Drum Corps International
Vanguard celebrates 42 years at annual birthday dinner

Vanguard celebrates 42 years at annual birthday dinner

by Christina Mavroudis

It was a whirlwind weekend for the Santa Clara Vanguard (SCV) with numerous events involving every facet of the organization.



The festivities began Friday March 20, with a Vanguard A-corps rehearsal camp at Yerba Buena High School in San Jose, Calif., a SCV Cadets camp at Kings Academy in Sunnyvale, and rehearsal for the Vanguard Winter Guard program.



Saturday morning, the non-stop action continued with camps in various spots across Santa Clara County and a meeting to launch the inaugural Team Santa Clara boosters. This support group kick-started their first gathering with Vanguard CEO Jeff Fiedler, Cadet Corps director Rob Ripley, booster club president Marie Bienkowski and others discussing the 2009 SCV competitive programs, in addition to specific needs for support in uniforms, merchandising, touring and fundraising. More than 50 people attended and pledged support.



Meanwhile, in Union City… Scoring a 93.3 in their division, Vanguard Winter Guard members placed first in the semifinals at the Winter Guard International (WGI) Western Power Regional at James Logan High School. The group, currently undefeated this season, performed to "9 Crimes" by Damien Rice and "The Kiss" by staff choreographer, visual designer and composer Jon Vanderkolff. The Winter Guard participates in the California Color Guard Circuit (CCGC) and will once again compete at the WGI World Championships in Dayton, Ohio, from April 2-4.



Sunday came bright and early with all corps working to wrap up their rehearsals.



Meanwhile, back in Union City… The Vanguard Winter Guard members continued their winning streak with another first place finish. Their score of 94.2 was the highest to date.



Meanwhile, back in Sunnyvale…The newest and youngest of Santa Clara Vanguard members performed in their Community Programs Spring Recital. The Children's Adventures in Movement outreach program and the Vanguard Jr. Dance Company were featured in a concert displaying dance styles in ballet, jazz, lyrical, hip hop and modern.



Meanwhile, back at the Vanguard headquarters… SCV alums worked magic setting up tables and brewing the late Gail Royer's (corps founder) special sauce for the organization's annual spaghetti dinner which this year marked the group's 42nd birthday.



A silent auction whose proceeds will help the winter guard get to the WGI World Championships consisted of one-of-a-kind items including the opportunity for a lucky alum to conduct the 2009 SCV brass section in a performance later this year.



Other SCV alums raised money toward a scholarship on behalf of their fallen comrade, Paul Seibert. Seibert, who passed away at 52 of a brain aneurysm in November, 2007, is a revered snare drummer with SCV. This year, the Paul Seibert Legacy Award went to A-corps snare drummer Ryan Galasso.



The A- and Cadet corps concluded the evening with their debut performances. First up, the SCV Cadets circled the venue to play Gustav Holsts' classic "Jupiter," in addition to selections from the group's 2009 program titled "Story of Love," including "When I Fall in Love," and "Nessun Dorma" from the opera "Turandot."



Finally, the A-corps brass section members performed an assortment from their 2009 "Ballet for Martha" program in addition to "Music of the Night" from "Phantom of the Opera" and the corps' signature tune "Send in the Clowns." Vanguard drum major, Stephanie Lee, acknowledged as the first female conductor in the A-corps, was highly endorsed by corps composer Key Poulan who said, "She has an amazing command of the music." When asked about the conducting baton she was using to direct the corps, Lee made it clear, "This is clearly a show that needs a baton. It's Copland!"



The final hours spent catching up with familiar faces, and introductions to new members, brought a close to the festivities. And with it, there was a shiver of anticipation from all in attendance, and an excitement in the air for the start of the 2009 summer season.



View a photo gallery from these weekend events.

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