In 1957, The Blue Devils was founded by Ann and Tony Odello and the Concord branch of the V.F.W. Starting with less than 50 young members, the organization began as an all-boy "Drum Corps" unit with only percussion instruments, and a separate all-girl marching team. On February 14, 1971, the Blue Devils attended their first "standstill" competition in Downey, California. By the spring of 1972 the Drum and Bugle Corps had grown in size to more than 70 members and traveled on their first summer tour to compete with groups in the Pacific Northwest. The Corps did very well and changed their category from "B" to "A" status that same year.
The Blue Devils Drum and Bugle Corps first toured on a national level in 1973, competing with hundreds of other organizations across the nation in Whitewater, Wisconsin. By placing a very respectable 23rd in the Whitewater "National" competition, The Blue Devils "A" Corps gained associate membership in prestigious Drum Corps International association (A status given to only the top 25 national groups.) In 1974, the older "A" Corps earned a full DCI membership by their 9th place finish at the DCI Championships in Ithaca, New York.
Since 1975, the Blue Devils have never finished out of the top five at Championship and have won the DCI World Championships Title in 1976, '77, '79, '80, '82, '86, '94, '96, '97, ’99, ’03, ’07, ’09, and 2010. The Blue Devils' record of 14 national championships stands as an envied accomplishment in the drum corps activity.
In the fall of 1989, the organization moved from a small office and hall facility in downtown Concord into the current building complex in the North Concord Business Park. Following the move to the new facility, The Blue Devils Music School was established and began enrolling students as young as 4 years old. The Music Program - teaching piano, percussion and basic music theory to youth aged 4 to 9 - currently serves and involves over 150 students. In 1996 the organization added yet another program, The Diablo Wind Symphony. The Symphony serves 60 - 80 students, ages 14 - 18. In January 2006, the corps debuted “BlueView,” a video podcast that documents the months preceding the summer competitive season as well as the summer competitive tour. “BlueView” has been folded into Blue Devils new audio/video media archive page entitled “MediaBox.” Over 500 young people, ages seven to twenty-one, are currently members of the Blue Devils performing units. Over 6,000 young people, in 1,800 families, have been served by the Blue Devils since 1957.
The Blue Devils have been featured in concert with Maynard Ferguson, Bobby Shew and Chuck Mangione, as well as the late Stan Kenton and Buddy Rich. Clinics sponsored by the Blue Devils have featured artists such as Steve Houghton and Peter Erskine along with many others. Musical selections from these great bands and artists have been highlights of Blue Devils' repertoires over the years.
With the annual Drum Corps International Championships featured on the Public Broadcasting System, an estimated half a million people view the performances of the Blue Devils Drum and Bugle Corps each year.