The hard work and dedication of the 76 brass, 36 percussion and 36 color guard members of the Santa Clara Vanguard came to an end when the drum corps competed in the 2014 Drum Corps International World Championships in Indianapolis, Ind. Aug. 7-9.
After competing in, and winning, the Santa Clara Pacific Procession on July 1, Vanguard won its following six competitions before falling to fourth place in the Missouri Tour of Champions on July 14. From there, the season stalled a bit, as Vanguard finished many of the competitions in the third or forth spot, including two season-low fifth place finishes leading into the DCI Championships preliminary competition on Aug. 7.
Still, when the corps stepped onto the Lucas Oil Stadium field, hopes were high. Members expected to bring the top honor home to Santa Clara with its performance of Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade.
Vanguard finished fourth in the preliminary competition, behind rival Blue Devils (Concord, Calif.), The Cadets (Allentown, Pa.) and Bluecoats (Canton, Ohio). The corps and color guard also remained in the fourth spot after the semifinals, finishing behind the same three teams in the same exact order.
When it was time for Vanguard’s final performance on Aug. 9, the pressure was on. The corps needed to put on the performance of a lifetime to edge out the 12 other corps and win the championship.
Vanguard left it all on the field, scoring an impressive 96.075 (38.6 in general effect, 28.65 in visual and 28.825 in music). Vanguard, however, was edged out by The Cadets who beat the corps by .8, Bluecoats who scored 1.1 points ahead of SCV, and the Blue Devils who put out a record-breaking performance, ending the competition with the title and an unheard of, near perfect score of 99.650.
Despite disappointment, Vanguard did not leave empty-handed. In addition to the championship, DCI hands out World Class Caption Awards, and while the Blue Devils nearly ran the board, Vanguard took home one trophy – the Fred Sanford Best Percussion Performance Award for the percussion section that ended the three-day event with the highest average score. Fittingly, SCV last won the award in 2004 when the corps first performed Scheherazade.
“To win a Fred Sanford award with Paul Rennick is amazing,” said front ensemble corps member A.J. Covey. “He’s been at Vanguard for four years now, and to be part of his legacy is incredible.”
Vanguard Cadets, who won the Open Class division in 2013, finished second, behind Blue Devils B in the DCI World Championships Open Class division.
Vanguard will now concentrate on the 2014 winter guard and winter percussion seasons, with auditions for winter guard taking place on Saturday, Sept. 20 and battery auditions happening on Saturday, Sept. 13. Aspiring front ensemble members will audition on Sunday, Oct. 27. Visit scvanguard.org for more information.