Bluecoats return to Stark County for training camp

Posted on March 10, 2023

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The world-champion Bluecoats Drum & Bugle Corps recently announced the relocation of its annual spring training to be held over the summer at the University of Mount Union in Alliance. 

During this pre-season training camp, 170 performers and more than 50 instructors, designers, operations staff and executive leadership will utilize the campus for nearly six weeks. They use this time to establish the corps’ marching and music techniques, design and learn the 2023 show and practice for multiple hours each day. 

“Securing a Spring Training campus is an incredibly complex project, and Mount Union has been an eager partner for the last several months,” said Mike Scott, CEO of Bluecoats. “We are so glad to have found a home here and we are delighted at the opportunities this brings us both.”

For the last 20 years, due to the extensive requirements for the campus, the Bluecoats organization has held spring training far away from its home in Stark County. The event requires use of a turf stadium, indoor field house, gymnasiums, athletic medicine facilities, dance rooms, practice rooms, residence halls, campus catering and up to five additional practice fields. Until now, the organization has had to make use of affordable campuses near Indianapolis and Columbus that could provide the needed accommodations.

“Mount Union is excited to partner with the Bluecoats, a nationally-known organization and longtime staple of our Stark County community, and we look forward to welcoming its representatives and participants to campus this summer,” said Pat Heddleston, vice president for business affairs at the university. “We are thrilled to be able to put our facilities to use over the summer months and to work collaboratively with an organization that shares our educational purpose.”

The relocation also allows the Bluecoats to bring back other key programs during their training time, including the Blue Way Summer Arts Camp for high school and college students and the Bluecoats Fellowship, an honors program for a select few up-and-coming designers in the marching arts who come from traditionally under-represented communities. The 2023 class of Bluecoats Fellows will attend spring training for their residency and receive one-on-one mentorship with their corresponding professional designers.

A new community celebration is also set to take place at Mount Union on July 1, which will feature the worldwide debut of the 2023 Bluecoats alongside other Stark County performing arts programs.

“We are delighted that the Bluecoats will be able to host their outstanding performers from around the United States for spring training in Stark County,” said Allyson Bussey, president and CEO of Visit Canton. “This training will not only create economic impact through visitor spending by hosting the event, but will bring awareness to our community of the extraordinary talents of Bluecoats. We hope that visitors and residents will come out to celebrate these award-winning performers!”

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