Santa Clara Vanguard Drum and Bugle Corps

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Santa Clara Vanguard
Drum and Bugle Corps
Santa Clara Vanguard Drum and Bugle Corps logo.jpg
The Santa Clara Vanguard logo
LocationSanta Clara, California, United States
DivisionWorld Class
Championship titlesAmerican Legion - 1970
CYO - 1983
VFW - 1971
DCI - 1973, 1974, 1978, 1981, 1989, 1999, 2018
Uniform(2018) Long-sleeved white mesh undershirt w/ attached mask
Short-sleeved white top w/ sequined black radical symbol on front
Silver Vanguard star on right breast
White gauntlet cuffs (no gloves)
White pants w/ white knee pads
Black barcode reading "Babylon" on right thigh
Silver chain on left thigh
White shoes and white socks
No headgear

(Traditional) Red top w/ white sash
Vanguard star on left breast
White gauntlets
White or Black pants w/ matching shoes and socks
Dark green "Aussie" hat w/ white feather
SCV 50th anniversary logo, 2017

Santa Clara Vanguard Drum and Bugle Corps (also known as "SCV", "Vanguard", or just "Santa Clara") is a competitive drum and bugle corps. Based in Santa Clara, California, United States, the Santa Clara Vanguard is one of the thirteen founding member corps of Drum Corps International (DCI) and is the current DCI World Champion, having won the title seven times.[1]

The Santa Clara Vanguard, 2008


On the evening of March 6, 1967, citing differences of opinion in the artistic direction of the Sparks Drum & Bugle Corps, parents voted to disband the group and return to being a drum and bell corps with majorettes. After the vote, three dissident adults took concerned corps members aside and asked them if they would rather continue a drum and bugle corps instead of becoming a drum and bell corps.

A new booster club was organized that night. Gail Royer, music instructor for the Sparks, was a local elementary music teacher and an American Legion judge. He would be the director for the new corps. The naming of the new corps had to wait until the kids met for rehearsal the next week. At that time, after discussing several possibilities, they settled on the name: Santa Clara Vanguard.

One week later, the newly christened corps marched and won their first parade, San Francisco's St. Patrick's Day Parade. The big trip in 1967 was to Southern California to compete in the Anaheim Kingsmen's second annual Festival of Music. The corps placed fourth there (losing to the Diplomats by 0.15 points). Corps members had the opportunity to observe the U.S. Air Force Academy Drum & Bugle Corps for the first time that weekend, getting a taste of what was possible in the drum corps medium. It was also the weekend that they met two young Kingsmen instructors who would play large roles in the corps’ future, Pete Emmons and Fred Sanford. Just before the corps’ final performance of that first year, Gail Royer honored the corps’ first age-outs with the original Green Feather Ceremony, a rite that has continued down the years.

In 1968 the corps embarked on its first tour to the Midwest in order to measure itself against more experienced corps in full contests. Gail Royer was trying to prepare them for VFW Nationals in Philadelphia the following year. Although they did not place high at any of the competitions, the tour was a success because of the competition experience and the exposure to the national drum corps scene. Corps members made many friends and gained the respect of fellow performers from such elite corps as the Casper Troopers, Kilties, Cavaliers, and Blue Stars. Many of these friendships continue to this day. On the local front, the SC Vanguard Color Guard beat the Anaheim Kingsmen in 1968 to win their first California Color Guard Circuit Championship, and the corps won its first standstill competition. The corps also won its first field show that year, on August 3, 1968, at the Anaheim Kingsmen's Festival of Music. Santa Clara Vanguard capped off its year by winning the first of many California State Open Championships.

The Vanguard made its first trip to the East Coast in 1969. At their first VFW Nationals in Philadelphia, the corps finished in thirteenth place of the sixty-three corps, just missing Finals. The members then visited Washington, D.C., where the corps played their musical program on the steps of the Capitol Building, and New York City. In the corps' second "major" show of the season, SCV placed ninth of the forty-one corps in Class A at the U.S. Open in Lynn, Massachusetts. Santa Clara closed out the Sixties by beating every other major corps in the country in 1970; they lost to several corps, but repaid those losses with wins. Finances prevented the corps from attending VFW Nationals in Miami, but the corps traveled in their own automobiles to Portland, Oregon for the American Legion Nationals, where they defeated 21 mostly West Coast corps to win the 1970 American Legion Junior National Championship.

In 1971, at the urging of Troopers founder Jim Jones and Cavaliers founder Don Warren, the Blue Stars, Cavaliers, Madison Scouts, Santa Clara Vanguard, and the Troopers formed the Midwest Combine. This action was taken in reaction to the rigid rules of the American Legion and VFW (the primary rule makers and sponsors of both corps and shows) and the low or nonexistent performance fees paid for appearing in the various competitions. The corps felt that not only were they having their creative potential as artistic performing groups stifled, but they were being financially starved. (A similar group of Eastern corps, the United Organization of Junior Corps [also known as the "Alliance"], was formed by the 27th Lancers, Garfield Cadets, Boston Crusaders, Blessed Sacrament Golden Knights, and Blue Rock.) The Combine members felt that the corps should be making their own rules, operating their own competitions and championships, and keeping the bulk of the monies that those shows earned. For the 1971 season, the corps stuck together, offering show promoters the five corps as a package. Despite pressure on show sponsors, judges, and other drum corps, the Combine corps were not only booked into a number of shows together, but they found a host for a show of their own, which was a spectacular success despite fears of failure that lasted until a standing-room-only crowd arrived literally at the last moment.[2] Otherwise during that season, SCV competed in three "majors"; they were third at the CYO Nationals, second among thirty-seven corps at the World Open, and won the VFW National Championship in Dallas, Texas.

Buses belonging to the Santa Clara Vanguard

In 1972, the Santa Clara Vanguard, along with the nine other corps from the Midwest Combine and the Alliance, plus the Anaheim Kingsmen, Argonne Rebels, and De La Salle Oaklands were founding members of Drum Corps International, which remains as the sanctioning body for junior corps in North America. At the first DCI World Championships in Whitewater, Wisconsin, SCV finished in third place in a competition that featured thirty-nine corps from the East, the South, the West Coast, the Midwest and Great Plains, and Canada. Santa Clara would remain among DCI's top three corps for the organization's first eight years, winning the DCI World Championship in Whitewater in 1973, in Ithaca, New York in 1974, and in Denver in 1978. SCV would close out the Seventies by falling to seventh place in Birmingham, Alabama in 1980 with a totally asymmetrical drill that was probably slightly ahead of its time.[citation needed] The corps' dominance was partly due to superb drumming, partly due to innovative drill, but largely due to a strong, supportive organization.[citation needed]

Santa Clara recovered from the down season of 1980 by winning its fourth DCI World Championship in '81. Then, over the next seven years, SCV would place second five times and third twice before winning its fifth DCI title in 1989 with its now-famous 'Phantom of the Opera' show. After that nine-year streak, the Vanguard would fall to sixth in 1990, fourth in '91 and seventh in '92. After the '92 season, the corps' original director, Gail Royer, stepped down and died soon after. Dr. Len Kruszecki was appointed as Royer's successor, but SCV would place no better than 5th during his leadership. In 1996, J.W. Koester became SCV's director, and the corps placed fifth at DCI, improved to third in '97, second in '98, and won its sixth DCI World Championship in 1999. Under the directorship of Rick Valenzuela, 2000–05; Jeff Pearson, 2006–08; Jeff Fiedler, 2009–15, and Charles Frost since 2016, the Santa Clara Vanguard has continued its unbroken string of having appeared in every DCI Finals since 1972 and is the only corps able to make such a claim. After a 19-year drought, their stunning 2018 show 'Babylon' returned Vanguard to the top of the leader board in dominating fashion, with their 2nd highest score (98.625) ever in a DCI final's event.


The Santa Clara Vanguard Drum and Bugle Corps is sponsored by Vanguard Music and Performing Arts (VMAPA),[3] a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that has a Board of Directors, corps director, and staff assigned to carry out the organization's mission. Kevin Brooks is Chairman of the Board, and Charles Frost is the Executive Director. The organization also sponsors the Vanguard Cadets Drum and Bugle Corps, the Santa Clara Vanguard Independent World Winter Guard, the Vanguard Winter Percussion, and the Vanguard Community Arts Initiative which provides music education programs to the community, including private music lessons and performing ensembles such as the SCV Big Band and the SCV Youth Brass Ensemble.[4]

Show Summary (1972–2018)[edit]


Gold background indicates DCI Championship; pale blue background indicates DCI Class Finalist; pale green background indicates DCI semifinalist.

Year Theme Repertoire Score Placement
1972 Fanfare and Allegro by Clifton Williams / Henry V by Sir William Walton /
Now Thank We All Our God by Johann Crüger, Martin Rinkart, and Catherine Winkworth / Wedding Celebration and Bottle Dance, If I Were A Rich Man & Chava Ballet from Fiddler on the Roof by Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick
87.35 3rd
1973 Fanfare and Allegro by Clifton Williams / Young Person's Guide To Drum Corps by Benjamin Britten / Wedding Celebration and Bottle Dance & Chava Ballet (from Fiddler on the Roof) by Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick 88.65 1st
1974 Siegfried's Rhine Journey from Götterdämmerung by Richard Wagner /
Young Person's Guide To Drum Corps by Benjamin Britten / Overture to Candide by Leonard Bernstein /
A Little Night Music, Weekend in the Country & Send In the Clowns (from A Little Night Music) by Stephen Sondheim
89.50 1st
1975 Entrance of the Emperor and His Court (from the Hary Janos Suite) by Zoltán Kodály / Dance of the Buffoons by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov /
To Life, If I Were A Rich Man, Sabbath Prayer, Chava Ballet & Bottle Dance
From Fiddler on the Roof by Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick
91.00 2nd
1976 Hary Janos Suite by Zoltán Kodály / Appalachian Spring by Aaron Copland /
Black Orchid by Neal Hefti / Send In the Clowns (from A Little Night Music) by Stephen Sondheim
89.50 3rd
1977 Overture to a New Era by Caesar Giovannini / Appalachian Spring by Aaron Copland /
Make Our Garden Grow (from Candide) by Leonard Bernstein
89.85 3rd
1978 Overture to a New Era by Caesar Giovannini /
Dance of Welcome, Adagio, Lezghinka & Gopak (from Gayne Ballet) by Aram Khachaturian /
If You Believe (from The Wiz) by Charlie Smalls /
Bottle Dance (from Fiddler on the Roof) by Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick
91.55 1st
1979 Verdi's Requiem by Giuseppe Verdi / Adagio, Lezghinka & Hopak (from Gayne Ballet) by Aram Khachaturian /
If You Believe (from The Wiz) by Charlie Smalls / Bottle Dance (from Fiddler on the Roof) by Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick
90.70 3rd
1980 Fanfare Symphony No. 4 Opus 36 by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky / Procession of the Nobles by Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov /
Stone Ground Seven by Roger Kellaway / Selections (from Evita) by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice /
Jupiter (from The Planets) by Gustav Holst
85.60 7th
1981 Northridge by David Schaffer / Young Person's Guide To Drum Corps by Benjamin Britten /
Slava by Leonard Bernstein / Don't Cry For Me Argentina (from Evita) by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice
94.00 1st
1982 Third Symphony, Fourth Movement by Vittorio Giannini / Capriccio Espagnol by Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov /
Slava by Leonard Bernstein / Appalachian Spring by Aaron Copland /
Bottle Dance (from Fiddler on the Roof) by Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick
93.55 2nd
1983 Third Symphony, Fourth Movement by Vittorio Giannini /
On The Town by Leonard Bernstein, Betty Comden, and Adolph Green / Appalachian Spring & Dream Sequence (from The Red Pony) by Aaron Copland
92.75 3rd
1984 Fanfare and Allegro by Clifton Williams / Musika Bohema by Zdeněk Lukáš / On The Town by Leonard Bernstein, Betty Comden, and Adolph Green / Tender Land by Aaron Copland 97.40 3rd
1985 Festive Overture by Dmitri Shostakovich /
Grover's Corner (from Our Town), Tender Land & The Red Pony by Aaron Copland
97.20 2nd
1986 Festive Overture by Dimitri Shostakovich / Pictures at an Exhibition by Modest Mussorgsky 97.00 2nd
1987 Russian Christmas Music by Alfred Reed / Dance of the Tumblers by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov /
Lezghinka & Lullaby by Aram Khachaturian /
Hut of Baba Yaga & Great Gate of Kiev (from Pictures at an Exhibition) by Modest Mussorgsky
97.80 2nd
1988 Phantom of the Opera Music of the Night, Angel of Music, Phantom of the Opera, Masquerade, Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again,
Track Down This Murderer & All I Ask Of You. All from Phantom of the Opera by Andrew Lloyd Webber, Charles Hart, and Richard Stilgoe
96.90 2nd
1989 Phantom of the Opera Angel of Music, Masquerade, Think of Me, Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again,
All I Ask Of You, Track Down This Murderer, and Music of the Night. All from Phantom of the Opera by Andrew Lloyd Webber, Charles Hart, and Richard Stilgoe
98.80 1st
1990 Carmen Prelude and March, Intermezzo, March of the Toreadors, Changing of the Guard,
Allegro Moderato, La Habanera & Gypsy Dance
All from Carmen by Georges Bizet
94.00 6th
1991 Miss Saigon Overture - What's This I Find?, Sun and Moon, Morning of the Dragon, Wedding Ceremony, The Fall of Saigon
All from Miss Saigon by Claude-Michel Schönberg, Alain Boublil, and Richard Maltby Jr.
94.40 4th
1992 Fiddler on the Roof Tradition, Sabbath Prayer, To Life, If I Were A Rich Man, Chava Ballet, Wedding Celebration and Bottle Dance. All from Fiddler on the Roof by Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick 91.80 7th
1993 Walton Trilogy Johannesburg Festival Overture, Richard III & Agincourt Song (from Henry V) by Sir William Walton 90.40 7th
1994 The Red Poppy Hymn to Red October by Basil Poledouris /
Triumphal Dance of the Coolies, Chinese Dances, Phoenix
& Russian Sailor's Dance (from The Red Poppy) by Reinhold Glière /
Great Gate of Kiev (from Pictures at an Exhibition") by Modest Mussorgsky
92.30 5th
1995 Not the Nutcracker The Clock Breaks by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky / War of the Nuts by Dave Carico /
Romance and Seduction, Celebration & The Journey Concludes by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
91.90 6th
1996 La Mer La Mer, 1st Movement by Claude Debussy / Oceans by Goff Richards / The Skyboat (from Waterworld) by James Newton Howard / La Mer 3rd Movement by Claude Debussy 92.30 5th
1997 Fog City Sketches Lonely Town/Pas de Deux (from On The Town) / Presto Barbaro & City Dreams (from On the Waterfront) /
The Masque, Variation 14 Poco più vivace & The Epilogue (from Symphony No. 2, The Age of Anxiety)
All by Leonard Bernstein
96.90 3rd
1998 Copland, The Modernist Grohg, Dance Panels, Down a Country Lane, Hear Ye! Hear Ye! & Grohg, Part II by Aaron Copland 97.90 2nd
1999 Inventions for a
New Millennium
The Canyon by Philip Glass / Symphonies No. 2 & Symphony No. 1 by Samuel Barber / Blue Shades by Frank Ticheli 98.40 1st (tie)
2000 Age of Reverence Prayers of Kierkegaard (Prayer No.4) by Samuel Barber /
String Quartet No. 4, mvt. 5 & Piano Concerto No. 1 mvt. 3 by Béla Bartók / Agnus Dei (Adagio for Strings) by Samuel Barber / Stained Glass, 1st and 3rd movements by David Gillingham
94.70 4th
2001 New Era Metropolis The Alarm by Dean Westman and Jim Casella / Short Ride in a Fast Machine by John Adams /
Jug Blues and Fat Pickin' by Don Freund /
Variants on a Medieval Tune by Norman Dello Joio / New Era Dance by Aaron Jay Kernis
95.35 4th
2002 Sound, Shape, and Color Trivandrum by Gordon Henderson / Symphony No. 2 "Romantic" by Howard Hanson /
Symphony for Organ and Orchestra, mvt. 2 & 3 by Aaron Copland
95.65 4th
2003 Pathways Orawa (Part 1) by Wojciech Kilar / One Man Show by Jeff Beal /
Anima Mundi by Richard Danielpour / Orawa (Part 2) by Wojciech Kilar
94.70 5th
2004 Attraction:
The Music of
Excerpts from Scheherazade by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov 96.825 3rd
2005 Russia: Revolution -
Evolution 1917 - 1991
Carol (from Russian Christmas Music) by Alfred Reed / Symphony #12 by Dmitri Shostakovich /
Cathedral Chorus (from Russian Christmas Music) by Alfred Reed
88.65 8th
2006 Moto Perpetuo Chains of Reaction, Newton's Cradle, Echoes of Time & Speed of Sight. All from Moto Perpetuo by Key Poulan 92.35 6th
2007 ! (Eureka) Introduction & War Dance (from Daphnis and Chloé) & String Quartet in F Major, 2nd Movement by Maurice Ravel /
Romanian Dance for Orchestra, Sz. 47a by Béla Bartók / St. Gregory the Great from Church Windows by Ottorino Respighi /
Finale (from Daphnis and Chloé) by Maurice Ravel
94.175 5th
2008 3HREE
Mind, Body and Soul
The Chairman Dances (Foxtrot for Orchestra) by John Adams /
The Man in the Bath by Philip Glass / Eclipse by Talvin Singh / Cloudburst by Eric Whitacre
93.025 7th
2009 Ballet For Martha Appalachian Spring by Aaron Copland 95.65 5th
2010 Bartók Concerto for Orchestra & Music for Strings, Percussion, and Celesta by Béla Bartók 92.00 7th
2011 The Devil's Staircase First Essay for Orchestra by Samuel Barber / Piano Sonata #2 Mvt 2 by Avner Dorman /
The Eternal Knot by Karl Jenkins / Etude 13: The Devil's Staircase by György Ligeti
92.20 6th
2012 Music of the Starry Night Leonardo Dreams of His Flying Machine by Eric Whitacre / Hymn to a Blue Hour by John Mackey /
Jupiter & Mars (from The Planets) by Gustav Holst / Music of The Night (from The Phantom of The Opera) by Andrew Lloyd Webber, Charles Hart, and Richard Stilgoe
94.45 5th
2013 Les Misèrables Look Down, At the End of the Day, On My Own, Castle on a Cloud, One Day More, I Dreamed a Dream,
Attack on Rue Plummet, Red and Black, Bring Him Home, Do You Hear the People Sing?. All from Les Misèrables by Claude-Michel Schönberg, Alain Boublil, Jean-Marc Natel & Herbert Kretzmer
96.85 4th
2014 Scheherazade:
Words 2 Live By
Scheherazade by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov 96.075 4th
2015 The Spark of Invention Original composition based on Johann Sebastian Bach's Invention in A minor
by Paul Rennick, Sandi Rennick, and J. D. Shaw / Virus Attack by Amin Bhatia / Pure Imagination by Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley /
Piano Concerto by John Corigliano
93.850 5th
2016 Force of Nature Spring 1 from "Recomposed" by Max Richter / Without Warning by Stephen Melillo /
Earth Song by Frank Ticheli / Winter 1 from "Recomposed" by Max Richter / After the Storm by Stephen Melillo
95.300 4th
2017 Ouroboros Interplay for Piano Four Hands and Orchestra by David Gillingham / The Triumph of Time by Peter Graham / Song of Eight Unruly Tipsy Poets by Zhou Long / Into a Virtual World by Amin Bhatia / Remembering the Future (from Wait of the World) by Stephen Melillo 97.600 2nd
2018 Babylon My Body is A Cage by Peter Gabriel / Journey to the Center of the Earth by Peter Graham /
Metropolis 1927 by Peter Graham / Apology by Zacarías M. de la Riva /
Club Sound by Billy Bennett & Long Phung (Gent and Jawns)
98.625 1st


Send In The Clowns[edit]

SCV's corps song is Stephen Sondheim's "Send In the Clowns" from the musical "A Little Night Music." The corps first performed the song as part of the musical program in 1974, when the corps won its second DCI World Championship. Originally arranged by Gail Royer, the song is played by the brass on special occasions.

The Bottle Dance[edit]

As strongly identified with the corps as "Send In the Clowns" is the "Bottle Dance" from Fiddler on the Roof by Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick. SCV first performed the "Bottle Dance" music as a part of its inaugural DCI program in 1972. The actual "Dance" was added in 1973 where it was incorporated into the musical program seven times, including the 1973, 1974 and 1978 championship seasons.

At DCI Finals in Birmingham, Alabama in 1979 and again in Montreal, Quebec in 1982, SCV closed their Finals performance with the "Bottle Dance", which had not previously been a part of that year's show.

A row of Aussies worn by the Santa Clara Vanguard

The Aussie[edit]

The Santa Clara Vanguard wears a special type of hat, known as the "Aussie." Originally, the 1967 corps turned up the left side of their gaucho hats and added a horizontal feather. Since 1972, they have worn hats specifically designed to be worn as "Aussies" with the feather upright. Notable exceptions were 1987, when the corps wore "Cossack" hats for their program of Russian music, 1992 when "Tevye" hats were worn, and in 2017 and 2018 when no hats were worn.

The Feathers in the Aussie[edit]

Before entering the field at the start of their field show, all members raise the feathers to an upright position until the completion of the show, lowering them after marching off the field (previously, the bass drummers would leave their feathers in the lowered position; since 2011, they have raised their feathers with the rest of the corps). Originally, the ostrich feathers in the Aussie were white. Starting in the early 1980s, the white feathers were supplemented with another color (red or black). In 2009, the corps returned to the white feathers without any other colors.

Then visual designer and mentor, Myron Rosander addressing the 2001 corps. Age-outs are shown holding their green feathers.

Green Feather Ceremony[edit]

The very first Green Feather Ceremony was held prior to the last show of the 1967 season at the California State Open Championships in Santa Clara (Townsend Field). At that ceremony the Director - Gail Royer presented a green feather to those members aging out (those who were 21 years old), and to members who chose not to return for various reasons, to wear for their last performance with the Santa Clara Vanguard. This tradition continues today, but is now limited to age-outs only, as of 1981. For front ensemble performers—who do not wear an Aussie in performance—a portion of a green feather is worn behind the Vanguard Star on the uniform. For members of the color guard, the green might be a portion of a feather pinned to whatever uniform they are wearing that season, a green hair tie (if applicable), etc.

In later years, the corps performed a community parade in Santa Clara after DCI Finals, and it was at that performance that the green feather was worn by age-outs. With the passing of that parade, the green feather is now presented prior to performing at DCI Finals.

The Vanguard Star

The Vanguard Star[edit]

An eight-pointed star has been worn as a corps symbol since 1972. All brass players and drummers except contrabass/tuba players and bass drummers wear the star on the left breast. Tuba players wear the star centered on the chest to avoid damage from horn movements. Bass drummers wear them low on the left side of their tunics, since the bass drum obscures any other locations for the star. The stars are kept as mementos and placed on a designated spot on the right side of the members' corps jackets upon age-out.

In the case of the child of a Vanguard alum marching with the corps, the child may wear his or her parent's star in place of their own at specific shows, typically Finals.

The Cymbal "V"[edit]

As the last chord or note of the musical program sounds, the cymbal section will usually arrange their cymbals to flash a "V" at the audience in what is typically the final action of the show.


In this crowd participation moment, the crowd shouts “Vanguard!” during a break in the music, typically before a competing corps' show.


  1. ^ "Corps". Drum Corps International. Retrieved 24 February 2018.
  2. ^
  3. ^ "Santa Clara Vanguard Changes Name, Launches Capital Giving Campaign". The Santa Clara Weekly. March 31, 2017. Retrieved April 14, 2017.
  4. ^ "Programs". Santa Clara Vanguard. Retrieved 19 June 2012.
  5. ^ "Santa Clara Vanguard/Repertoire". DCX: The Drum Corps Xperience. Retrieved 6 March 2018.

External links[edit]