System Blue Educational Event featuring the Blue Devils

  • Educational Events
  • Leadership
  • Percussion
  • Color Guard

Katy, TX :: July 19–20, 2018

System Blue Educational Events provide an opportunity for students, educators, and fans alike to hone their performance, leadership, and teaching skills under the instruction of the finest educators in the marching arts.

Student Clinic: $160
Educator Workshop: FREE

Price includes:

  • Instruction and materials
  • Some meals (see schedule)
  • T-shirt
  • Admission to Tour of Champions
  • Access to discounted friends/family Tour of Champions tickets

Group rates: 5% discount for 5-9 people; 10% discount for 10-14 people. Groups of 15+ contact erik@systemblue.org

James E. Taylor HS map
20700 Kingsland Blvd
Katy, TX 77450

Legacy Stadium map
5070 Franz Rd
Katy, TX 77493

HOUSING: This is a commuter camp. There are many good hotel options near the event site should you need overnight accommodations.


Thursday, July 19
9:30 am
Check-in (at Taylor HS)
11:00 am
Morning Session Starts
1:30 pm
Lunch Break (meal provided)
2:30 pm
Afternoon Session Starts
5:30 pm
Dinner Break (meal provided)
6:10 pm
Load Buses
6:15 pm
Depart for Legacy Stadium
6:45 pm
Evening Session Starts (at Legacy Stadium)
10:00 pm
Dismissal
10:30 pm
Approx. buses back at Taylor HS
Friday, July 20
10:00 am
Morning Session Starts (at Taylor HS)
1:00 pm
Lunch Break (meal provided)
2:00 pm
Afternoon Session Starts
4:00 pm
Final Session (parents welcome)
5:00 pm
Event Ends
7:30 pm
DCI Tour of Champions Show Starts (at Legacy Stadium in Katy)
10:00 pm
Show Ends

Please bring a completed medical form with you to the event. You will not be able to participate in the event with out a medical form. If under 18, the form must be signed by your parent or guardian. Download the form

Transportation Authorization: Download

Maps and full event details: Download the full event packet




Leadership / Drum Major Clinic

System Blue Leadership Clinics are for students, ages 14 and up, in all sections of the marching band, including woodwind, brass, color guard, percussion, and drum majors. Each System Blue Leadership Clinic is designed to be highly experiential, and to give students tools and concrete strategies to help make an immediate difference when they return to their own bands. Specific content includes:

  • Procedures and strategies for effective peer teaching
  • How effective leaders communicate
  • The three components of leadership effectiveness
  • Seven levels of learning and awareness
  • Characteristics of high-quality leaders
  • Conducting skills (for drum majors). Note that System Blue Leadership Clinics do not address mace or military-style baton skills.

One of the unique and most exciting components of System Blue Leadership Clinics is the personal interaction with the instructors and members of the 17-time World Champion Blue Devils. At multi-day leadership clinics, students will have the chance to observe and rehearse with the brass, percussion, and color guard sections of the Blue Devils.

This camp features breakout sessions specifically for drum majors and for returning System Blue Leadership campers. Drum major breakouts include:

  • Conducting fundamentals
  • Understanding how pulse and tempo maintenance are affected by staging
  • Rehearsal management and pacing

Breakouts for returning leadership campers include:

  • Advanced communication skills
  • Advanced teaching skills
  • Level 7 Learning

Instructional Staff

Frank Troyka

Frank Troyka is the retired Director of Bands and Coordinator of Fine Arts at Berkner High School in Richardson, Texas. A teacher of over 30 years, Frank came to Berkner in May of 2006 following seven years as Director of Bands at Cypress Falls High School in Houston. Ensembles under his director have been selected to perform at the Music For All National Festival; the Percussive Arts Society International Convention; and at the Midwest Clinic on two occasions with the Symphonic Band at Cypress Falls in 2004 and with the Berkner Symphonic Band in 2011. Frank is an active lecturer and clinician, presenting across Texas, throughout the United States, and at international destinations including Canada, The Philippines, Singapore, China, South Africa, and Dubai. He is a frequent presenter at faculty development workshops for public school music teachers as well as a guest lecturer and “hands-on” instructor for both students and teachers.

Frank is a member of the Texas Music Educators Association, the Texas Bandmasters Association, Phi Beta Mu International Bandmaster Fraternity, and a member of the National Association for Music Education. He is an Educational Consultant with Conn-Selmer, Inc.; the Director of Education for System Blue, the educational arm of the Blue Devils Drum and Bugle Corps of Concord, California; and the coordinator of the Generation Next series of presentations for The Midwest Clinic. He was honored as the 2002-2003 Teacher of the Year at Cypress Falls High School and, while at Berkner High School, was one of fifteen recipients in the state of Texas of the 2010 UIL Sponsor Excellence Award. In 2014, Frank was honored by the Texas Bandmasters Association as a recipient of the Meritorious Achievement Award. In 2015, Frank was named to the International Board of Experts for the World Music Contest of Kerkrade, The Netherlands and in March of 2016, Frank was inducted into the Bands of America Hall of Fame.

Willie Veenstra

William (Willie) Veenstra splits his passions between several classrooms. Willie is a full time Algebra II and Calculus BC AP teacher at Cypress Ridge High School. He also is Visual Caption head and co-coordinator for the Cy-Fair HS Marching Band and helps with their indoor drumline. Willie was performing member of the Bluecoats Drum and Bugle Corps, playing trumpet for two year (2011-2012) and serving as drum major for three (2013-2015). He is now going on year three on visual staff with the Bluecoats and works with Monarch Independent Indoor Drumline. Willie graduated with his BS in Petroleum Engineering from The University of Texas and was a three-year member of the Longhorn band. This will be Willie’s 2nd year with System Blue helping with leadership camps and Drum Major training.

Philip Jones

James Rocillo

Over the course of two decades, James Rocillo has cultivated a diverse curriculum vitae in music as a performer, educator, and competition adjudicator. His formal music education spans the campuses of Long Beach City College, Citrus College, and California State University, Northridge. Throughout the years, he has had the great privilege of receiving instruction from renowned trumpet artists Bobby Shew, Tony Lujan, Ron Stout, Sal Cracchiolo, Rob Roy McGregor, Bob Slack,Charlie Davis,Clay Jenkins, Kye Plamer, and Wayne Bergeron. Consequently, James himself has become an internationally accomplished musician and can easily shift between the genres of classical and jazz. His performances have taken him around the Pacific and back again, traveling through California, Hawaii, Canada, and Japan.

James' experience as an educator is threefold, instructing at the high school, college, and drum corps capacities. From 2000-2010, he was the Assistant Director of Bands at the BOA Grand National Finalist Ayala High School in Chino Hills, CA. Concurrently, he began his tenure at Nogales High School in La Puente, CA where he worked with the marching band, concert band, and jazz ensemble. In 2007, James joined the staff at Riverside Community College to lead the wind program for the world famous Marching Tigers and serves as director of The Lab Jazz Ensemble and Community Concert Band. In 2010 James became the Director of Bands at Colony High School in Ontario, California. Here James directs the Titan Regiment Marching band,wind ensembles and jazz ensembles. In 2016 James accepted an assistant Professor position at RCC where he will continue his duties with the jazz and concert programs and serve as the Director of the RCC marching Tigers.

Moreover, the sum of such a career has lent itself well to the role of adjudicator and clinician, which he has also fulfilled during several marching band competitions and jazz festivals in California, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma,Seattle, Malaysia and Guatemala. James is an adjudicator for the Western Band Association (WBA) and a member of the Southern California Band and Orchestra Association (SCSBOA)

Over the years, James has had the pleasure of working with several Open and World class groups including Yamato Drum and Bugle Corps, Concord Blue Devils B, and the six-time DCI World Champion Santa Clara Vanguard. He has also held the position of Brass Caption Head at Troopers Drum and Bugle Corps and Esperanza Drum and Bugle Corps. 2008 marked the beginning of a new and exciting chapter as James' first year on staff at the eighteen-time DCI World Champion Concord Blue Devils. James is proud to be apart of six DCI Championships with the Blue Devils (2009,2010,2012,2014,2015, 2017) and three Jim Ott awards for Best Brass performance (2008,2010,2014)

James earned his Bachelor of Science in Business/Marketing from the University of Phoenix in February of 2008 and his Masters Degree in Education from National University in May of 2013. James resides in Eastvale, CA with his partner Sara their son Miles and their adorable dog Aki.

Todd Ryan

Todd Ryan began marching with the Madison Scouts Drum and Bugle Corps in 1975 before becoming an instructor in 1982. Todd taught Les Eclipses and the Madison Scouts Drum and Bugle Corps until 1989 when he became the Show designer and Visual Caption Head for the Star of Indiana Drum and Bugle Corps, a position he held until joining The Blue Devils in 1994. Todd consults, writes and judges for various marching bands around the United States and is currently teaching and writing for Japanese drum and bugle corps.

Todd was elected into the Drum Corps International Hall of Fame in 2012, recognized and revered as one of the finest marching and visual teachers in the activity.

John Meehan

John works with the Blue Devils organization as Brass Caption Head/Arranger for the 17 time D.C.I. Champion A Corps, as well as Music Director and Arranger for the B and B Corps. Since joining the staff in 1994, John has helped the A Corps win 11 D.C.I. Championships and 12 Jim Ott High Brass Awards.

John has been composing and arranging since 1992. Current clients include Allen High School (TX), American Fork High School (UT), Clements High School (TX), Eden Prairie High School (MN), Homestead High School (CA), and the Yokohama Scouts Drum & Bugle Corps (Japan), while past clients include Ayala High School (CA), James Logan High School (CA), McQueen High School (NV), and the Pacific Crest Drum & Bugle Corps. Clients of John have won numerous State marching band titles, as well as Bands of America Regionals, and been finals at the Bands of American Grand National Championships.

Other non-pageantry writing includes composing for the album "The Music of WYLAND", scoring the film "Mind Games", writing two spots for Kaiser Permanente, and being commissioned to compose several wind ensemble pieces.

Notable career achievements include lead designer for both the System Blue and King marching brass instrument series, development and production for the Sample Logic and System Blue sound libraries, and performing (as a percussionist) on the movie soundtrack Monsters University.

John is a Conn-Selmer and System Blue artist, and exclusively uses Sibelius.

John lives in California with his wife Jackie, their 3 daughters, and two rescue dogs.

Percussion Clinic

System Blue Percussion Clinics are for students who are enthusiastic about marching percussion technique and performance. The clinics are designed for beginner, intermediate, and advanced performers, ages 12 and up, and include instruction on snare, tenor, and bass. Focus will be on establishing solid technique and applying it to individual skills and ensemble performance. Specific content includes:

  • Extensive overview of Blue Devils technique
  • How to prepare for live performance
  • Exercises in creating consistency through technique
  • How to set proficiency goals and achieve them
  • Exploring improvisation in tempo
  • Exposure to diverse styles of drumming
  • Q&A session with Scott Johnson and BD drum line
  • Tips on how to prepare for an audition

One of the unique and most exciting components of System Blue Educational Events is the personal interaction with the instructors and former members of the 17-time World Champion Blue Devils. At select multi-day drum clinics, students will have the chance to observe and interact with the Blue Devils drum line.


Instructional Staff

Rodolfo Garcia

Loves chicken and waffles, enjoys quaint walks near sleepy creekbeds, and drum corps. Lots, and lots, of drum corps.

Brandon Zackey

T. Alan Aungst

Color Guard Clinic

System Blue Color Guard clinics are for students who are enthusiastic about contemporary color guard technique and performance. The clinics are designed for beginner, intermediate, and advanced performers, ages 12 and up, and include instruction in movement, flag, rifle and sabre. Focus will be on establishing solid technique and applying it to individual skills and ensemble performance. Specific content includes:

  • Extensive overview of Blue Devils equipment technique
  • How to prepare for live performance
  • Exercises in creating consistency through technique
  • How to set proficiency goals and achieve them
  • Exploring improvisation
  • Exposure to diverse styles of choreography
  • Understanding and identifying performance quality
  • Q&A session with Blue Devils Color Guard alumni
  • Tips on how to prepare for an audition

One of the unique and most exciting components of System Blue Educational Events is the personal interaction with the instructors and former members of the 17-time World Champion Blue Devils. At select multi-day color guard events, students will have the chance to observe and rehearse with the Blue Devils color guard.


Instructional Staff

TJ Doucette

T. J. Doucette grew up in a Massachusetts drum corps family. She marched for 17 years, before teaching a number of drum corps and winter guards in the Boston area. In 1982, she moved to California to pursue other interests, but stayed connected to the activity working part-time with the Blue Devils "B" winterguard.

In 1986, TJ shifted to full-time work with the Blue Devils "A" Corps in order to return to school, and has been the lead equipment technician for the "A" Corps colorguard since. T.J. also worked with the Blue Devils World Winter Guard, the Blue Devils Twirlers Winter Guard, the San Marino Academy, Fantasia, and the Raiders World Guard.

Current projects include James Logan and Amador Valley High Schools. TJ has presented clinics in the U.S., Europe, South America and Asia. Much of her travel has been to Japan where she has been teaching the Tokyo Renaissance Vanguard since 1998. She also developed two training videos for Winter Guard International.

T.J. received a Bachelor's degree in English from the University of California at Berkeley in 1994.

T.J. was inducted into the Drum Corps International Hall of Fame in 2017.

Esperanza Tovar

Esperanza"Espi " Tovar has performed in and taught color guard for the past 13 years. Upon Graduating from Madera South High School, she went on to a 4-year career in Drum Corps International, which included: Vanguard Cadets, Mandarins, Santa Clara Vanguard, Blue Devils, and Blue Devils International Corps. She performed for four years with the Imbue, a world-class winter guard based out of Modesto. She is also the director of the Colorguard for Fresno State University Bulldog Marching Band. As a cast member of Blue Devils Entertainment, she has performed in the pre-game show of Super Bowl 50 and has taught color guard clinics in Guatemala, Mexico, Taiwan, The Netherlands and the United Kingdom.

Moises Felix

Samantha McMane

Samantha McMane has been working with System Blue since 2014, following her age out from The Blue Devils color guard in 2013. Her performance experience includes Fantasia Winter Guard, The Blue Devils ‘A’ Corps, Blue Devils International Corps, and Riverside City College color guard. She has also performed on the television shows “Glee”, “Parks and Recreation”, and “LA to Vegas”. Samantha has traveled with The Blue Devils to present System Blue Clinics throughout the United States and in countries all over the world including Guatemala, Taiwan, The Netherlands, England, Italy, and Switzerland. She has also instructed several color guards throughout Southern California as well as The Academy Drum & Bugle Corps. She graduated from the University of California, Riverside in 2014 with a B.A. in liberal studies and a minor in dance.

Educator Workshop

System Blue events for educators are relevant, content-rich sessions intended to be of immediate use to educators and their students. They are also designed to integrate seamlessly with System Blue student events so that educators and students are prepared to work more closely immediately at the conclusion of the event.

Each year, a slate of presentation is created based, in part, upon directors’ suggestion from previous years. However, directors are highly encouraged to contact Frank Troyka, System Blue Director of Education, with any specific requests for session topics. He will work to create an opportunity to address your specific needs.

Educator session topics vary by event and include:

  • Understanding staging and timing
  • Contemporary trends in marching technique
  • Show design for bands of all sizes and levels of experience
  • Effective training and use of student leaders in rehearsal
  • Strategies and exercises to strengthen the percussion section
  • Adapting the Blue Devils marching technique for the high school band
  • Effective rehearsal technique and pacing
  • The Blue Devils approach to intonation in the outdoor environment

Instructional Staff

Keith Dunton

Keith William Dunton is an International music clinician, and marching arts producer living in Los Angeles, CA. He holds a degree in Bachelor of Music: Trumpet Performance from St. Olaf College and is the owner of "Design by keith." a full-service program coordinating business for the marching arts industry.

2018
He was the program coordinator to: BOA Grand National Semi-finalist American Fork UT, BOA San Jose Finalists Amador Valley CA & Homestead CA, YIM Runner-up Champion Eden Prairie MN, BOA St. George 2A Class Champion and finalist Loveland CO, WBA combined 1/2/3A 2nd place Fountain Valley CA & 3rd place Cerritos CA, WBA Grand Combined 4/5A 3rd place Homestead CA, Remo Series Finale runner-up James E. Taylor TX, and many other programs across the country.

Keith continues to design shows in Asia with in-person clinics multiple times throughout the year. You can contact him through his website at
www.designbykeith.com, download his app "Design by keith.", or through Instagram at "keithdunton".

John Meehan

John works with the Blue Devils organization as Brass Caption Head/Arranger for the 17 time D.C.I. Champion A Corps, as well as Music Director and Arranger for the B and B Corps. Since joining the staff in 1994, John has helped the A Corps win 11 D.C.I. Championships and 12 Jim Ott High Brass Awards.

John has been composing and arranging since 1992. Current clients include Allen High School (TX), American Fork High School (UT), Clements High School (TX), Eden Prairie High School (MN), Homestead High School (CA), and the Yokohama Scouts Drum & Bugle Corps (Japan), while past clients include Ayala High School (CA), James Logan High School (CA), McQueen High School (NV), and the Pacific Crest Drum & Bugle Corps. Clients of John have won numerous State marching band titles, as well as Bands of America Regionals, and been finals at the Bands of American Grand National Championships.

Other non-pageantry writing includes composing for the album "The Music of WYLAND", scoring the film "Mind Games", writing two spots for Kaiser Permanente, and being commissioned to compose several wind ensemble pieces.

Notable career achievements include lead designer for both the System Blue and King marching brass instrument series, development and production for the Sample Logic and System Blue sound libraries, and performing (as a percussionist) on the movie soundtrack Monsters University.

John is a Conn-Selmer and System Blue artist, and exclusively uses Sibelius.

John lives in California with his wife Jackie, their 3 daughters, and two rescue dogs.

Todd Ryan

Todd Ryan began marching with the Madison Scouts Drum and Bugle Corps in 1975 before becoming an instructor in 1982. Todd taught Les Eclipses and the Madison Scouts Drum and Bugle Corps until 1989 when he became the Show designer and Visual Caption Head for the Star of Indiana Drum and Bugle Corps, a position he held until joining The Blue Devils in 1994. Todd consults, writes and judges for various marching bands around the United States and is currently teaching and writing for Japanese drum and bugle corps.

Todd was elected into the Drum Corps International Hall of Fame in 2012, recognized and revered as one of the finest marching and visual teachers in the activity.