CANTON, OH - Today, Bluecoats and the University of Mount Union announced the relocation of Bluecoats’ annual Spring Training to the Mount Union campus in Alliance, OH. The six-week event, held each summer, is the pre-season training camp for the world-champion Bluecoats Drum & Bugle Corps. All 170 performers, and more than fifty instructors, designers, operations staff, and executive leadership will utilize the campus for nearly six weeks. The goal of the camp is to establish the corps marching and music techniques, design and learn the 2023 show, and practice for many hours each day.
Due to the extensive requirements for the corps’ Spring Training campus, the Bluecoats organization has, for many years, held Spring Training far away from its home in Canton, OH. 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. This has meant that the organization has, for the last twenty years, made use of affordable campuses with such availability near Indianapolis and Columbus.
“When we approached Mount Union last year about bringing the Bluecoats home to Stark County they showed great interest in exploring the partnership,” said Mike Scott, CEO of Bluecoats. “Securing a Spring Training campus is an incredibly complex project, and Mount Union has been an eager partner for the last several months. We are so glad to have found a home here and we are delighted at the opportunities this brings both for Stark County."
“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. In addition, we are pleased to have an opportunity to facilitate an increase in visitors to our campus and community, thus resulting in a positive economic impact for Alliance.”
Allyson Bussey, President and CEO of Visit Canton says, “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 at the University of Mount Union. 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 are thrilled to see the collaboration of the Bluecoats and Mount Union and hope that visitors and residents will come out to celebrate these award-winning performers!”
More Than Just Spring Training
The move to Northeast Ohio allows Bluecoats to bring two other key programs back home, and has also allowed the organization to create a new hometown event that will feature the worldwide debut of the 2023 Bluecoats alongside other Stark County performing arts programming.
The Blue Way Summer Arts Camp is an annual two-day summer camp for high school and college students eager to learn from the Bluecoats instructional team and spend two days living alongside the Bluecoats at Spring Training. While the program was suspended during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, it will return in 2023 to its new home in Northeast Ohio!
Also operated alongside Spring Training is the residency portion of 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. Nearly 100 applications have been submitted for this year’s program. The 2023 class of Bluecoats Fellows will move to Spring Training for their residency, and work alongside and observe the training camp, including one-on-one mentorship with their corresponding professional designers.
Lastly, the move to Alliance allows the organization to launch a new event, the first in the soon-to-be-announced Bluecoats Summer Music Series. On July 1st the corps will host its worldwide 2023 debut at a brand new event that will also showcase local music and arts programming like Bluecoats’ local 18+ ensemble Rhythm IN BLUE, and the En-Rich-Ment Drumline. This Opening Night Community Celebration will be held at Kehres Stadium at the University of Mount Union on July 1st. Start time and ticket information will be available later this year at bluecoats.com/events.
About Bluecoats - Founded in 1972, Bluecoats is a 501(c)3 non-profit performing arts education organization known around the world for the Bluecoats Drum & Bugle Corps, The Blue Way Educational Events, Bluecoats School of the Arts, Rhythm IN BLUE, and more. Bluecoats brings performing arts education to thousands of aspiring young musicians in Stark County and around the globe. For more information, visit bluecoats.com/about.