ON TOUR: SCV – Week Two

This post originally appeared on the Santa Clara Vanguard blog and has been re-posted as part of Marchingbuzz’s “ON TOUR” series.

We’ve made it through two bright and sunny action-packed weeks of rehearsal here at the College of the Siskiyous in Weed, CA and the Corps continues to make progress on the 2015 program, “The Spark of Invention.”

Monday was Memorial Day, and although the US Postal Service and many local businesses were closed, the Corps was busy at work on the rehearsal field learning drill. At lunch, Miss Amana was decked out in red, white, and blue bunting as we enjoyed a picnic-style cookout complete with hamburgers, potato salad, fresh fruit, and lemonade. Even as rehearsal resumed, we made sure to take time and show our appreciation for those who have served and paid the ultimate sacrifice for our great country. The Santa Clara Vanguard is forever grateful to the members of the United States Armed Forces, and we thank them for their continued service.


Although the Horn Line and Color Guard have been here for two full weeks, this marks the Percussion section’s first full week in Weed, and we are excited to have them with us. After coming off an intense week in Denton, TX at the University of North Texas, the momentum continues to rise as they crank out nearly eight full runs of the show each day. According to Jon Maynard and Matt Durkee, two three-year vets on the quad line, SCV Percussion is pushing harder than ever to lock down on perfection.

“The whole goal is to perfect everything and eliminate any chance of error,” said Maynard. “Paul [Rennick] always tells us that drum corps should be a zero risk activity, so we make sure to rep it clean enough times to where there is no risk of us playing it dirty.”

You can often find the Drum Line tracking around campus as the Front Ensemble rehearses in the parking lot under the towering beauty of Mount Shasta. When the Percussion section arrived, we were lucky enough to acquire a third rehearsal field so each section can move and rehearse independently before working through the show as an ensemble in the afternoon or evening.


“Everyone is doing a great job of processing information as it’s given to them and applying it to the next rep,” said visual technician Matt Costales. “The past week we’ve been hard at work learning staging and choreography throughout the first half.”

We are so thankful to have had renowned color guard designer Michael James join us for the first two weeks of pre-tour and share his wonderful choreography with the group. Not only has his vision inspired the movement of our Color Guard, but James also choreographed the opening sequence of the show for the entire Corps. We are excited to collaborate with such brilliant minds in the industry and can’t wait to share the results with you.


On Sunday, the Corps woke up at 7:30 AM for breakfast and rehearsal as usual, but after an uncharacteristic four-hour morning block, a delicious lunch, and another four-hour block in the afternoon, it was time for a well-deserved evening off! The members cleaned up and walked into the city of Weed to enjoy dinner and pick up some classic “Weed, CA” wearables from the local souvenir shop, giving back to the community that so graciously hosts us for spring training.

Upon their return to the school, the tour admin staff had set up a projector and popped an extra-large batch of movie-theater-style popcorn. The members gathered in the gym for a special showing of “The Prestige,” a 2006 fiction mystery-drama that follows two rival stage magicians as they obsessively compete to create a greater illusion through the use of a machine supplied by Nikola Tesla. The film appropriately follows the theme of “The Spark of Invention.”


Be sure to follow our Twitter and Instagram (both @SCVanguard), and like us on Facebook to get more updates from pre-tour here at the College of the Siskiyous in Weed, CA and over the rest of our 2015 season.

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