Metamora, Morton to welcome Blue Stars Drum and Bugle Corps

Staff Writer
Woodford Times

The world-class Blue Stars Drum and Bugle Corps of La Crosse, WI will team up with Metamora Township High School on July 12 to present “River City Rhapsody – Metamora”, featuring seven of the world’s tops drum and bugle corps.

This Drum Corps International sanctioned event at Metamora’s Malone Field builds on last year’s inaugural competition with the addition of a performance by the ELITE “Pulses of Hope” drum line. 

Consisting of 10 Peoria-area high school percussionists, the unit was formed in 2008 to support the Peoria Park District’s ELITE Youth Outreach for at-risk youth.  The “Pulses of Hope” will also be performing in Germany from June 22 to 27 as part of Peoria’s Sister Cities delegation.

The Blue Stars are one of the elite world class Drum Corps that tour and compete throughout the U.S. leading up to DCI World Championships held on Aug. 12-14 in Indianapolis.

As part of their community outreach, the Blue Stars Percussion Staff, under the leadership of Tom Aungst and Neal Larrivee, will hold a Percussion Master Class for the “Pulses of Hope” drum line.  Aungst and Larrivee are the Blue Stars’ Percussion and Front Ensemble Caption Heads, and they lead a staff of eight professional percussion instructors.

“The ‘Pulses of Hope’ will be back from their first international trip in time to perform at Metamora.  A world-class clinic for our young musicians put on by the Blues Stars percussion organization is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.  They are excited and honored to be included in this event,” said Carl Cannon, director of the ELITE Youth Outreach.

The July 12 show in Metamora promises to be even larger than last year, based on the number and quality of competing corps, including:

Blues Stars, La Crosse, WI

Santa Clara Vanguard, Santa Clara, CA

Troopers, Casper, WY

Spirit of Atlanta, Atlanta, GA

Crossmen, San Antonio, TX

Legends, Kalamazoo, MI

Racine Scouts, Racine, WI

This will be Central Illinois’ only DCI event this year, because the “Bands of America -- Music for All” at Illinois State University has relocated to Muncie, Indiana.

Brad Furlano, Executive Director of the Blue Stars, said, “Metamora High School’s Malone field is an excellent location for a DCI event. The facility is fantastic and the stands are tall, overlooking a superb field.  This gives fans a great vantage point from which to enjoy the best DCI has to offer.  The Blue Stars are thrilled to be back hosting a home show with our wonderful Metamora hosts and partners.”

Dr. Wally Parks, Director of the Metamora Band Program agrees, “The Blue Stars and MTHS have worked very well together and we’re bringing the very best drum and bugle corps to the area.  The musicality, artistry and athleticism of World Class drum and bugle corps performance is an incredible event to witness.  The young people involved in this activity are inspirational, as they work tirelessly on perfecting their shows.  We’re pleased to help showcase this level of talent.”  Dr. Parks, a gifted percussionist, directs the MTHS Band program and leads the MTHS “Red Steel” Band.

As a special added event, on July 7, the Blue Stars will present a “Stand Still Preview Performance” at Morton’s Idlewood Park at 6 p.m. 

The free event is open to the public and is part of Morton Fine Arts Association’s “Arts in the Park” summer concert series. Also performing that evening will be the Central Illinois Banjo Club.  Bring a blanket or lawn chair and enjoy show in a beautiful park setting.

Tickets for the July 12 event range from $15 to $28 and are available by visiting www.bluestars.org or www.rivercityrhapsody.com.  Discounted group sales tickets, and for those needing handicapped access, are available by calling (608) 782–3219.