So far, it has been a fast summer for the Santa Clara Vanguard. As the drum corps enters the halfway point and second half of its season, members have been hard at work – learning new music and drill that will take the performance over the top.
“We’re halfway through, but I feel like our season has just kind of begun because we finished pre-tour, which was a lot of work – a lot of getting through drill and working really heard – and we just started our shows,” says Malia Zinn, a melophone player in her first season with Vanguard. “We still have so much more we have to work on, but I’m really proud of how far we’ve come.”
This year’s Pacific Procession show – hosted by Vanguard at Santa Clara High School on July 1 – is one of the midpoint markers and allows the hometown crowd to support the corps. Usually, many of the corps participating in DCI West stay in town a few extra days to compete at the Santa Clara show. This year, however, Vanguard’s toughest competition, the Blue Devils of Concord, were traveling and unable to be part of the event, which gave Vanguard a better chance to come out on top, as the corps had already bested the other competitors (Blue Knights of Denver, Colo., Crossmen of San Antonio, Tex., Pacific Crest of Diamond Bar, Calif. and Mandarins of Sacramento) in previous competitions.
“As a corps, I think we’ve been stepping it up every show,” says Zinn. “Personally, I think I could have improved in some spots [tonight], but I think that for every show. You always have things you can improve on, but I think, overall, it’s getting a lot better.”
As the brass section continues to improve, the drumline and percussion section has been pushing forward despite losing a quad and snare drummer.
“We’re still trying to fight for it,” says third-year percussionist Peter Cannon. “Every show we want to fight to get the score we want and get the placement we want. That may not always work out in the future. In fact, it probably won’t, but regardless we still have to maintain what we’re doing, which is aiming for perfection all the time – trying to get better all the time … We’ve actually gotten more of the show and it’s more hard stuff. Just yesterday we added a few changes to make it even harder. We just keep stacking it on.”
The Vanguard drumline is continuing to excel in all competitions, edging or annihilating the competition in each contest. Meanwhile, the color guard is still fighting to find its way.
“It’s definitely been a rollercoaster,” says color guard captain and fourth-year member Arista Thun-Smith. “But I think, overall, we’re getting there and I think people are really starting to shine. I think we’re really starting to pick up on that and we’re starting to have a lot more respect for each other, which helps us have a better connection with each other and more respect. We’re getting there. We’re halfway through the season and we have a lot of growing to do, but I think we’re on the right track … Yesterday we completely changed the ballad for the color guard. It was a process, but we completely got it changed. We have some new props to add into the ballad. There have actually been a lot of changes.”
Vanguard’s show will continue to change throughout the second half of the season, leading to the DCI Championships in Indianapolis, Ind. on August 9. Visit www.dci.org to track Vanguard throughout the competition season, or www.scvanguard.org for more information on the corps.