The 1991 Vanguard Cadets video retrospective captures the stories of the season by the members themselves. It covers the special moments of SCVC’s historical first trip to DCI Finals, a groovy drum solo that highlighted a strong percussion section, a special Color Guard DCI Individual showcase, and the spirit of a talented group on their way to developing into future World Class performers.
The road leading to DCI Finals for the 1991 Santa Clara Vanguard Cadets was more like the culmination of a two-decade journey. But it was also a very natural next step for a program that had matured since its inception in 1971 (as the Vanguard B-Corps) and proven itself ready for the largest competitive stage at DCI Finals.
In 2016, Drum Corps International journalist Christina Mavroudis penned a tribute article that detailed the significance and lead up to the Vanguard Cadets 1991 trip to DCI Finals.
“After we changed the corps name from Vanguard ‘B’ corps to Vanguard Cadets in 1988,” former corps director JW Koester explained, “we started traveling more throughout the West Coast and into Utah and Wyoming. We felt that traveling attracted more members, and at the same time, exposed them to what drum corps life was all about.”
“In the fall of 1989, Vanguard director Gail Royer and I were discussing what was next for the Cadet Corps, and I asked about going to the DCI World Championships. Gail said he didn’t think we were ready for 1990, but that we should plan to go in 1991 when the contest was to be held in Dallas.”
“We had to develop a budget, contract buses, generate menus and, of course, let the members know exactly what the decision meant for them and their families.”
About the 1991 SCVC production itself, the article notes that:
Vanguard Cadets’ production in 1991 did not have a name. Typical to the time period, shows did not necessarily have a title and well-developed storyline, but were merely a collection of songs that might have a theme. The corps’ 1991 program contained screen and stage music from “The Big Country.” “In Quiet Dignity/Echoes of Ancient Battles” by the new-age band Checkfield, “This is One of Those Moments” from “Yentl,” and “Anything but Lonely” from “Aspects of Love.”
Mavroudis captures several marching members’ memories about the trip to DCI to provide added texture to this historic season, including:
Finals was the biggest thing that I had ever been a part of, in my life, ever. The scope and scale blew my mind. To see so many people that were interested in the same things as me. I think that is when I fell in love with DCI.
At DCI Finals, Vanguard Cadets went from third place in the Prelims to fourth in the Finals, missing out on a bronze medal by a point.
Vanguard Cadets would continue to perform for one final time at DCI World Championship Quarterfinals, marking the first time that an organization had achieved the feat of having two drum corps compete in the DCI Quarterfinals program.