SCV 2015 Banquet & Award Recipients

On August 1st, the members and staff of the 2015 Santa Clara Vanguard ditched their rehearsal clothes and threw on something nice for the annual Awards Banquet celebration in Pottsville, PA.

After two blocks of rehearsal in the morning, the Corps was released to shower and get dressed for the evening. As the buses departed for St. Nicholas Banquet Hall, the volunteers and catering staff were hard at work preparing for their arrival. Circular white tables were intricately set for the occasion, and five beautifully decorated cakes lay waiting to be cut.

After a delicious dinner of ham, chicken, meatballs, and all the fixings, Corps Director and CEO Jeff Fiedler took to the podium to welcome everyone and thank the numerous volunteers and staff who have made this season so special. Next, it was time to thank the members for all their hard work and celebrate their accomplishments. Awards were presented by caption managers as follows:

Color Guard Caption Awards (Presented by Daniel Riley)

Most Improved Member Award: Kimberly Vernon
Outstanding Flag Award: Jeanne Lewis
Outstanding Sabre Award: Kelsey Hernandez
Outstanding Rifle Award: Andrew Junek
Outstanding Performer Award: Megan Smith
Heart of Gold Award: Austin Sugai
Comic Relief Award: Kevin Clark
Bright Future Award: Atticus Griffin
Rookie of the Year: Walter Jackson
Joanna Avilla Memorial Award: Camille Cornejo

Brass Caption Awards (Presented by George Wozniak)

Most Improved Member: Tanner Machala
Rookie of the Year: Malik Campbell
Mike Korten Memorial Award: Ethan Munger

Percussion Caption Awards (Presented by Paul Rennick)

Most Improved Member: Tyler Nechamkin
Rookie of the Year: Austin Cernosek and Sarah Teng
Mike LaPorta Memorial Award: Peter Cannon

Visual Caption Awards (Presented by Chris Alexander)

Percussion Golden Foot Award: Mark Monaghan
Color Guard Golden Foot Awards: Jeanne Lewis and Jose Morales Jr.
Brass Golden Foot Awards: Jonah Strickland, Stone Wang, and Brett Carr
Myron Rosander Outstanding Visual Award: Spencer Hannibal-Smith

Organization-wide Awards (Presented by Jeff Fiedler)

Bill Shahinian Scholarship Recipients: Peter Cannon, Noe Gomez, and Amy Cunningham
Art Velarde Memorial Spirit Award: Mark Monaghan, Jorge Garcia, and Amy Cunningham
Director’s Award: Carl Huang (Vanguard Cadets Drum Major)
Gail Royer Memorial Vanguard of the Year Award: Noe Gomez

After the awards presentation and a few closing remarks from Mr. Fiedler, the Corps capped off the evening reminiscing on the season and looking forward to a strong final push as we enter Finals Week in Indianapolis.

DSC03906One of five decorative cakes for the occasion

DSC03910Members, staff, friends, and family visiting before the banquet

DSC03912Jeff Fiedler, Corps Director and CEO, addresses the Corps

DSC03948 Guard staff and award winners
(Left to right: Amy Cunningham, Marlieta Matthews, Walter Jackson, Jeanne Lewis,
Camille Cornejo, Andrew Junek, Megan Smith, Daniel Riley, Laura Gasper,
Kelsey Hernandez, Kimberly Vernon, Jose Morales Jr.)

DSC03937Brass staff and award winners
(Left to right: Sean McMahon, Joe Busuito, Tanner Machala, Ethan Munger,
Malik Campbell, George Wozniak, Bob Higgins, Scott Whitford)

DSC03957Shahinian Scholarship recipients
(Left to right: Peter Cannon, Noe Gomez, Amy Cunningham)

DSC03965Charles Frost (Tour Manager) and Jeff Fiedler pose with Noe Gomez, recipient of the
Gail Royer Memorial Vanguard of the Year recipient

DSC039762015 Santa Clara Vanguard Percussion section and staff

DSC039912015 Santa Clara Vanguard “Team Texas”

SCV 2015: Texas Tour

Coming off a strong competitive run through Minnesota, Illinois, and Missouri, it was time to slap on our spurs and take the South by storm. On July 14, the Corps woke for a rehearsal day in Norman, Oklahoma, and the midwestern leg of our tour was but a memory. The sun was bright and the temperatures were high, but the Corps’ spirits were even higher as they worked relentlessly to polish our 2015 program, “The Spark of Invention.” After a long, productive day, it was time to load the busses and ride off into the sunset. Next stop: Texas!


With many of our members hailing from the Lone Star State, our trek through Texas is long awaited by fans and members alike. It all started with another rehearsal day in North Richland Hills, where we were happy to welcome a large crowd of family, friends, and alumni for ensemble that evening. Afterwards, the members enjoyed a little free time to visit and walk to the nearby Whataburger, a fast food Texas favorite. Every day we spent in Texas, the temperatures either approached or exceeded 100 degrees. It was yet another warm state we’ve been to on what’s certainly been one of our warmer tours in recent memory.

On July 16 we arrived in Denton, TX to kick off a marathon of competition with DCI Denton (4th, 84.05). With three show days in a row, the Corps was running non-stop. Our mornings were spent rehearsing, our evenings were spent performing, and our nights were spent traveling to the next housing site so we could wake up and do it all over again. After the Tournament of Champions event in Houston, TX (5th, 84.35) we were happy to share snack with our friends at the Phantom Regiment. It was a great opportunity for the two Corps to come together and meet one another off the field, without the pressure of competition.


The next day, on July 18, there was a buzz of excitement traveling throughout the Corps in anticipation of the evening’s performance. Not only would our show in San Antonio be the first full regional event, it would also be the first dome show of the season. Large crowds and large arenas make for large, energetic performances, so we were excited to get into the Alamodome and throw down. The Corps’ energy was palpable even in the highest rows of the mammoth dome, and they were rewarded by an enthusiastic standing ovation from the large audience as the final notes dissipated. With stiff competition at the top of the DCI World Class, despite their stellar performance, the Corps took fifth place at the DCI Southwestern Championship with a score of 84.825.

At the end of the evening, we loaded the buses and took off for Mi Tierra, a vibrant and exhilarating Mexican restaurant in downtown San Antonio. The Corps has been making the post-show trip to Mi Tierra for years now, and it’s a great way for the members to unwind and bond over great food and an exciting atmosphere. On Sunday, the Corps enjoyed a free day in downtown San Antonio. Between the restaurants on the River Walk, the Alamo, and numerous shopping opportunities, there was a lot to do and see.


As the free day came to a close, it was time to get back into the competitive mindset as we set off for Dallas, TX and another performance. At DCI Dallas, we scored 85.90 and brought home second place. Unfortunately, with this final event in Texas, it was time to say goodbye to the Lone Star State and set our sights on the upcoming rehearsal days in Arkansas. We were sad to leave, but very excited to see what the next leg of tour will hold. As we continue down the road, we hope you will follow our progress on Twitter and Instagram (@SCVanguard), and like us on Facebook for the latest updates as we continue our 2015 season!

SCVC 2015: National Tour

Once again, the Vanguard Cadets are proving that they are a force to be reckoned with. After posting record scores for this time of year and placing first in each competition so far on their National tour, members, staff, and fans are hungry for a fourth championship title. Director Steve Barnhill is very excited with how well the group has been performing and is going to be pushing them to do better and better all the way until the end.


On July 17th, the full Corps and staff met at the Corps hall in Santa Clara to embark on their National Tour. With the first show not being until July 22nd, the Corps had the opportunity to travel at a comfortable pace and even squeeze in some rehearsal time. On the first day, they traveled from Santa Clara to Elko, Nevada. Stopping only to sleep, the Corps was back on the road first thing the next morning to travel to Cheyenne, Wyoming. This was another day full of travel, but the Corps was treated to a couple of hours at a mall in Salt Lake City, Utah. Before leaving Cheyenne, the Corps went to work in an ensemble rehearsal. The 6,000 foot elevation took some members by surprise, but was not too much for the already very well-conditioned Vanguard Cadets. Members took it in stride as some great continued endurance building.


From Cheyenne, the Corps pushed on the Grand Island, Nebraska where after a good night’s sleep, they would be able to get in a day and a half of rehearsal. The corps worked very diligently, not only cleaning the show, but making a few changes along the way. After productive time in Nebraska, it was on to Belleville, Illinois!


With just one day left before the first show of National tour, the Corps worked extremely hard to make sure they make an impactful first impression. Their hard work sure paid off, because at the first show in St. Louis, Missouri, the corps scored a 67.8 and took first place. The corps repeated their achievements in Dixon, Illinois 2 nights later with a score of 70.1. The corps was even presented the honor of performing an encore for the wonderful crowd!


Next, the corps traveled to Oregon, Wisconsin and had the privilege of housing and rehearsing at the show site. The corps worked diligently, taking advantage of their longer than usual show day rehearsal time. Fans were treated to what members and staff consider the greatest performance of the season yet. Earning yet another first place win, Vanguard Cadets put themselves more than 3 points ahead of the rest of DCI’s Open Class with a score of 73.05!

The corps has put themselves in a great place and intend to keep up the energy all the way to Indianapolis. Open Class Finals in Michigan City, Indiana begin tomorrow evening, and The Vanguard Cadets are hungry for a championship title. They certainly take to heart the words of Corps Director Steve Barnhill, “Excellence in all things.” For more details on the Vanguard Cadets tour, please visit our website.

SCV 2015 Midwest Tour

After leaving Riverside and saying goodbye to our beautiful home state of California, the Corps set east, trekking through the Midwest to share “The Spark of Invention” with eager audiences patiently awaiting our arrival in their home town.

Our first stop was in Arizona, where the sun was bright and the temperatures high. The key to beating the heat was lots of shade and ice cold water, but a friendly post-rehearsal water balloon fight between the staff and members helped cool things down a bit as well. That night we performed for a great crowd in Mesa at “Drums Across the Desert” and scored 79.50. From there, we stopped in Tucumcari, New Mexico for a rehearsal day before driving north to Emporia, Kansas. A few minor changes to our third movement (“Pure Imagination”) and some additional work on the last porduction (John Corigliano’s Piano Concerto) rounded out our time in the Southwest.


On July 1, we arrived at Emporia High School in Emporia, KS and the members got their first taste of that famous Midwest humidity. Throughout the day we fought off dark clouds and occasional rain drops before loading the buses for Olathe, Kansas. We rolled into the show site that evening accompanied by a wall of clouds that added a mesmerizing layer to the already impressive sunset. As the Corps walked to the gate, distant lightning set the mood for an electrifying (pun intended) performance and the crowd went wild for “The Spark of Invention.” That night at “Brass Impact,” we received a score of 81.50 and became the first corps of the summer to break the 80 point milestone. In fact, this season marks the first time in DCI history that SCV has been the first corps to do so.


From Kansas we drove 169 miles to Osceola, Iowa where we spent the morning rehearsing and getting ready for our performance at “Celebration in Brass” in Waukee that evening. We finished in first place with a score of 78.90, but soon it was time to load the buses and depart for Northern Illinois University (NIU) in Dekalb, IL. Although our time in Iowa was short, the Corps enjoyed visiting and performing in the home state of our founder, Gail Royer.

We arrived at NIU for a rehearsal day on July 3, ready to work hard and continue refining our 2015 program. (Fun fact: the iconic SCV “Bottle Dance” was first performed at NIU back in 1973!) Meanwhile, a handful of volunteers and a few members of the Admin team collected uniforms and invaded a local laundromat to ensure everyone smelled fresh and clean for the July Fourth festivities. On the morning of the Fourth, the Corps bussed to Mt. Prospect, Illinois to perform in their local Independence Day parade. After that, everyone spent some much deserved free time in Chicago to celebrate the holiday and unwind for the evening.


Soon enough, it was back to business at NIU as we rehearsed and then traveled to perform at “The Whitewater Classic” in Whitewater, Wisconsin. This show specifically holds historic meaning to our organization because in 1973, Santa Clara Vanguard won their first DCI Championship in Whitewater. The performance was full of energy and emotion from the moment the Corps stepped on the field. When all was said and done, the Corps scored 79.00 and took home second place.

The next couple days were spent rehearsing in Charleston, Illinois, at Eastern Illinois University. Unfortunately, the show in Metamora, IL on July 8th was cancelled due to rain, but the Corps still performed concert style in the gym for a wonderful audience. We crossed back into Iowa and rehearsed in Decorah before performing at “River City Rhapsody” in La Crosse, Wisconsin. After that we took off to Farmington, Minnesota for a rehearsal day in preparation for our first regional competition at “DCI Minnesota” where we met up with nearly all of last year’s top 12 corps and took third place with a score of 81.55.


After leaving Minneapolis, it was back to Dekalb, IL for the season’s first Tournament of Champions (TOC) competition. The TOC events bring together 8 of the top World Class drum corps to face off over the course of the summer. NIU hosted “TOC – Northern Illinois” where we finished fourth with 82.05, and the second event (TOC – Central Missouri) was the next day in Warrensburg, MO where we scored 82.75 to tie Carolina crown for fourth place.


With every state we pass through, “The Spark of Invention” gets better and better. The members continuously show great persistence and dedication to the program as they fight to put the best product on the field day in and day out. As we continue down the road, we hope you will follow our progress on Twitter and Instagram (@SCVanguard), and like us on Facebook for the latest updates as we continue our 2015 season!

SCVC 2015: Local Performances, SoCal Open Class Tour, and California Farewell

The Vanguard Cadets have been hard at work in Northern CA with all-day rehearsals and local performances. After about two weeks of “9 to 9” rehearsals as they call them, the Corps debuted their new uniforms in performance at the Monterey 4th of July Parade and later that day at California’s Great America theme park in Santa Clara, CA – right next to the new Levi’s Stadium, home of the San Francisco 49ers.

The Corps hit the road the next day, and took second place in with a score of 61.10 at the Capital Classic DCI show in Elk Grove, California. Corps Director Steve Barnhill spoke very highly of his ensemble and gave them much praise for how they have handled the last few weeks in a speech to the members: “You have taken on more new material in the last two weeks than you will all season and you handled it greatly,” he told the Corps after their performance in Elk Grove. “It was as if you performed an entirely new show tonight: new uniforms, new drums, new drill, new music, new props, and you handled it all so very well.” There was no time to waste, however, with less than a week until the next performance.


The community of Monterey, CA absolutely loved the Vanguard Cadets. Townspeople not only complimented their talents, but were also very enthused to play host to a local organization. This was also the debut performance featuring the Corps’ new Stanbury Uniforms and Dynasty Drums.


Vanguard Cadets drew quite a crowd back home in Santa Clara at California’s Great America amusement park. Park guests were treated to a parade entry, full performance of their 2015 program “On Cloud Nine”, and a patriotic salute in honor of Independence Day.


The DCI Capital Classic was the Corps’ first competitive performance in their new look.


After a week of rehearsal at San Jose State University, the Corps traveled to Bakersfield, California for their first show of the 2015 Open Class SoCal Tour. At the inaugural Resound show in Bakersfield, Vanguard Cadets made their presence known and took first place with a score of 63.95. This was a great way to start the weekend. Members and staff were very excited and had a great boost of motivation and keep pushing.


After traveling further south into Southern California, the well-rested group rehearsed at Buena Park High School in Buena Park, CA in preparation for the Gold Showcase at the Ranch competition in San Marcos, CA. The Corps’ hard work continued to pay off, because for the second night in a row, Vanguard Cadets took first place. This time, with a score of 66.70. Corps Director Steve Barnhill constantly tells the Corps, “Excellence in everything.” It truly shows that the members take that to heart and strive for excellence whether it is on or off the field; in rehearsal or competition.


The Corps entered their final day of the SoCal Tour still “On Cloud Nine” from the day before and practiced very diligently. All of their hard work paid off as they swept the weekend. At the SoCal Classic Open Class Championship in Bellflower, CA, Vanguard Cadets placed first with a score of 66.05. This was also the largest spread between first and second place all season, affirming Vanguard Cadets’ rightful place on top.

After a well-deserved couple of days off, Vanguard Cadets met for two more days of rehearsal in preparation for their National Tour. On Wednesday evening July 15, friends and family gathered at Fremont High School in Sunnyvale, CA – just up the freeway from Santa Clara –  for a “Bon Voyage” open rehearsal and run-through. Vanguard Cadets embark on their national tour Friday, July 17. After five days of travel, Vanguard Cadets will perform at Drum Corps Mid-America on July 22. More details on the Vanguard Cadets tour including shows, mail stops, and much more, please visit our website.

Vanguard Cadets 2015: Local Rehearsals

After opening weekend of the Drum Corps International Tour in Northern California, the Vanguard Cadets enjoyed a brief two-day break before getting right back to work. They were met with a lot of work to complete before the next show in Sacramento, CA on July 5. Props, musical changes, and body choreography were all on the plate for the Corps to accomplish in just two weeks.


The Corps began at Overfelt High School in San Jose, CA and got right to work on changes and additions to the show. They were even treated with some beautiful skies that radiated a true feeling of being “On Cloud Nine.” Some of the most visible additions to the program include several ladders. These ladders represent climbing to achieve a true feeling of being “On Cloud Nine.”


During Act 2, you will see the Color Guard shroud Horn Line members in a white “cloud” which they play through. They simulate sound seemingly coming from nowhere.


Audiences will also be treated to the addition of live vocals at the beginning of Act 2.


Corps member Chazz Medrano is hard at work incorporating more electronic sound to further accentuate and compliment not just the Front Ensemble, but the entire Corps. Keep an ear open for some new sounds.


The Corps took their group photo earlier this week and unveiled their new uniforms on July 4th for the Monterey 4th of July Parade. Here’s our Facebook post revealing the new uniforms & Dynasty drums!


If you follow us on Instagram, you will know that it is Christmas in July for the Percussion section of the Corps. Alongside the delivery of brand new Dynasty Drums, Remo boxes also made an appearance that made a great compliment to the Battery’s new look and sound. The Front Ensemble was also excited to install their newest gifts from Remo.

It’s not to late to see Vanguard Cadets this weekend. Join us in Sacramento tonight, and you will surely be treated to a completely revamped Vanguard Cadets!

SCV 2015: California Tour

The last two weeks have been a whirlwind of travel and excitement for the Corps as we proudly debuted our 2015 program, “The Spark of Invention,” to eager audiences across our home state of California.

It all started at Sierra High School in Tollhouse, CA, where we set up camp for one last week of spring training. Although it may have been easy to coast through to the end of pre-tour, the members worked hard, giving added effort to be sure our final product was polished and clean. After much anticipation we also unveiled our new uniforms and guard costumes, a look that provides a fresh spin on the tradition and class of our organization. We would once again like to thank Stanbury Uniforms and A Wish Come True for making us look great!


Our debut performance in Fresno on Friday, June 19, was met with outstanding response from the both the judges and the audience. We took second place at the MidCal Champions Showcase with a score of 70.60 and placed first in the percussion sub-caption. The next day was DCI West, our first big stadium show of the season. We spent the morning rehearsing in the massive Stanford Stadium before getting cleaned up for the BBQ standstill performance. After the standstill, members and staff enjoyed a delicious dinner in great company with current and past members of the west coast corps. Our performance that night was powerful and packed with energy, earning us second place with a score of 71.90. The Percussion and Colorguard sections both performed very well and came out on top in their respective captions. The following evening in Sacramento, the corps took second place again with a score of 73.35 at the Moonlight Classic.



On Monday, June 22, we found our way back home to Santa Clara, CA for Family Day and our home show! After spending nearly five weeks on the road, it was nice to be back on familiar ground, and we were happy to be sharing a housing site with our open class counterparts, the Vanguard Cadets. The morning started off with pictures and a short rehearsal before lunch. Later, everyone gathered in the stadium as the Vanguard Cadets took to the field to deliver their 2015 program, “On Cloud Nine.” Next, it was our turn to perform for them. With all the cheerful support from both corps, it’s moments like these that are a great reminder of the love and support that flows through our organization. At Pacific Procession that night, the Vanguard Cadets took second place in the open class division with a score of 58.70 and we placed first in world class competition with a score of 74.90.


After four consecutive show days, it was time for a much-deserved free day in San Francisco! Busses rolled out of Santa Clara High School early Tuesday morning and the corps split up by section to go do laundry. After everyone had replenished their stock of clean clothes, we set off for Pier 39 and the Corps set off to explore and unwind in “The City by the Bay.” Our next stop was Atascadero, CA where we spent two full days rehearsing and refining “The Spark of Invention.” After receiving feedback from the judges and examining our own performance, we worked to improve the weaker facets of our production.

We came off these rehearsal days better than ever, ready to perform and hit the field once again. On Friday, June 26, we arrived in Oceanside, CA and spent the day rehearsing for the Corps at the Crest San Diego contest that night. Our score jumped considerably with the corps earning a 75.95 and placing first. The next evening we had the great opportunity to perform at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, CA for Corps at the Crest Los Angeles. We always perform best in large stadiums, and the crowd went wild with excitement as we were announced in second place with a score of 77.50. Our latest show was Western Corps Connection in Riverside, CA where we placed second with a score of 78.65.


Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end, and it is time to say goodbye to our lovely home state of California. However, we are very excited to make our way east and bring “The Spark of Invention” to audiences across the United States. Be sure to follow us on Twitter and Instagram (@SCVanguard), and like us on Facebook to get more updates from the road as we continue our 2015 season!