The 2002 Vanguard Cadets was comprised of very young members interspersed with veteran members who had marched in the 2000 Vanguard Cadets, the first year they won Division II DCI Finals…
This was also the largest Vanguard Cadet corps to date with approximately 109 marching members. The average age was 16-17 years old; with ages spanning from 13 to 21 years of age. There was a sense of excitement that enveloped the corps, not only from the win in 2000, but also going back to DCI Finals, which took place in Madison, WI, and the celebration of SCV’s 35th anniversary. This excitement could be felt right at the beginning of the season during audition camp at Mission College. This group of new members from 2002 would eventually make up the core group of the 2003 and 2004 Vanguard Cadets.
These corps members are often described as a young group who were “sponges” and receptive to everything that they were taught. The members were enthralled by the traditions and work ethic shown to them by the instructors, who were all Vanguard alumni. They were asked to achieve a lot through a show design that was very challenging both musically and visually. This group of performers rose to the occasion despite some turbulence with visual staffing that season. The third movement, “Timestorm”, is often recalled by members due to its fast pace and non-standard time signatures. At the same time, it is also cited as one of the most fun movements to perform.
The three-week long tour throughout the midwest and east coast was both exhilarating and exhausting. The tour began in Illinois, continued out to Pennsylvania, looped back to Michigan and eventually ended in Wisconsin. Many of the members had never been away from family for that long. In the age of limited cellphones, they were reliant upon long distance phone cards to call home. Without the conveniences of home, they also learned how to wash their laundry at a laundromat. Many members used Walkmans or CD players to listen to music and relied on VHS tape movies for entertainment on long bus rides.
The corps ultimately placed 4th that year. They were competing against other top three corps in Division II (Magic of Orlando, Capital Regiment, and the Mandarins) who were striving to move to Division I for the next competitive season. This meant they were fielding larger and more experienced corps members who had the polish and precision to be more competitive from the start of the season. Despite this, the 2002 Vanguard Cadets were very proud of their accomplishments during the season and have very fond memories from that year.