair and makeup workshop. Bluecoats Indoor 2019 debuts in just four weeks and embarks on its second-ever year!

Wow! What a busy weekend! Bluecoats is so grateful to have such amazing support that makes it possible to have weekends like these!

Key Additions To Bluecoats Educational & Design Teams Announced

October 8, 2018 - CANTON, OH - Today Bluecoats is excited to announce several great additions to its design and educational staff for the 2019 summer season. Joining the design team is Matt Jordan as Music Coordinator & Sound Designer. Matt moves to this new role from his previous position as the Bluecoats’ Associate Music Ensemble Coordinator. Joining the Bluecoats instructional team are Visual Co-Caption Head Jarrod Huntley, Assoc. Music Ensemble Coordinator Dr. David Hall, and Battery Coordinator Joe Hobbs.

“We take so much pride in our design and educational teams. These individuals make Bluecoats what we are and ensure the life-changing experience the drum corps provides,” said Mike Scott, Bluecoats CEO. “Whenever we have the opportunity to grow our team we take great care to ensure that we find the absolute best people in the world. We have certainly found that with these individuals,” Scott said.

The remainder of the Bluecoats design and instructional leadership teams will return in 2019. The instructional leadership team includes Music Ensemble Coordinator Ryan Kilgore, Brass Caption Head Derek Gipson, Brass Advisor Dave Mackinnon, Percussion Caption Head Roger Carter, Front Ensemble Coordinator Brad Palmer, Battery Coordinator Ryan Anderson, Visual Co-Caption Head Mike Fanning, and Color Guard Caption Head Lindsay Kusmierczak.

The design team, responsible for such memorable programs as Tilt, Session 44, and the 2016 World Championship program Downside Up, is already hard at work creating the Bluecoats’ 2019 production. The team includes Artistic Director & Visual Designer Jon Vanderkolff, Program Coordinator Dean Westman, Guard Caption Supervisor/Designer

& Choreographer Jim Moore, Costume Designer & Choreographer Greg Lagola, Scenic Designer Michael Raiford, Composer & Percussion Designer Tom Rarick, Composer & Brass Arranger Doug Thrower, Music Coordinator & Sound Designer Matt Jordan, and Audio Systems Designer Aaron Beck.

Says Scott, “I’m so excited to get started and to continue working with our entire team!”

Bluecoats Indoor Auditions Set, Registration Open!

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INDIANAPOLIS, IN - Bluecoats Indoor, the World-Class indoor winterguard started just last year is back for a second year! The Bluecoats Indoor Audition Experience is scheduled for September 15th and 16th at Edison School of the Arts in downtown Indianapolis. Check-in will begin at 10 am and overnight accommodations will be provided at the school.

The program, which last year brought the incredible Bluecoats creative team and the unforgettable Bluecoats' experience together in the WGI arena, will return with the same creative team that created the 2018 show and that helps to create the visual elements of the Bluecoats Drum & Bugle Corps shows that we all love.

"The first year of Bluecoats Indoor was exciting for so many reasons - the freshness, the intensity, the unknowns of starting a new program," said Mike Scott of Bluecoats. "This year is exciting for so many different reasons. I cannot wait to get the team back together, to bring our inaugural members together with newcomers, and to see what we can do now that the 'newness' is past us and we get to put ourselves out there once again as Bluecoats."

Registration opened today for the Bluecoats Indoor Audition Experience. Registrations between now and August 31st receive a discounted Early Bird rate of $49. Beginning Sept. 1st, the full price of the two-day event is $65. An FAQ is available on the event page.

With questions about Bluecoats Indoor auditions and membership email For more information about Bluecoats and our programming, email us at