Blue Stars

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Blue Stars

The Blue Stars are a junior corps from La Crosse, Wisconsin, created in 1964. The corps has been a finalist in all three divisions in Drum Corps International, was instrumental in the founding of DCI, and nearly won the first DCI World Championship, losing to the Anaheim Kingsmen by only six tenths of a point. The corps was granted permission by DCI to return to Division I competition following its third place finish in Division II in 2005. The current executive director is Brad Furlano, and the corps is directed by Chad Armbruster.


The Blue Stars Drum & Bugle Corps was the brainchild of two La Crosse natives, Frank Van Voorhis and David Dummer. Voorhis dreamed of bringing a drum corps to La Crosse to serve those youth in the area who were inclined towards music rather than sports. Together they made it a reality. Dummer served as the corps' first director, while Voorhis taught marching. From a color guard in 1964, to a parade corps in 1965, and finally the first field corps in 1966, each year the corps achieved new heights. In 1971 the corps was one of the members of the Combine, and a founding member of DCI in 1972. At the first DCI championships in Whitewater, Wisconsin, the Blue Stars earned second place, defeating the Santa Clara Vanguard and missing the top spot by only six tenths.

The seventies was a good decade for the corps, but as the end approached, so the corps seemed to fall on hard times. The corps' major sponsor, First Federal Savings and Loan, had a change of management and a change of heart regarding its support for the corps. After the corps missed finals in 1980 membership began to fall off, and after the 1982 season, the Blue Stars ceased to be.

But while the corps seemed to be in its death throes, a group of dedicated alumni were already working to keep it alive. The corps' business name changed to LBS Cadets, Inc., and the Blue Star Cadets continued on in the Blue Stars' shoes wearing the same uniforms, doing similar styles of shows, and carrying on the traditions of the old "big corps." In 1986 the corps regained use of the name Blue Stars, and though the corps has used LBS Cadets as its business name to this day, the Blue Stars was the name from then out. In 1987 the corps made DCI A-60 finals, and from that time forward, has never made any place lower than fifth in its division finals to this day.

After years of growing and sustaining itself in Division II/III, the corps under new management in 2004 experienced growth not seen in the corps for years, and fielded a corps of approximately 100, achieving fifth place in Division II.

In 2006, the Blue Stars returned to Division I competition, where they placed in the top 15.


From the corps' website:

The Blue Stars and Blue Star Cadets are youth music organizations dedicated to:
  • the pursuit of excellence
  • the development of character
  • commitment to an organization
  • a sense of family
  • pride in one's achievements and accomplishments
In essence, the Blue Stars teach today's young adults about the life tomorrow through the mediums of marching and music. Membership rules for acceptance and participation are the same for everyone without regard to race, color, sex, handicap, or national origin. [1]


The corps' traditions are based on the history of the corps and where it came from; the most visible ones are in the uniform. Specifically, the helmet, which the corps holds trademark on, and the cross straps and buckle, which have almost always been part of the uniform. The corps song is Jerusalem of Gold, known as Jewish Chorale within the corps, first played by the corps in 1977.


  • Blue Stars was the first corps to have gauntlets as a uniform part.
  • The corps was the first to use some sort of body movement as part of the show. The members gave the "peace sign" in 1968.
  • The helmet design is unique and trademarked by the corps; no other corps or band can use the design as part of their uniform.



External Links

Blue Stars: Official Website