WGI Solo & Ensemble powered by System Blue

Last week, we promised you an announcement on something you would love!  This summer, WGI Sport of the Arts, the world’s leader in producing indoor marching arts events for color guard, percussion ensembles and winds groups, will launch a new educational performance opportunity for marching arts performers—WGI Solo & Ensemble powered by System Blue.

Positioned in WGI’s typical off-season—and before the start of summer band—WGI Solo & Ensemble offers a venue for performers of all ages to showcase their skills as an individual or small ensemble. Unique in its format, WGI Solo & Ensemble will welcome any and all performers, including those not currently or previously affiliated with a WGI-performing group.

Split between two age classifications and four performance categories, performers will present a short piece in front of a judge to receive personalized, recorded commentary and an overall rating. Although performers/ensembles will be split between two distinct age groups, there will be no age limit in any performance category. Performance categories include Color Guard, Percussion, Winds—Woodwind, and Winds—Brass.

“We are excited to offer an educational performance opportunity beyond WGI’s winter season,” said Ron Nankervis, WGI Executive Director. “In opening up the competition to all performers, WGI Solo & Ensemble powered by System Blue is staged to critique a dynamic mix of talents – continuing a passion for music performance for some, and introducing WGI to others.”

WGI’s newest presenting sponsor, System Blue, is the “Powering Partner” of WGI Solo & Ensemble.  “We are proud to partner in this unique addition to the indoor marching arts, and look forward to seeing it develop into the future,” said David Gibbs, System Blue President.

Dates and locations for these new competitions will be announced throughout the 2019 winter season. Visit wgi.org/soloensemble to learn more about the competing categories of WGI Solo & Ensemble, and sign up to receive updates as more information is announced.

Have questions? Send us an email at solo@wgi.org!

System Blue Partners with WGI

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System Blue announced today the creation of a strategic partnership with WGI Sport of the Arts, the world’s leader in producing indoor marching arts events for color guard, percussion ensembles and winds groups. Effective immediately, System Blue will serve as a Presenting Sponsor of WGI.

“It is important to find opportunities to strengthen our relationships with companies who focus on music education,” said Bart Woodley, WGI Director of Operations & Sponsor Relations. “Aligning a partnership with System Blue is a strong step forward in the indoor marching arts activity—especially with the new, exciting educational projects we have on the horizon, which will be ‘powered by’ System Blue.”

“From our full line of educational offerings to our innovative percussion, brass and concert percussion instruments, System Blue strives to provide everyone involved in the marching arts with the resources and skills they need to pursue and promote musical excellence,” said David Gibbs, System Blue President. “Our partnership with WGI and their educational programs allows System Blue to fulfill our mission and dive even deeper into offering engaging, accessible and interactive educational opportunities for all.”

Watch for more exciting news from this new partnership in the weeks to come on wgi.org.


WGI Sport of the Arts is the world’s premier organization producing indoor color guard, percussion, and wind ensemble competitions. It is called the Sport of the Arts because it brings music to life through performance in a competitive format. As a non-profit organization, the sport continues to evolve and grow every season. In 2019, there will be more than 46,000 participants at the regional level, and more than 15,000 participants at the WGI World Championships in April 2019.


System Blue is backed by over 100 years of experience and knowledge and proudly delivers the products and education only few have dared to dream. With a mission to engage band directors, teachers, staff, designers, performers, and marching members to promote musical excellence all over the world. Designed by Champions and played by champions, our products are tested and approved by the marching arts’ elite. System Blue’s products are matched by superior sound, performance, comfort, and safety. System Blue offers a full line of Marching Brass, Marching Percussion and Concert Percussion instruments.

Congratulations BAC – 2019 Best In Show

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We want to wish a heartfelt congratulations to B.A.C. Musical Instruments “Best American Craftsmen” on their incredible achievement of winning Best In Show – Company To Watch at the 2019 NAMM Show. We are proud to have you as our business partner and distributor and we look forward to our continued journey together. Thank you for all you do in the music products industry.

Learn more about this prestigious award →

The Connecticut Hurricanes Join System Blue

The Connecticut Hurricanes

System Blue is proud to announce the addition of The Connecticut Hurricanes to the DCA roster of artists.

The Connecticut Hurricanes Drum & Bugle Corps is an All-Age Drum Corps performance organization based in Seymour, CT. The Corps prides itself in being the only World Class All-Age Drum Corps in New England, and draws its members from throughout Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, as well as New York State and the New York City metro area.

Founded in Derby, Connecticut in 1932 as the John H. Collins American Legion Post Fife Drum & Bugle Corps, the Hurricanes transformed to the competitive arena in 1955 as a drum & bugle corps and became a charter member of Drum Corps Associates (DCA) in 1963. They are the oldest, continually active organization in the DCA.

System Blue is backed by over 100 years of experience and knowledge and proudly delivers the products and education we’ve only dared to dream of. The team of designers have walked the very path you walk now. They  are the same dedicated performers and educators that you are. System Blue offers a full line of Marching Brass, Percussion and Concert Percussion instruments.

Review from James Densley – Director of Bands at Fremont High School (Utah)

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I promised a post-marching season follow up review on my new System Blue drum line purchased this summer, for any curious directors out there. So here it is.. (happy reading if interested!) keep scrolling if you don’t care

First of all, just so you know where I’m coming from, I am a percussionist, and have been teaching marching percussion even longer than I’ve been a head band director, and as a performer I’ve experienced many different levels of marching performance. I’ve ALWAYS been a Yamaha guy, so this is a big deal for me!

Guys….these drums are great.

Pros: professional level instruments, but not as heavy as comparable professional instruments. They sound great, less hardware components, so less repair on small annoying parts like lug casings. Easy, EASY ON2 wrap installation. They look super cool

Cons: Not *really* a con, BUT they do have their own idiosyncrasies, and you cannot approach the tuning scheme the same way you do traditional Yamaha, Pearl, Mapex, Dynasty, etc. drums. I tried it at first and couldn’t get a great sound out of them.

To fix the tuning issues, I contacted Scott Johnson at Blue Devils since he’s had a few years to work out the kinks, to ask about how he gets them to sound their best, and he was SOOO.. open with me. I followed ALL of his advice (suggested heads, bass muffling, tuning the individual snare guts, scoops, tuning pitches/intervals, etc.), and when I did they sounded INCREDIBLE! HUUUUGE step up.

SB’s customer service: A-MAZ-ING. That’s it.

ON2 compatibility: SOOOO easy, and fast to install! If you wanted to, you could change snare wraps part way through a show (like BD did with these drums in ‘17)

My students LOVED them. Partially for the weight, partially because they are just super cool looking haha and the students loving them is worth it. Because they felt great about it, AND they took SUCH good care of them.

Weight: snares and basses are SO light! The snares are seriously about 9-ish pounds. The tenors only come in the large option with a 14” 13” 12” 10” 8” 6” sextet. So they ARE pretty heavy in their own right, BUT they are lighter than the same type of sextet set-up from other brands. If you buy the tenors, you WILL want the Randall May carriers with the ABS back support. I made the mistake of ordering basic tubular J-bar carriers for the tenors, and the weight was just a little too much, but once we replaced them with the ABS carriers, they had absolutely NO weight problems.

BOTTOM LINE: these are game changers. I know a LOT of people have been skeptical of them, but most cynics are people who have never personally experienced them. Most of them watched a video or something of BD’s battery, or took secondhand info from someone who heard from someone who worked with a group who used them. I’m telling you, as a Yamaha EVERYTHING guy (and we all know how percussionists are with their loyalties) I love these drums. If for no other reason (although there are TONS of other reasons)than the fact that my students loved them, and felt awesome-physically and mentally-using them.

If you are skeptical, please feel free to DM me with questions. Please don’t base your opinions on “well I heard _______” also, System Blue gives me nothing for doing this haha this is a 100% honest review.

Let me know if you have questions!

System Blue At PASIC 2018

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PASIC 2018
We are excited to attend PASIC 2019 on November 14 – 17 in Indianapolis, IN. If you are attending the show, please stop by and see us at booth 1501. We would love to show you around and allow you to test drive all the instruments. Scott Johnson and the System Blue staff will be in the booth to greet you, drum with you, and answer any questions you might have.

Make sure to attend the PASIC clinic/performance on Thursday, November 15 at 2PM in Room 105. The performance is entitled: 12 World Champion Hands, 60 years of Championship Snare Solos, and the People Who Played Them. The clinic features Blue Devils Alumni Scott Johnson and Casey Brohard, as well as current member Brandon Olander.

We look forward to seeing you in Indy.

System Blue Education – The Impact

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Hi, my name is Trenton Kozel and I am a senior and drum major at my high school. I just wanted to email you to let you know that you and everyone at System Blue have forever changed my band for the better.

I attend a small school of only 650 students called Orcutt Academy High School. My freshmen year, the band there only had around 10 people and we didn’t even have a director the first week. We had to practice each morning during zero period from 6:50 to 7:50 and share our classroom with regular-ed teacher. The next year, we had 14 and got to practice during first period, but we were in an old storage closet. The following year, we grew to 19 and finally had an actually room which we only shared with the neighboring junior high band. Overall, we have been struggling a long time- but growing and improving nonetheless.

The summer before this year, my director told me that we were going to have around 27 students and that we could finally bear to sacrifice a member of the ensemble for a drum major. I had always been a sort of unofficial drum major and leader in our band, but I was one of only two trumpets which are pretty crucial to the melody of most of the pop tunes we played. I was excited, but I didn’t know how much we could change and improve until I went to System Blue.

That summer, my director convinced me to go to the System Blue Leadership Camp at Grand Terrace. Honestly, at the time, I was pretty bummed out. I didn’t know what to expect, it was in one of the first weeks of summer, and it was almost a four hour drive from our city. To my surprise, however, it was extremely worth it. At System Blue, you, Ben, Kyle, and Kristen gave me the knowledge and know-how to make my band better than ever.

This year, my band has cleaner rehearsals, section leaders, a drum major, and more respect in everything we do. On top of that, we had the first ever band camp in our school’s history, and this Friday, at our football game, we are marching drill for the first time in our school’s history. In the words of my school principal, parents, and community: we are a real high school marching band. We have improved a lot, but we are not stopping here and we hope to try to put on a show and compete next season! Thank you for teaching me how to be an effective leader and giving me the motivation do something with that knowledge. Because of System Blue and this year in band so far, I want continue music my entire life and even be a band director!

All in all, I want to thank you guys because you deserve it. I, along with my director and my band, extend an enormous thank you to you, the Blue Devils, and everyone who puts on System Blue for helping me help my band. Seriously, thank you. You guys put on an amazing camp that changes lives. Needless to say, I promote it with all my heart and my band will continue to send people to learn as I did.

P.S. Sorry this is so long and if you could share or forward this to Ben, Kyle, and Kristen that would be great!


Trenton Kozel