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Making the Band: Drum Corps and Coming Together

Making the Band: Drum Corps and Coming Together

After months multiple tryouts, the 2014 Santa Clara Vanguard A Corps moved in to start preparing for its summer tour on May 23.

Almost all (the only members missing were those taking college finals) of the 76 brass players, 36 percussion and 36 color guard members got together for their first set of practices as a corps, and began that journey that will eventually take them across the country and over 12,000 miles throughout the course of the next two months.

Each section of the Vanguard is made up of a unique set of individuals, but this year’s drum line – all of whom spent a week together practicing in Texas prior to their trip to California – will have a little extra edge over the other corps.


“One thing that’s good about this year is that there are a lot of people that are from North Texas, which is where I go to school,” said third-year member Peter Cannon. “There are actually six snare drummers from North Texas and four out of the five quad members. We spent a lot of time this past semester and time the previous semester – about three or four times a week – drumming for an hour or two … that was really good for us. We sort of have an advantage in that way.”

While the entire corps is eager to tackle the challenges that will come from performing Nikoali Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade in 2014, the drum line, who learned 17 pages of drill in the past week, has already seen how difficult and exciting the music will be.

Making the Band: Drum Corps and Coming Together

“The music, I think, is by far the hardest we’ve had so far – at least in the years that I’ve marched,” said Cannon. “The opener, at least, is much harder than last year’s … We have more music to come … I think it’ll be great. I think it’s cool we’re doing sort of a throwback kind of thing [the corps performed a different section of Scheherazade in 2004]. I think people will really like it, so I’m pumped.”

The other parts of the corps were equally enthusiastic about how the summer will go.

“I’m looking forward to seeing how the whole color guard comes together because each year has been different,” said Saralyn Bustos, who will be participating in her age out year. “This year, I feel like we’re going to be good really fast and it’s going to be really exciting to see everyone click.”

“I feel like already in this guard our personalities and the way that we interact with each other is just going to propel this summer further than anything,” said first-year color guard member Eli White. “I’m most excited for probably learning the drill with the show. Once I start learning the show and the work, I’ll get that magical feeling that it’s actually happening now, and it’s real. And, it’s here.”

Melophone player Malia Zinn was also interested in getting to know her fellow corps members. “I’m most excited about bonding as a corps and getting to know these people since I’ll be with them all summer and working hard together to make some great music and great drill,” she said.

“I think everyone’s attitude and the way they’re thinking about how this summer is going to go is the most similar to each other that I’ve seen over the past three years,” said Cannon. “I think everyone is really on the same page as for as what they want and what they want us to be.”

The Vanguard A Corps will spend a week in Weed, Calif. practicing from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. before embarking on a whirlwind journey that will end at the Drum Corps International (DCI) World Championship in Indianapolis, Ind. Aug. 7-9. Visit for more information.


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