When Santa Clara Vanguard drumline member Peter Cannon said that this year’s music was the hardest he’s had in his three years marching with the corps, he wasn’t kidding. The technically difficult music of Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade was the performance’s centerpiece as the Vanguard took the field at Stanford Stadium on June 21 to participate in DCI (Drum Corps International) West.
Performing second to last in the World Class division, within a field that consisted of Pacific Crest from Diamond Bar, Calif., the Mandarins from Sacramento, Blue Knights from Denver, Colo., first-time entry the Crossmen from San Antonio, Tex., and the Blue Devils from Concord, Vanguard spun, twirled, marched, drummed and moved to the music – often running from spot to spot in order to hit the right mark during the show.
When the music stopped, all eyes were on the scoreboard, as the corps anxiously awaited the final scores and to find out if Vanguard had hit a high mark and would finish in the top spot. However, when the totals were tallied, Vanguard came in second, less than four points behind the Blue Devils, falling just short in every category (general effect, visual – proficiency, analysis, color guard, and music – brass and analysis), except music-percussion, where the drumline scored three-tenths of a point higher than their northern neighbor.
There’s been a bit of friendly rivalry between Vanguard and the Blue Devils, given the close proximity of the two corps, and the constant battle between the two for first. At the 2013 DCI West show, Vanguard finished less than four points behind the eventual top seed Blue Devils and Carolina Crown (Fort Mill, S.C.). When the Championships came around, Vanguard finished fourth, less than two points behind the Blue Devils. And, when the season opened on June 20 and each corps performed for the first time this year, Vanguard finished 3.05 points out of first – behind the Blue Devils, who are performing Felliniesque, with music by Nino Rota, Danny Elfman, Gordon Goodwin and Maury Yeston.
As with each year, DCI West is one of many shows Vanguard will compete in throughout the course of the season. And, with each show comes changes – changes to the choreography and visual effect of the show. This is just the beginning of the season, and what was seen on Saturday night is the framework of what will become a finished show when the corps performs at the DCI Championships in August.
In the Open Class division, it was the Vanguard Cadets, performing “The Road Not Taken” with music by Philip Glass, John Powell, Ludwig van Beethoven, Chrissie Hynde and traditional Eastern European folk music, taking the top spot with a less than two-point victory over the Blue Devils B and C corps.
Vanguard will perform in a couple of shows this week, gearing up for the Pacific Procession at Santa Clara High School on Tuesday, July 1 at 6:30 p.m. where Vanguard will compete against the Blue Knights, Crossmen, and Mandarins. The Vanguard Cadets and Blue Devils B corps will also perform. Tickets are $20-$25 and available at http://www.dci.org/schedule/details.cfm?event=250, or on the day of the show. To see a complete schedule of shows, visit http://www.scvanguard.org/about/events/.