The Colts are based out of Dubuque, Iowa. The corps is a member of Drum Corps International and they compete within DCI Division I. The director of the Colts Youth Organizations is Greg Orwoll. The Colts Youth Organizations also sponsor a DCI Division II corps, the Colt Cadets.
The Colts Drum and Bugle Corps was originally founded as "The Junior Dukes" in 1963. The following year, the corps folded to return in 1965 as "The Legionnaires." They became "The Colt .45" in 1968 and adopted a Western theme which lasted until 1976. That year, the corps became known as they are today, the Colts.
1993 was the first year this corps finished in the top 12 at The Drum Corps International World Championships being held in Jackson, Mississippi that year. The 12th place finish was actually a fall from an 11th place tie with The Glassmen in semifinals and completed one of the largest placements leaps in DCI history, placing 20th in 1992. 1995 was the corps highest placement in DCI Finals when they finished in 9th place. In 1999 the drumline experienced great success, placing 9th in drums and tying in the technicality box with The Cadets.
- We use music and excellence to teach each other about success in life.
This was edited by the members of the corps in 1999, it used to be "We use music and excellence to teach our members about success in life." The members felt that the entire organization learns about success every year, not just the members.
The horns, drums, and guard all have unique traditions before taking the field, including the saying of creeds and other time-honored traditions. The tenorline always takes the field for performance and retreat with their drums "down" or in the playing position. The tenor section leader has said something loud as they took the field since 1996, and the command gets the line to spread out to full size. The bass line started doing this recently as well. The guard also clicks poles in a symbol of unity before taking the field. The snareline always does a sticks down in the left hand during some point in the show. Hornline traditions include everyone gathering together and reciting the hornline creed. Started by a hornline member in 1992, before the hornline steps off for each show, one member yells "Get some, get some, get some", followed by the rest of the hornline yelling "See Ya!"
The tradition of "the triangle" as the corps symbol dates back to the late 80's. The Corps had received new uniforms, designed by Michael Cesario for the 1986 season. The uniform consisted of black pants, with a white jacket. On the jacket was an upside-down triangle, multi-colored from top to bottom: Brown, Red, Orange, Yellow, affectionately known as the "Burger King Uniforms." The white shako had the same triangle, only flipped vertically. In 1990, the corps received the red "90's" uniform, however due to budget issues, the previous shakos were used. In the interest of avoiding heavy clashing, the triangle on the shakos were re-covered with silver glitter, and outlined in black. These shakos remained until 1994, when new white shakos were purchased. This time the visual staff decided to add a visual accent by adding a triangular mirror screwed into the front of the shako. When the corps received yet another set of new uniforms in 2000, designed once again by Cesario, the triangle was again incorporated into the jacket of the uniform. The triangle mirror remained on the now-black shako, with red fabric as a background to the mirror.
Over the years, the triangle has also taken on a new meaning, representing every section of the corps as one complete unit. Other meanings of the triangle are sacred to the corps, and only known by members of the Colts.
During the final week of the year, the corps members are given silver triangle pendants, representative of the year. This tradition was started in 1997 by Jim Rebbeck, and it started with only the drumline. The triangle was made from an old cymbal at the corps hall. In 1999, the whole corps started receiving the triangle, the horns and guard received a silver one, the drums a cymbal material one. In 2003 the whole corps received a silver one in an administrative attempt to unify the tradition, but in 2004, the drumline returned to the cymbal material due to outcry from alumni and members who expected the tradition to continue.
At the end of each show, you can always turn to the cymbal line for another representation of the triangle. After the last note of the show, the cymbal line will flip their cymbals down to form a triangle between the two hands and the tip of the plume on the shako.
In 2005, a new tradition may have started, as the drumline ended the show with their sticks in the shape of a traingle. All of these traditions and practices keep the members in touch with the triangle and the meaning of the shape to the corps.
Until 2005 the Colts had no official corps song, although there were a few with special meaning to the members. Most notable among these were "Morning" by Vox One, "Old Man River", and "Summertime". The Colts performed "Morning" as part of their 1998 field show "An A Capella Celebration", "Old Man River" in both 1983 and 2004, and "Summertime" a total of four times in the corps' history (most notably in 1993). At the beginning of the 2005 tour season, the veterans were asked to vote among these and a few others and instate an official corps song. They overwhelmingly chose "Morning", and it debuted as the Colts' corps song at their home show in Dubuque, IA on July 2, 2005. It was originally arranged by Mike Bolla.
In 1998, the corps was involved in a three-bus crash on a major highway in Canada. All three busses involved were totalled. Many who marched that year consider the wreck to be the thing that pulled the corps together that summer. That night, Phantom Regiment played "Amazing Grace" for the corps at a show across the country. In addition, the Cavaliers and Santa Clara Vanguard aided the corps with the loan of transportation for the next two days. The Cavaliers stopped on the major highway to pick up the corps and get them off the road (on their way to warmup!).
Colts: Official website