For System Blue, 2016 marked the start of an organizational reboot.
Developed by The Blue Devils Drum and Bugle Corps, System Blue was born out of a desire to design high-quality products that were unavailable in the marching arts. “We’re using the same products we’re developing for you, and we want to make them great,” says David Gibbs, president of System Blue.
The System Blue division originally partnered with other manufacturers to make its products. But over time, it decided to take the next step and move from being exclusively the manufacturer’s partner to become the manufacturer itself. Thus, on Jan. 1, 2016, System Blue officially separated from The Blue Devils not-for-profit organization and became an independent for-profit entity.
System Blue now manufactures full lineups of marching percussion and brass products. Its carbon composite wood percussion instruments are “kind of a game changer in the activity,” Gibbs says.
On average, its carbon composite drums are 30% lighter than traditional marching drums. They also have a distinct stylistic look that sets them apart from the competition. Third, System Blue created a method for drum wraps to be changed in mere minutes rather than hours.
“That one product kind of signifies our mission” of providing new and innovative products that elevate programs, Gibbs says.
On its brass instruments, System Blue incorporates engraved markings, one eighth of an inch apart, on the tuning slide. These markings help musicians more easily determine where their slides should be depending upon the weather, humidity, or other situations, making it easier to tune large ensembles.
System Blue also promotes musical excellence with its “System Blue Education” initiative. Each summer, about a dozen events, such as multi-day marching camps and percussion clinics, are held throughout the United States and internationally.
“We want to be focused on the marching arts, so we can be the experts in that.” Gibbs says. “You can get a product, and that’s great, but kids need to feel empowered by education, by leadership training, [and] the band director needs help with their staff, in terms of how you do certain things better, the tricks of the trade, so we want to support them long after they buy a product.”
For more information, visit systemblue.org.