Born on athletic fields across the nation, BLAST! is a novel art form evolved from the showmanship of outdoor pageantry. BLAST! is a musical spectacle; it is music in motion. Ranging from classical to the blues, it is jazz, rock and roll, and techno-pop. With color, light, movement and music, BLAST! explodes the genre with new artistry. BLAST! is a unique theatrical experience.
Described by Roger Foss of What’s On In London: “There is no art form on this planet like BLAST!....Imagine a combination of military marching bands, drum, and bugle corps, brass bands, rodeos and stadium pageantry and you are almost there. Imagine the air spinning with superbly manipulated sabers, flags, streamers and rifles all tossed up in perfect unison and timed to drop to the nanosecond and you might just get some idea of the show’s intricate synchronized choreography. Try to imagine all of this going on while the vast, disciplined army of hunky musicians blow a storm or beat their drums, and simultaneously do cartwheels or run backwards and you are still only half way there.” And, according to Richard Hayward of Theatre Week: “As well as the troupe’s stunning musicality, the sheer spectacle of the show is breathtaking….Do yourself a favor, see this show and prepare to have your mind blown.”
BLAST! evolved from the drum corps Star of Indiana, which was founded in 1984 in Bloomington, Indiana, by businessman Bill Cook to benefit young people in music education. The Artistic Director, James Mason, is a lifelong veteran of drum and bugle corps and other musical activities. In its initial year, Star of Indiana became the first corps ever to place among the top ten corps at the prestigious Drum Corps International World Championships. Star of Indiana improved each year until it became the World Champion in 1991. Completing against other organizations from the United States, Japan, Canada and Europe, Star’s performances revolutionized the world of drum corps, bringing an ever more sophisticated sense of musicianship, exciting showmanship, and dynamic choreography to this wonderful genre. Since 1993, Mr. Mason has been shaping the evolution of Star of Indiana from a competitive, 128-member drum corps, to a theatrical show which brings the power, passion, and precision of outdoor pageantry to the stage in a musical performance now known as BLAST!
BLAST! consists of 60 members, largely in their early twenties, drawn from the world of outdoor pageantry all across North America. There are 41 world titles held by BLAST! cast members. There are essentially three performing sections - - the brass, percussion and visual ensembles. The brass instruments are pitched in the standard multi-keys. The percussion section includes drums, mallet instruments and electronic keyboards. The visual element enhances the show by spinning and tossing unusual implements along with the traditional sabers, colorful flags and rifles in perfectly synchronized, ballet-like drill.
The physical and musical demands of the production require that the performers be highly trained athletes who are also world-class musicians. Months of intense training prepare the cast. Rehearsing twelve hours a day through heat, cold, dust and rain, they produce thrilling performances where athleticism, musical talent, kaleidoscopic movement, and showmanship merge into an art form that is both compelling and entertaining.