Jeannette Blackman’s story is unique in that she arrived in drum corps not through the usual junior or senior corps route. Her background was dance and she became involved teaching the 1984 color guard dance. She was so successful she was put on the color guard staff as an instructor in 1984 and continued to teach the color guard up until 1995. She went from an assistant instructor to head color guard instructor and never looked back.
But it was Jeannette’s creative influence on the Bushwacker design team that made a larger impact on the corps and DCA. From 1988-95 Jeannette, along with Roy Chambers and Jim Dugan, comprised the design team that created 8 shows that garnered 5 DCA championships (1988, 89, 90, 92 & 93) and 3 color guard awards (1988, 89 & 90).
So ahead of their time were these programs, and some initially misunderstood, they were at times met with resistance by the status quo of DCA. However, in time the majority of those who resisted creative programs put together by this design team found themselves copying their work. That was their imprint and their legacy in DCA which Jeannette was a major contributor.
Her presence with the Bushwacker color guard also made an impact with her color guard members and DCA. Not only the show, but retreat was a planned event at finals. Her influence on our color guard is evident in those she has taught and who later went on to instruct. Dance and body movement in DCA truly started with the Bushwacker color guard under Jeannette.
Jeannette’s journey in drum corps with the Bushwackers has come a long way since 1984. Her commitment to excellence and drive to be a leader, rather than a follower, has enriched the corps and DCA. Her accomplishments and dedication to the Bushwackers will always be remembered.