ON TOUR: SCV – Welcome to Weed

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

It’s that time of year again! The sun is shining, the birds are singing, the pollen is blowing, and the Santa Clara Vanguard has settled in at the College of the Siskiyous in Weed, CA to kick off spring training, 2015.

After getting its start as a lumber milling town back in the 1900s, today Weed has grown to serve as home to just under 3,000 people. It is also home to the College of the Siskiyous, our housing site for the first leg of pre-tour. The rehearsal facilities here are wonderful and include two well-kept fields, one large gymnasium, and a beautiful sprawling campus. We are grateful for all this space as it allows each section of the corps to work on their priorities separately before coming together as a full group in the evening.

Plus, you really couldn’t ask for a better view. Tucked back into the woods of Northern California, we are located about ten miles northwest of Mount Shasta, the second tallest volcano in the Cascade Range standing at 14,179 feet. But don’t worry, Mount Shasta is considered a dormant volcano and hasn’t erupted since 1786. We are lucky to rehearse under such spectacular inspirational views, and the scenery is almost too beautiful for words.


The corps has been making the trip up north for pre-tour since 2009, but this year marks our longest stay in Weed. And with the brass and color guard moving in a week earlier than ever before, the members were able to spend these first six days devoted to fundamentals and technique. According to visual caption manager Christopher Alexander, this dedication to detail has been paying off.

“We set drill and choreography aside in order to extend and reinforce our basic movement skills with the sort of focused, daily practice that hasn’t been available during our weekend rehearsal camps,” said Alexander. “As a result, our foundation is now stronger than ever and I can tell our time was well spent.”

Productive weekend rehearsal camps in combination with devoted individual practice time has set the Santa Clara Vanguard up for a successful season. The corps has been playing through the 2015 program in its entirety for a while now, so rather than spend the first week of pre-tour on new music, they can step away and get back to the basics.

“This first week we have been establishing a lot of really solid fundamentals and we have been working to provide an efficient, comfortable atmosphere where people can find success,” said 2015 horn sergeant, Ethan Munger. “We all hope this early definition will pay off later in the season, it’s really vibing well for us.”


Mother nature threw a few rainy days our way this week, but what would drum corps be without a little adversity every now and then? The members showed professionalism and dedication as they weathered the storm and refused to let a little California rain shower (there IS still a drought) prevent them from getting work done. However, we are all looking forward to predicted brighter skies and higher temperatures in the forecast ahead!

We are also looking forward to having our percussion section – who has been hard at work in Denton, TX for the past week – join the corps here in Weed. With their arrival, the corps is officially all together for the first time this season and it is time to resume learning drill and choreography for our 2015 program. We are excited to dust off the cobwebs and continue chipping away at “The Spark of Invention!”

Be sure to follow our Twitter, our 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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