Coming off a win at the largest regional Drum Corps International (DCI) show at Stanford University on Jun. 23, Vanguard Music and Performing Arts’ Santa Clara Vanguard (SCV) dazzled audiences with a high-energy, athletic and acrobatic performance at its Pacific Procession performance on Jun. 25.
For the second year in a row, Vanguard broke away from its traditional green Aussie hat with white feather and red and white shirts for an entirely new look inspired by Japanese urban street wear for this year’s show, Babylon.
“[The uniforms are] theme-based,” said Vanguard Executive Director Charles Frost. “So, it’s [about] the City of Babylon. They have a hard time communicating at first in the show and then develop communication throughout the show … We’re always trying to move forward and keep on top of the activity.”
With a repertoire that includes “My Body is a Cage” by Peter Gabriel, “Journey to the Center of the Earth” by Peter Graham, “Metropolis 1927” by Graham, “Apology” by Zacarias M. di la Riva and “Club Sound” by Gent and Jawns, Babylon is set “in a time when words fail [and] music and movement becomes the foundation in which to communicate and serve as the building blocks to once again unite humanity,” according to the show notes.
Throughout the performance, the drum corps and color guard unite together to “explore the human connection and the transcendent power to move beyond language to discover the universal truths found in universal language.”
Held at Santa Clara High School the Monday following DCI West, Pacific Procession provides SCV fans the opportunity to see the 2018 show and serves as a family day for the corps. At last Monday night’s exhibition, Vanguard was joined by the Vanguard Cadets, who performed its 2018 show, Off the Wall, with selected music by Freddie Mercury, Fred Emory Smith and Ryan Adamsons and Eric Whitacre, and the Troopers of Casper, Wyo., who showcased it’s 2018 show, The New Road West, with music by My Chemical Romance, Richard Danielpour, Robert W. Smith and Joni Mitchell.
Setting the Scene for a Competitive Summer
This past weekend, Vanguard participated in the MidCal Champions Showcase on Jun. 22, DCI West on Jun. 23 and the Moonlight Classic on Jun. 24, where the corps received mixed results and placed either just in front of or just behind the Blue Devils of Concord, whose 2018 show, Dreams and Nighthawks, explores the concept of timeless speculation.
“Friday night we were down a little bit, Saturday night we were up a little bit and Sunday we were down a little bit,” said Frost. “It’s going to be a battle. It’s exciting because when both corps are so good it’s really about who brings the most energy and the most excellence that night that really wins the whole show. It’s going to be that way the whole summer.”
SCV, now in its 51st year and led by drum majors Carl Huang (Sacramento), Mykal McGrew (Texas) and Mason Emken (Texas), will continue traveling throughout the country performing Babylon before competing at the DCI World Championships in Indianapolis Aug. 8-11.
“I think that we’re in a great position to be in a medal position,” said Frost. “You never really know until everyone gets together but we’re really confident and how well the members are performing and the design of the show. [The corps is] really great. It’s a great season for them.”