What began as a disagreement among supporters of a drum and bugle corps, has emerged into one of the finest and most entertaining corps in the history of drum corps.
Citing differences of opinion in the artistic direction of the Sparks Drum & Bugle Corps, parents voted to disband the drum & bugle corps and return to a drum & bell corps with majorettes. At that parents meeting, having learned of the proposed disbandment, several of the drum corps kids waited outside anxiously awaiting the outcome. After the meeting, three of the adults took the kids into a small room and told them what happened. They were asked if they wanted to keep going as a drum & bugle corps. With a resounding “yes!” a new corps was born. Rehearsal was to be same place, same time. They would meet to choose a name and to rehearse for their first show.
Later that evening, March 6, 1967, at 10:15pm, the new booster club met for the first time in an “unscheduled meeting.” In that brief meeting, officers were elected and spirits were high. Gail Royer, music instructor for the Sparks, was a local elementary music teacher and an American Legion judge. He would be the director for the new corps. The kids were to meet for practice the following week; the new booster club would also meet to discuss the business details of starting a new corps.
Following the first practice, everyone gathered together to decide on a name. After discussing several possibilities it was narrowed down to three, and they finally settled on the Vanguard.
One week later, they marched and won their first parade – beating the Princemen and others at the San Francisco St. Patrick’s Day Parade. The “big trip” that year was to Southern California to compete in the Anaheim Kingsmen’s 2nd Annual “Festival of Music”. The Corps placed 4th (losing to the Diplomats by 0.15 points). It was the first time Corps members ever saw the great US Air Force Academy Drum & Bugle Corps. It was also the weekend that they were introduced to two young Kingsmen instructors who were from the famed Casper Troopers – Pete Emmons & Fred Sanford. Just before the Corps’ final performance of that first year, Mr. Royer honored the Corps’ first “age-outs” with the original “Green Feather Ceremony” (which took place outside of Santa Clara’s Townsend Field at the California State Open Championship on September 30, 1967).
Several of the brass arrangements played the first couple of years came from the pen of Truman Crawford (arranger for the Chicago Royal Airs and Director of the US Marine Corps Drum & Bugle Corps). Other early contributors to the brass book included Don Angelica and Keith Markey (with “fine tuning”, also known back then as “watering down”, contributed a little later by Jack Meehan). G.R. Royer started doing some of his own arranging that first year, doing more and more of the repertoire until he took over all of the brass arranging by the 1970 season (a responsibility he would not let anyone else even share until the 1980 season).
1967 also marked the first publication of the SCV Newsletter – “The Vanguardian” (first released September 1967 – it was a 2-page mimeographed piece mostly featuring articles by marching members).