The Bluecoats Drum and Bugle Corps

The Bluecoats Drum and Bugle Corps have steadily climbed the championship ranks under the direction of David Glasgow. As it celebrates its 40th season, will this year be its most memorable yet?

The Bluecoats Drum and Bugle Corps celebrates its 40th anniversary this season and continues to maintain its mark of excellence on the field. Corps director David Glasgow, who won Drum Corps International’s Director of the Year Award in 2006, has managed the Bluecoats for the past eight years. During this time, the corps has achieved some of its most successful finishes, including a bronze medal in 2010.

With his deep relationship with the Bluecoats, Glasgow looks to engage the alumni of the corps in order to make this season a special one.

Halftime: Tell us about yourself and your relationship with the Bluecoats.

Glasgow: I started with the Bluecoats in 1998 and played euphonium and in 2000 became drum major for my final two years. After that I was the tour coordinator, assistant director and became the corps director in September of 2003, and 2004 was my first season as director, and I have held that position ever since.

Halftime: You were relatively young when you became a corps director. Was that difficult?

Glasgow: I was really fortunate because I saw this as a possible career path early on. I kind of found that this could be a possibility my age-out year. So, it changed my initial perspective pretty quickly that year.

And also, I had really great people around me to help me and train me for this position. People like former director Bill Hamilton, for example. To be aroundthe leadership of the corps really gave me the tools to succeed. That way, I did not feel like I was being thrown to the wolves when I started, and I had a support system around me. The organization did a great job on transitioning in order to give me the resources I needed.

Halftime: The Bluecoats have seen a rise in rankings in recent years. What is behind that rise?

Glasgow: I believe it is a combination of a whole lot of things. We went from being a small group with people coming and helping out on a volunteer basis to having full-time employees, which has allowed us to solidify our foundation and organization. Basically, trying to be excellent in everything we do and running the corps in a professional manner. We have been fortunate to have really talented staff designers and instructors and outstanding membership over the course of the last decade. With strong years in 2004, 2005 and 2006, we really set up a foundation in which we are a corps that people will want to be a part of.

Halftime: How does the corps plan to celebrate its 40th season?

Glasgow: We are doing a number of things this coming season. One of them is a campaign we’re doing called, “I am a Bluecoat,” and our goal is to connect with 75 percent of our alumni from the past 40 years. We’ll have them wear a wristband with the campaign name and have them take a picture of themselves wherever they are for our 40th anniversary blog. We’re also trying to get 40,000 likes on our official Facebook page by the end of the calendar year.

Halftime: How has the alumni support been for the Bluecoats?

Glasgow: It’s been very good. We have seen a surge in alumni support due to our “I am a Bluecoat” campaign and the 40th anniversary activities that we have done. We have been fortunate to have many years of performers. Like any other organization, the support will only get better as we get more people. We are making a concerted effort to get our alumni involved any way they can and have them reconnect with the organization and be a part of our future.

Halftime: What is in store for the future of the Bluecoats?

Glasgow: I think the future is bright for the corps. I believe that we will continue on the path that we are on. We are always going to make sure that we provide an outstanding area for our participants and strive in creating a really positive environment for them to be successful. We want to be as excellent as we possibly can, and we will continue to do that. Hopefully we keep on being a corps that people love to watch and will want to be a part of.

About the Author

Jeremy Chen will be a junior majoring in broadcast journalism at the University of Southern California (USC). He marched cymbals for two years at Rancho Cucamonga High School before playing bass drum and snare at Upland High School. He is currently a snare drummer and office staff member for the USC Trojan Marching Band. He aspires to one day become a correspondent for the BBC.

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