Blue Devils, Vanguard perform free exhibition concert

by Jeff DeMello, special to DCW

Photo by David Rice

The Santa Clara Vanguard and the Blue Devils gave their premier performances this Memorial Day weekend in Penn Valley, CA.

Jerry Seawright, the founder of the Concord Blue Devils, had arranged Memorial Day weekend camp facilities at Nevada Union High School for the Blue Devils and at Bear River High School for the Vanguard, in exchange for an afternoon performance by both corps at the community amphitheater at Western Gateway Park.

The locals started gathering early in anticipation of the show. There were also a lot of fans who braved the Memorial Day traffic for up to three hours each way to catch the first glimpse of both corps. All in all, there were easily more than 500 people gathered in this quaint sunny Sierra Nevada mountain town, not including the corps and their support staff!

Drum corps fans and locals alike were very impressed with Santa Clara’s new uniforms, which were very well tailored to the members. Equally impressive was Santa Clara’s sound during their warm-ups, with a very rich sounding horn line and crisp drum line. Those who didn’t know about the show knew about it during their warm up, as their sound resonated throughout the entire Penn Valley! The Blue Devils arrived silently during Santa Clara’s warm-up, not playing until they performed in the show.

The first to take the stage was a local singer with a very moving rendition of the Star Spangled Banner. This was followed by the playing of taps, led by a Vanguard trumpeter and echoed by a Blue Devils trumpeter. Afterward, there was a moment of silence for those who had fallen in battle for the United States. It was a very appropriate and moving start for this Memorial Day celebration.

Next up was the SCV percussion line…