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Corps Fills Air With Drum Beats, Brass Music

With precise rhythm, and military presession, members of the Santa Clara Vanguard Drum and Bugle Corps are in Calaveras County to ready themselves for the up-coming summer season.

The renown group arrived in Angels Camp with tour buses and a semi truck full of equipment to spend about a week here preparing for its 2003 season.

The Vanguard won its first national championship in 1970 and was a founding member of Drum Corps International in 1972.

Drum Corps International emerged from veterans groups that used to gather and perform together after World War I. Many units were affiliated with Veterans of Foreign Wars posts and in the 1960s and 70s, younger groups began to get more competitive.

Corps also evolved away from their quasi-military beginnings to integrate the performance of jazz music and incorporate modern dance movements into the color guard´s field shows.

Members of the Vanguard audition for inclusion on each year´s roster.

The nonprofit group travels six to eight weeks during each summer performing at field show competitions and parades. They have won six DCI world championships, the latest in 1999.

Most performers in the Vanguard are age 16 to 22. The group is divided into the percussion, brass and color guard sections.

The entire Vanguard arrived at Bret Harte High School on Friday for its second training camp of the year. The first camp was held last week at Placer High School in Auburn. The Bret Harte clinic continues through Thursday, when the Vanguard will perform its 2003 show for the first time at 7 p.m. at Dorroh Field. The performance is free.

The Vanguard then begins a rigorous summer schedule of performances that takes the group into Canada and all over the United States. They are scheduled to perform at the Midnight Classic at the University of the Pacific on June 27. Visit www.scvanguard.org for a complete schedule and links to purchase Moonlight Classic tickets.

The Vanguard has also accepted an invitation to appear at the 2004 Pasadena Tournament of Roses Parade on New Year´s Day.

Calaveras Enterprise Story