Bill Schlichting
The Curry Coastal Pilot

Members of the world-renowned Santa Clara Vanguard andndash; one of the top

drum and bugle corps in the United States andndash; have been using the

Brookings-Harbor High School football field to practice their routines

Monday and Tuesday.

The group will continue rehearsing all day today (July 1) and the community is invited to watch its members practice, for free. Vanguard's Executive Director Jeff Fiedler suggested that people wanting to watch the Vanguard perform in Brookings come in the afternoon and evening, because this is when the more interesting activities occur.

The group was at Stanford University in Palo Alto, Calif., prior to arriving in Brookings. It is here because Brookings-Harbor High School band director Matt Power is friends with Fiedler. Power offered the high school's facilities after he learned the group was looking for a location for a stopover and to rehearse. The group will be traveling north, and its next performance will be the Fourth of July parade in Seaside.

The Vanguard, which has won six world championships, is a non-profit drum and bugle corps that travels between six and eight weeks each summer throughout the United States and Canada, performing in competitive field shows and parades. The Vanguard provides instruction for the experienced and advanced college-age members in the areas of brass, percussion and color guard, according to its Web site.

The current Vanguard features 120 musicians who play marimbas, xylophone, timpani, various drums and brass instruments. The musicians are joined by a 30-member color guard who swirl flags and throw sabers.

The Vanguard has a support staff of nearly 200 people. There are four coach buses, two tractor trailer trucks and a host of support vehicles parking in BHHS parking lots. The entire contingent are sleeping and eating at the high school's gym, he said.

A standard day of practice is three, four-hour shifts, starting at 8 a.m. and ending at 10 p.m. In the morning they march. Afternoons they play. Evenings they march while playing, Fiedler said.

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