Blue Stars


Other Names:First Federal Blue Stars; merger Blue Stars Color Guard and Apple Arrows; Blue Star Cadets (1983-86)

LaCrosse, WI United States
Founded: 1964

Active Junior
World Class
Return to
Results from final championship competition of the year
  • Position: 305
    • Position 200+ indicates Division II, DCA Class A or DCI Open Class as appropriate to the year, Position 300+ indicates Division III, Position 400+ indicates Mini Corps, Position 500+ indicates International Division, and Position 999 indicates position unknown
  • Score: 81.600
Repertoire for 1990
Rondo Cappricio by John Zdechlik
The Seventh Seal by Erik Nordgren

The Blue Stars Drum and Bugle Corps is a World Class competitive junior drum and bugle corps based in LaCrosse, Wisconsin.

Founded in LaCrosse in 1964 by Frank Van Voorhis and David Dummer, the Blue Stars Color Guard merged with the Apple Arrows Drum and Bugle Corps of La Crescent, Minnesota in 1965 and became the Blue Stars Drum and Bugle Corps. The new corps began entering field competitions in 1966 and found a sponsor in the local First Federal Savings and Loan, which sold stock certificates in the corps as a fundraiser. The group was then billed as the First Federal Blue Stars. Dr. David Kampschroer started instructing the corps in that 1966 season and became corps director in 1968, remaining in that position until 1988.

The corps' early years were unusually successful. They appeared in the finals of every national contest they entered between 1966 and 1979. 1970, however, was the year the corps surprised everyone, as they defeated the Cavaliers and the Kilties, and finished in fifth place at VFW Nationals in Miami.

The Blue Stars were urged by Cavaliers founder Don Warren and Troopers founder Jim Jones to join in starting a new organization run by the drum corps and free from the rigid, inflexible rules of the American Legion and VFW. The corps felt that not only were they having their creative potential as artistic performing groups stifled, but they were being financially starved. During the 1971 season, the "Midwest Combine," composed of the Blue Stars, Cavaliers, Madison Scouts, Santa Clara Vanguard, and the Troopers were not only booked into a number of shows together, but they found a host for a show of their own, which was a spectacular success. A simiar group called the United Organization of Junior Corps (also known as the "Alliance") was made up of five top-tier Eastern corps. In 1972, the ten corps from the Combine and the Alliance joined with three other top corps to form Drum Corps International (DCI), which remains as the sanctioning body for junior corps in North America. Blue Stars director Dr. David Kampschroer also served as DCI's first executive director.

DCI's initial season of 1972 was the corps' finest year as a member of what was then called "open class." The Blue Stars had traded wins with Santa Clara Vanguard and were one of the favorites to win it all going into the inaugural DCI World Championships. In semifinals, the corps placed second behind Santa Clara. Although they beat SCV in Finals, the surging Anaheim Kingsmen passed them both to become the first DCI World Champion..

The corps remained a consistent powerhouse throughout the 1970s. They made DCI finals every year through 1979, and became the 1973 CYO National Champions and the 1977 VFW National Champions. The Blue Stars still hold the distinction of making the biggest drop in Top 12 standings in one year, from third in 1973 to 12th in 1974; and the biggest gain in standings in the Top 12, from 12th in 1974 to fifth in1975.

Then came the 1980s; membership recruitment fell off, and the Blue Stars finished 13th in 1980, 16th in '81, and dropped out of contention in 37th place in 1982. After the 1982 season, with no sponsor and being saddled with staggering debt, the corps ceased operations.

However, some staff members and alumni of the corps refused to see it die. They organized as LBS Cadets, Inc. and entered a corps in 1983, competing in the Cadet Corps International circuit under the name Blue Star Cadets, because the Blue Stars name was still encumbered with debt. For 1984 and '85, the corps restricted its competition to Drum Corps Midwest shows and worked at paying off the old corps' debts. In 1986, the debt had been sufficiently paid down that the new group was able to reclaim the name and legacy of the Blue Stars.

The rejuvenated Blue Stars became one of the most consistently successful small corps in DCI. They won the DCI Class A60 World Championship in 1989 and the renamed Division III title in 1993, 2001, and 2003.

As the corps approached its 4th DCI Championship in 2003, its fundraising bingo game suddenly was not only not making money, but it was losing so much that it had to be shut down, leaving the corps once more in dire financial straits. A plea to the drum corps community for assistance brought in enough money to save the corps.

After the 2003 season, Greg Struve was named the new corps director. He set about reorganizing operations, expanded recruiting into Minnesota and Iowa, and inaugurated a new capital fund drive called, "Return to Glory," As a result, the corps grew from 53 members in 2003 to more than 100 in 2004 and moved up to Division II. After continued growth and Division II placements of 5th in 2004 and 3rd in 2005, in 2006, Blue Stars returned to the highest level of DCI competition, Division I (now World Class),

After two 14th place finishes, in 2008 the Blue Stars returned to DCI World Championship Finals for the first time since 1979. With the exception of a 13th place finish in 2012, the corps has been in DCI Finals every year since, through 2017.


[Blue Stars; Drum Corps International; Drum Corps World, various issues; Gary Cuzzocrea, RAMD, 3/9/99]



Members (121)

Member Name Section Years Involved
Albitz, Mike Drumline 1984 to 1990
Ammerman, Michael hornline-baritone 1982
Anderson, Steve Front Line 1994 to 1996
Anthony, Nicole Colorguard 2003 to 2006
Appel, Jeff Hornline & Brass Instructor 1998; 2002
Ashcraft, Zach Trumpet 2007 to 2010
Athanon, Tyler Baritone 2004 to 2006
Barber, JT Percussion 2004
Belanger, Carrie Color Guard 2004
Bishop, Mike Percussion Faculty 2009
Blakeney, Sharon guard 1978
Blakeney, Sharon guard 1978
Brody, Robyn Mellophone 2002 to 2004
Brown, Shari Guard 1979
Bubenyak, Megan Pit 2003 to 2004
Castor, Patrick Horn Line 1965 to 1970
Conlin, Sarah Colorguard; flag, rifle, sabre, dance 2005
Conniff, Richard Contra 1991 to 1998
Crandell, Steve F - Horn 1982
Cuthbert, Scott Snare 1981
Dannen, Cody Baritone 2004
Deal, Jennie Color Guard 1996 to 1999; 2002
Doucet, Jocelyne Hornline Tuba 2007
Duesterbeck, Wayne drum 1966
Farrell, Chris Colorguard 2003
Feuerborn, David tuba 2006
Flash, Anoka Soprano 1980
Flynn, Daniel Baritone/Euphonium 2012
Fredrickson, Alana soprano 1997 to 2002; 2004
Frost, Aaron Hornline: Lead Baritone 2000 to 2002
Graves, Mark Trumpet 2008
Green, Chris Brass Caption Head 1999
Guns, Pam Guard 1971 to 1974
Hall, Mark horn line 1982
Hauer, Brent Baritone 2005
Hefle, Scott Baritone 1980
Herder, Jason Snare LIne 2002
House, Ryan pit 2002
Howes, Red Soprano 1978
Johnston, Jason Baritone 2005 to 2006
Jordan, Mark Baritone 1979 to 1981
Kelley, Justin Trumpet 2006 to 2007
Keys, Corkie Color Guard 1979
King, Brian Tenors 1993
Kirk, Tahle Percussion Caption Head 2004
Larson, Alex Soprano 2005
Larson, Alex Trumpet 2006
Larson, Alex Intern 2007
Lorenz, Elizabeth Battery (bass 1) 2004
Machel, Guy Baritone 1979 to 1981
McCune, Julia Colorguard 2003
McGill, Lauren Baritone 2004
McGill, Lauren Bari / Euph Line 2004 to 2007
Melkowski, Kevin Baritone 2005
Mielke, Dave Baritone 1981
Miller, Justin Backfield Conductor 2002 to 2009
Moore, Eddie Euphonium 2012 to 2013
Nash, Sarah Soprano 2004
Nichols, Jacob Mellophone 2005 to 2006
Novak, Heather Frontline 2004 to 2005
Oelschlager, Joni colorguard 2001 to 2004
Papineau, Clem Brass 1977
Pataska, Dawn guard 1972 to 1975; 1979
Payne, Ryan Bass Line 2002 to 2003
Pease, Ariel colorguard 2005
Petroff, Judy Color Guard 1980 to 1981
Pfister, Kelly Front Ensemble 2005 to 2006
Phillips, Justin Mello, Bari 2002; 2004
Polcher, Megan Pit 2003 to 2005
Post, Mike Tuba 2008
Quiram, Lea Soprano 1997 to 2002
Randall, Kathryn Colorguard 2009
Rensberger, Jaynee colorguard 2004
Ritacco, Dan brass instructor / mello & trumpet tech 2004 to 2006
Rivera, Cisco Lead Sop (Soloist) 1971 to 1973
Rivera, Robert (Cisco) 1st Soprano 1971 to 1973
Saputo, Joseph Mellophone 2009
Schlossman, Nick baritone, euphonium 2005 to 2006
Schmidt, Jason Baritone 2010 to 2012
Schmidt, Jason Admin 2013
Seip, Cameron Soprano 2002 to 2007
Seip, Dave Hornline - contrabass 2000 to 2003
Seip, Dave Brass staff 2004
Sensel, Geoffrey Front lin 2002 to 2003
Severance, Jonathan Front Line 2000 to 2001; 2003 to 2007
Severance, Steve Soprano 1974 to 1981
Shockley, Richie Mello/Trumpet 2004 to 2008
Simon, Natan soprano 2000 to 2001
Skoubis, Zach Color Guard 2004 to 2005
Soenksen, Justin bass drum 2003 to 2004
Soucie, Miranda Mellophone 2004 to 2005
Sterner, Christopher Trumpet 2007 to 2008
Stoecker, Greg Mellophone 2006
Stoleson, David Drumline 1986 to 1990
Stoltman, Peter Hornline 1998 to 1999
Talbot, Jesse Soprano 2004 to 2006
Tayir, Henner Drumline 1982
Thomas, Jeff Snare 1997 to 2000
Todd, Chase Contra 2009
Todd, Chase Contra 2009
Toppin, Andy Hornline 2005 to 2006
Traczyk, Rachel Mellophone 2004
Traczyk, Rachel Drum Major 2005 to 2006
Trader, Kyle Trumpet 2006
Tryba, Mark Soprano 1976
Turley, Melody Hornline: Mellophone 2002; 2004
Turley, Melody Drum Major 2003
Vaillette, Lois Brass 1979
Vasquez, Ramon Brass Caption Head 2002 to 2003
Volkman, Dave Snare 1976
Waggoner, Rachael guard 2002 to 2005
Wagner, Robert Soprano 1977 to 1980
Wallingford, David french horn 1979
Watson, Aaron Mellophones 1999 to 2000
Werlein, Mark Werlein Percussion 1971 to 1973; 1975 to 1977; 1981
Werner, Andy Tenors 1992 to 1994
White, Conrad mellophone 2003 to 2005
Wolff, Erin Colorguard 2000 to 2001
Young, Shaylee Baritone 2003 to 2004
coon, jake Snareline 2002 to 2004
mercure, oniel percussion 1982

CORPS 8 items

Blue Stars

Blue Stars from the Bill Ives Collection
Blue Stars

Blue Stars from the Bill Ives Collection
Blue Stars

Blue Stars from the Bill Ives Collection
Blue Stars

BlueStars Lacrosse WI-2 from the Bill Ives Collection
Blue Stars

BlueStars Lacrosse WI-The Factory from the Bill Ives Collection
Blue Stars

Blue Stars Alumni from the Bill Ives Collection
Blue Stars

1971 Blue Stars Drum & Bugle Corps @ VFW Nationals Dallas from the Roy Perez Collection
Blue Stars
PDF Document
182-185, Blue Stars from the Steve Vickers Collection

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