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In Memoriam: Michael Boo

Dec 9, 2020, 15:35 PM by Rhythm Scene Staff

Mike BooMichael Boo, known as the “written voice” of the drum and bugle corps activity for over three decades, died of cancer on November 18, 2020 at age 65.

He was a member of The Cavaliers, marching French horn (1975), xylophone (1976), and marimba (1977), and he taught the Cavalier Cadets mallet line from 1976–77. He received his Bachelor of Music Education degree from VanderCook College of Music in 1977, and he received a master’s degree in music theory and composition from Northern Illinois University in 1979.

He was a writer for Drum Corps News (1979–84), Drum Corps World (1984–2000), DCI Contest Guild (now DCI Today) from 1985–2020), the DCI souvenir program book (1989–2020), (2002–2020), and he was creator and writer of a live blog on He wrote liner notes for numerous LPs, CDs, and DVDs, and he was a published composer of concert band works, percussion solos, and percussion ensembles. Boo also served as an adjudicator for the Indiana Music Educators Association (IMEA) solo and ensemble contests and for marching band events in several states.

“I’ve always been in awe of the sheer amount of brain space Mike had for all things drum corps,” said DCI senior manager of communications Chris Weber, who served as Boo’s editor on Drum Corps International projects for nearly 15 years. “He had such an ability to dance between the artistic side and the more sports-minded statistical side of the drum corps activity. He could compute the math on a judge’s scoresheet in his head while rattling off the liner notes for a Beethoven symphony, before telling you which corps performed it 25 years ago, and then turning out 500 words on it a few minutes later.”

“Mike and I were friends for almost four decades,” remembered PAS Board of Advisors member Lauren Vogel Weiss. “We had a special bond of both being ‘marching keyboards’ in drum corps; he marched with The Cavaliers in the late ’70s and I was with the Phantom Regiment in the early 1980s. I always enjoyed visiting with him at PAS conventions and DCI shows over the years.

“I had the honor of sitting next to Mike on DCI finals night in Lucas Oil Stadium for the past 11 years,” Vogel Weiss continued. “It was amazing to watch him write about the swirl of music and motion in front of him as it was happening. It was almost as if he had one eye on the field and the other one on his trusty laptop computer. He had countless files open so he could reference a composer or repertoire, or find a tidbit about the performers or instructors, and seamlessly add it to the live blog he was writing. His words could literally conjure up the emotion in the stadium. It was like watching Picasso paint a picture or Beethoven write a symphony.

“Mike Boo also had an encyclopedic knowledge about the marching arts—drum corps, marching bands, color guards, you name it—along with a wry sense of humor,” Lauren added. "His words will be missed by fans around the world. And I will miss my friend every time I watch a drum corps show."

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