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Dancing toward competition, drum corps stops in Springville

PERCUSSION PLAYER — A percussion player concentrates on her instrument, during a Vanguard practice at Pop Warner field.
STIFF AND SHARP — Drum corps members practice to keep their movements crisp, sharp and coordinated.
SPRINGVILLE — The football field was alive with the sound of music, even though school is not yet in session, at Springville Griffith Institute. A nationally-known drum and bugle corps brought its drumline to Springville,with flying flags, spinning sabres and rocketing rifles, traveling through the air, in sync with the songs.

On August 5, the Santa Clara Vanguard Drum and Bugle Corps, a drumline competition team from Santa Clara, Calif., stopped at the Pop Warner Field to practice, before heading to a week of competitions, in Indianapolis, In.

The team is on its way to the Drum Corps International World Championships, a competition which sees teams from all over the world gather, to strut their stuff.

WAVE THAT FLAG — Santa Clara Vanguard Drum and Bugle Corps members pile up, during an Aug. 5 practice at Pop Warner field. Photos by Nicole Hebdon.

According to the DCI website, “The world of competitive drum and bugle corps is an intense, choreographed musical experience staged on football stadium fields by students achieving high levels of excellence in performance.”

The DCI corps are organized into three competitive classes, each with its own management, educational staff and approach to the sport. Most teams are comprised of college and high school students, many of whom tour throughout the season.

Founded in 1967, from the disbanded Sunnyvale Sparks, Santa Clara Vanguard won its first of six Drum Corps International World Championships in 1973.

STAND AND DELIVER — Lines of trumpets saluted the sky, as Vanguard went through their paces.

Vanguard is the only unit to qualify for every DCI World Championship Finals competition since 1972. The Vanguard organization also sponsors the Open Class Vanguard Cadets, a World Class winter guard, an Open Class winter percussion ensemble and several community outreach dance programs.

For more information about the drum corps competitions, DCI or the Vanguard team, visit


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