Drum Corps International
SCV Alumni Corps carries on tradition
The Santa Clara Vanguard Alumni corps performed on June 25 in Stanford, California.Photo by: Drum Corps International

SCV Alumni Corps carries on tradition

by Angel Mendoza

Following up on their inaugural performance at DCI West in Stanford, California this June, the 200-plus member Santa Clara Vanguard Alumni Corps is looking to blow audiences away at two more performances during the DCI World Championships in Indianapolis.

Fans will be able to see the corps during the DCI World Championship Semifinals at Lucas Oil Stadium on Friday, August 11 and the SoundSport International Music & Food Festival on Saturday, August 12.

Members like Ben Martinez, who aged out in 1971, are reveling in the experiences provided by the alumni corps which has been formed in celebration of Santa Clara Vanguard's 50th anniversary. He says being able to participate has been meaningful, especially as the lessons he learned and the culture he absorbed from marching with the corps in his younger days stuck with him throughout his life.


A Vanguard Alumni honor guard stands at attention on the field of Stanford Stadium.

“It's really special, I got to tell you,” he said. “SCV is a fantastic organization that still means a lot to us alums ... I'm getting emotional thinking about it.”

Alumni corps director Scott Pearson said the ensemble is working on a program of some of the corps' greatest hits that runs more than 18 minutes, several minutes longer than a typical corps show. The drill formations the group has learned represents 28 hours of full corps rehearsal on a practice field.

“We're going to get dinged for being overtime,” Pearson teased. “The production is a booming, high-volume performance. We're also doing the SoundSport event the day of Finals, which is in a civic area that's mostly concrete. I hope the windows will survive,” he joked.

2017 Alumni Corps: February Camp Recap

With 207 alumni spanning all 5 decades of SCV history, last weekend's Alumni Corps camp was quite the exciting reunion! The weather in San Jose was chilly, but we put a lot of material on the field for our performances this summer, and we can't wait for you to see it! #SCVAC17

Posted by Santa Clara Vanguard on Tuesday, February 21, 2017


Because the alumni corps allows for participation of a great range of ages, some parents are marching alongside their children.

One example is 22-year-old baritone player Ken Nakamoto who spent six years with the Vanguard “A” corps and his father, Dave, who marched as a member in 1977. The corps' June 25 performance at Stanford Stadium marked the first time the two had marched together.

“It was a surreal moment just to reminisce and it was very nostalgic,” Ken Nakamoto said. “The Stanford crowd went nuts over the intensity and volume ... I haven't experienced something like that since marching Finals.”


The Vanguard Alumni Corps is made up of more than 200 performers, including 15 snare drummers.

As someone in his 20s, Ken said being able to perform and practice with alums from decades ago has taught him much about the corps' steadfast values, traditions and culture.

“The groups are intermixed, so we get to learn about what it was like when other alums marched,” he said. “We all get to share our little stories.”

The Vanguard Alumni Corps' next performance will take place at the conclusion of the DCI World Championship Semifinals at Lucas Oil Stadium on Friday, August 11. The group will also entertain as part of the SoundSport International Music and Food Festival, an event that is free and open to the public the morning and afternoon of Saturday, August 12.

Related: Day-by-day guide to the 2017 DCI World Championships

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