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Mark Werlein

The music for the 1972 season was arranged by Mike Duffy who had just come off a successful season with the Anaheim Kingsmen. The hornline soon found that he had a rather unusual rehearsal technique. He would arrange several phrases of music, rehearse the passage, and then arrange some more. A contingent of players would shuttle the individual parts back and forth with each new section. Dave Kampschroer compared it to "writing a business report on a lunch bag." However, Mike introduced the corps to a more modern arranging technique which made the line sound much fuller then before. His charisma also helped to heighten the spirit of the entire corps.

The drum book was written by Terry Thirion. Personally, I feel that his 1972 book was probably his best work. The parts flowed smoothly, were fun to play and complimented the horn book nicely. The main drum solo had been composed in 1971 by Tom Leith and Tom Bernett, and arranged by Terry Thirion.

Dick Nelson and Frank Van Voorhis collaborated in writing of the drill. Again, best efforts were put forth in arranging a drill that reflected a fine blend of quality marching and exciting pictures.

The music program for the 1972 shows was as follows: opener, Holst "Intermezzo" from the "Suite in E flat" and the "March" from the "Suite in F", color presentation "No More War" and "Battle Hymn of the Republic', concert, "Norwegian Wood" (arranged by Rick Young), production; "South Rampart Street Parade", closer; "Green Leaves" with and opener reprise.

The rehearsals during the winter were usually held on weekends. Music rehearsal was at the Hogan Elementary School and drill rehearsal was at the UW­L field house. Drill rehearsals were always hard on the snareline. First, we seldom got a chance to march (anyone can tell you how we were just burning to get out there) and when we weren't marching we were rehearsing in a handball court. My ears used to ring from the end of one weekend until the start of the next.

Spring Camp was at Evansville. I remember thinking how different this one was from previous camp. Instead of just putting the show together, this corps and staff really started to take note of its competitive potential. Everything jelled from a musical and personality standpoint. The Saturday evening rehearsal ended around 1:00 a.m. Sunday even though nobody wanted to quit.

The first show was at Kenosha. That show is always cold and the members are always scared. We may have been a little more scared because we wanted very much to see a different ending than we got in 1971. That year we were beat by a clown show. Well, things turned out quite well. Winning that opening show really increased the excitement within the corps.

When considering season highlights, a number of shows come to mind. Cedarburg was always hot. We suffered through both the parade and the show. The finale went on forever; i.e. best float, best gag entry, best left foot in a baton corps-pre­puberty class. We still won (I think). This was also the place where we received the great "chin­ups in the gutter" speech from Dave Kampschroer.

Racine always reminds me of all those Ponderosa Steak Houses we used to go to after shows. Sure, most of us had burgers, but it was still a lot classier than McDonald's. This particular one sticks out in my mind because Dave Kampschroer gave his famous "Bus Dee Pot" speech. I almost took him up on it.

I always liked tours because I could sit back practice and forget what day it was, kind of like being a derelict in a secure environment. Western tour was like that only better because we went to places I had never been before. It started out with twenty­four straight hours on the bus from La Crosse to Casper, Wyoming. Casper was a relatively uneventful performance, but swimming in that reservoir and the party afterwards was fun! That was my first introduction to Coors beer. Cheyenne was a great show. We literally had them dancing in the aisles during "South Rampart". Because of our strong performance we beat Santa Clara for the first time.

After that it was overnight in Odgen, Utah, then Reno, Nevada, and finally sunny California. Our first show in Santa Clara was personally the start of a long and hopefully permanent love affair with northern California. I thought it was interesting that the judges wore light blue pants and white shoes. We picked up Harry Clark to work drums before we left.

Who from '72 can forget Anaheim? Our parade through Disneyland was the highlight of the tour. It was great keeping cadence for Mickey Mouse and Pluto. My day at the Magic Kingdom was made even more fulfilling by having the excited voice and wide eves of Julie James with me. We picked up Gerry Kearby for more drum help.

In San Diego we watched the West Coast Express comedy corps practice in a paradise called Balboa Park. The weather for the show was glorious as usual.

During our trip to Salina, Kansas, the corps felt the deep loss of a close friend, Kevin Klos. His love for the corps and Dave Kampschroer's paternal under" standing got us through the show that night.

When we returned to "lovely, lively" it was time to prepare for Nationals. Although there were relatively minor rewrites, we had all-day rehearsals with breaks only for meals. By now the corps had an energy all its own. It grew from both hunger and a sense of destiny. The members were more silent and intense during reheasals but seemed to need to play that much harder afterwards. Things pulled together into a cohesive and powerful unit.

When we started our rehearsals at Whitewater we soon began drawing a crowd. Everone had fun and spirits ran high. Prelims were hot but went by okay. Before the night show the snares warmed up on a tile floor. Jerry said, "If you can play cleanly on that you can play cleanly on anything." I remember that the whole corps was extremely quiet and introspective. Although I forget the words, I remeber the concept of Dave Kampschroer's pre show talk. He surprised us by saying that all of our accomplishments and a Nationals victory, should not have happened until 1973; that this was to be a building year. It was at this point that we finally realized the importance of all that we had done. We had developed and performed beyond the expectations of our most severe critics: the staff.

Although the ending of 1972 was bittersweet, it was the biggest season of my life. Just thinking of 1972 makes me stand up straighter, my heart beat faster, and my ears hear the echo of a crowd that had lost its hearts to the Blue Stars.


1972 DCI Finals-Whitewater

1. Anaheim Kingsmen
2. Blue Stars
3. Santa Clara Vanguard
4. 27th Lancers
5. Argonne Rebels
6. Troopers
7. Des Plaines Vanguard
8. Kilties
9. Cavaliers
10. Muchachos
11. Bridgemen
12. Bleu Raeders

1972 Music

"Holst Intermezzo"
"March"
"No More War"
"Battle Hymn"
"Norwegian Wood"
"Scarbourough Fair"
"South Rampart"
"Green Leaves"


Blue Stars realy taught and contributed a lot to my life. It helped me grow up and become responsible at a younger age. It also enabled me to travel all over the United States. In my opinion, the best experience I received I received from the corps with the many special people I met. I can honestly say the majority of my closest friends I've met through the Blue Stars and I'll never forget them.

--Kelli Kampschroer


Original The Years print version was compiled by Jim Schultz and printed by Barb Noyes-Faas. Online version by Luke Delwiche and Nick Young. All pages are ©2002-2008 Blue Stars Drum and Bugle corps. Please, no unauthorized reproduction or distribution. Please contact the webmaster <webmaster@bluestars.org> with any errors, corrections, or omissions.