(Ashland, Ore.) — The elite Santa Clara Vanguard Drum & Bugle Corps has found its tempo at Southern Oregon University, drilling for long hours each day and staying in a university residence hall for its three-week “spring training” before beginning its 2018 national tour next month.
The corps – based in Santa Clara, California – is made up of 154 college-age brass players, percussionists and color guard members from throughout the U.S. and other countries. Another 40 support staff members are with the group for its stay in a block of rooms at SOU’s Greensprings Complex.
Neighbors throughout Ashland’s university area can hear snippets from the practice sessions of Vanguard’s drum and horns sections, but will have opportunities in the coming weeks to hear and see the finished product. The group will offer a free, public thank-you performance at 8 p.m. on June 7 in SOU’s Raider Stadium and will also return for Ashland’s Fourth of July Parade. It is providing clinics for the SOU music program while in town, and will offer a day-long youth clinic at Ashland High School on June 2.
The public is also welcome at the drum and bugle corps’ practice sessions on the SOU athletic fields, but photos and videos are not allowed for licensing reasons.
The Vanguard brass and color guard sections have been at SOU since May 19, and the drum corps arrived a week later. The entire group will leave June 8 to prepare for its competitive national tour – 15,000 miles and 26 performances, from June 22 to Aug. 11.
“We researched dozens of possible spring training sites all over the country and chose Ashland, Oregon, because of the culture and atmosphere,” said Shaun Gallant, the Santa Clara Vanguard Corps Director. “One thing we really strive for is these relationships to be mutually beneficial and that is what we have created with the city of Ashland.”
The Santa Clara Vanguard Drum & Bugle Corps has won six Drum Corps International World Class Championship titles and is the only corps to make the DCI finals every year since the competition began in 1972. More than 800 performers auditioned for this year’s Vanguard touring corps.