by Philo Hagen
Can you keep a secret? I’m kind of a sucker for marching band music. There’s something about a whole platoon of band geeks in their uniforms giving all their love to some song of yesteryear that makes me just wanna get up and holla! Woot woot! While my parents did invest in a cornet, which was somehow related to the trumpet, after only one semester in band class it had become clear to myself and everyone that I just wasn’t going to cut it. Perhaps that is why I’ve always had an appreciation for the music makers who can and do so brilliantly, and when it comes to marching bands and drill team squads and drum corps that can captivate the world on a football field during a half-time show, there are simply one better in the world than 2012 DCI World Class Champions – The Blue Devils.
The BD Performing Arts programs themselves see being a part of the Blue Devil experience as much more than playing music. They believe that music itself and the performing arts connect youth with their culture through a common language that crosses generational, social, and racial barriers. They also believe the activities a young person pursues in life influences the type of person they will become and that being a part of the Blue Devils builds discipline, character, pride, and self-confidence in young people. While that may sound like a lot of hyperbole for some, if you’ve ever had the privilege of witnessing a performance first hand, you would instantly know that they not only mean it, but they be building all of that and more. And the Blue Devils don’t just march around playing songs while spinning their flags and wooden rifles and such. In fact, these days when you see The Blue Devils perform, you’re going to see them spinning up some hoops and delivering some team hooping choreography that is sure to leave you breathless. In fact it may have been the factor that scored them yet another championship title at the Drum Corps International World Championships.
Founded in 1957, The Blue Devils’ objective has been to develop personal character through challenging physical, emotional, mental, and social activities while promoting the values of dedication, hard work, and commitment to a team effort. Over 450 young people currently participate in The Blue Devils programs and they are entirely community-funded, with all instruments, instruction, and costumes provided to participants who pay only a modest annual participation fee. The Blue Devils organization currently offers seven youth programs – including the crème de la crème – The Blue Devils “A” Drum and Bugle Corps. The internationally competitive Blue Devils “A” Corps is comprised of 150 members between the ages of 17 and 21 and they are the most decorated corps in the history of Drum Corps International (DCI). The Blue Devils “A” have finished in the top five for the last 28 consecutive years, and if that isn’t impressive enough they have actually won the DCI World Championship title an unprecedented 14 times.
The Blue Devils made their way to Indianapolis last week for the DCI World Championships where they once again emerged with a first place victory while putting a spin on the big event. In the video above, the hoops come out just after the five minute mark, but if you’re anything like me you’re sure to enjoy the whole show. Based out of Concord, California, The Blue Devils have been something incredible to see for years and with the addition of hoops and some some truly dazzling hoop choreography to their performance arsenal – that includes things we’ve simply never seen done before, I hope you too will understand why I’m loving them even more. Congratulations Blue Devils on your 2012 DCI World Championship Title!
Philo Hagen is the Co-founder and Managing Editor of Hooping.org. He’s been spinning things up online and off since April 2003.