In Search Of…The La Crosse Blue Stars 2010

LA CROSSE, Wis. – For the Blue Stars Drum and Bugle Corps, things really get pumping when the 19 members of the battery take the field! “You could spend our entire show being completely enthralled with our drum line. They are moving and playing and integrate stick moves,” says Executive Director Brad Furlano.

“We have 9 snare drummers, 5 quads and 5 bass drummers”

This section is literally the pulse of the entire corps. “They are the tempo setters. The drivers of the tempo or the memento of the show.” “I would say we bring a little groove to the corps.”

“There’s a lot of repetition in what we do. The more reps the better.” “You just keep going at it until we get it. And we’re going to get it.” “Everyone’s working really, really hard.” “This year it’s times 10. They’re doing movement that our brass line didn’t even do 2 or 3 years ago. They’re dancing and jumping and moving all over the field.”

Without them…we’d be in trouble.”

The final piece of the drum corps puzzle belongs to the 12 members of front ensemble. “I’m in the front ensemble. We don’t march. We play music pretty much the entire show and my particular instrument in the marimba.” “Marimbas, xylophones, tympani, vibraphones, cymbals, synthesizer, electric drums, concert snare drum, chimes. You name it. It’s everything but the kitchen sink in the front ensemble area.” “They provide percussion color to our show.”

“They are integral in transition moments and we move from one tune to the next. All the little flash and sizzle that makes a great performance truly memorable. The gong hit on the impact. The concert bass drum. The mallet runs up and down. They are the cherry on top of the sundae that just adds that little sort of sparkle and sizzle to make the show come alive.”

We’ve seen the individual parts that make up the whole, but the real key to a successful drum corps is bringing them all together. “One section of our drum corps cannot carry us where we need to go. The chemistry of the whole has to come together in a way that everything gels. Everything has to unite at the end of the day. “

“You can’t go out and do this activity by yourself, it’s not an individual activity. You have to have the pit, the drum line, the horns and the color guard and you have to be listening an watching and paying attention to each other to make this whole production work.”

“We all interact with each other and we all support each other because we all know that at the end of the day, we’re performing the same thing and we have to keep each other going and it’s gonna be awesome when it’s done.”

“This can be a very frustrating activity. There are a lot of moving parts and the logistics. Some days it feels like you’re going to doe a death from a thousand paper cuts. And then, you can go up in the stands at the end of the night and it will all click together and there’s not other feeling like it in the world.”

You have the chance to catch the Blue Stars in action tonight. Rivercity Rhapsody starts a 7:00 pm at Veterans Memorial Sports Complex on the UW-L campus. The event is featuring 10 of the best corps from around the Midwest.

For more information, go to