From rehearsing with the Santa Clara Vanguard drumline in Weed, CA with the views of Mount Shasta in the distance to now performing in a nationally acclaimed Broadway production in New York City – SCV alum Jordan Brooks is carving his path in the music industry.
A Dallas, Texas native, Jordan attended Berklee College of Music where he double majored in Percussion Performance and Contemporary Writing and Production. He later went on to receive his master’s degree in Percussion Performance at New York University. In 2012, Jordan came to the Santa Clara Vanguard as a tenor drum transfer from the Blue Knights of Denver, CO. The next year he served as tenor section leader within the drumline and went on to receive the Mike Laporta Percussion Award before aging out at the end of the summer.
Now living in New York City, Jordan is utilizing all of his training and experience with the
Santa Clara Vanguard as a full-time performer in the international percussion sensation: STOMP. In the show, Jordan and seven other cast members use everyday items like brooms, buckets, pipes, matches and shopping carts to create music and rhythm while delivering a wildly entertaining theatrical experience. It’s a production he has been part of since auditioning in July of 2016.
“The show requires a lot of movement, dance, acting and drumming,” he says. “I transcribed some of the routines from the show before the audition, and luckily showed the directors enough of my personality and stage presence to make it through all three rounds of the audition … None of the show is written down, so we learned it by rote, a couple counts at a time.”
Jordan says his experience marching with Vanguard helped him understand how to separate choreography and music for STOMP – similar to the way the drum corps moves around on the field during a performance. “It is a huge skillset that prepared me for performing on stage in STOMP. They have other cast members that have had drum corps experience and they value the skills that come with it. Being part of Vanguard was definitely seen as an asset to their show.”
When not performing on Broadway, Jordan is a freelance drummer and recording engineer who makes music with his folk-rock-rap band, Robbing Johnny, and in smaller musical productions including “The SymphoNYChorus” and the upcoming musical, “The Talented Mr. Ripley”.
Apart from musicianship skills, in his two years marching with The Vanguard, Jordan says he also learned the values of time management, teamwork and how to be selfless and hardworking – noting Paul Rennick, SCV Percussion Arranger and Caption Head, as his most influential teacher.
“Some of the greatest things I learned came from his teaching,” he says. “Things like the three rules of drumming: don’t come in early, don’t overplay and don’t overthink the second rule. The main things that I learned from him are about performance psychology: how an audience judges a performance in the first 15 seconds, how to perform the way you practice, how to perform consistently under pressure. These are things that I reflect on every time I perform.”
Jordan says one of the best things about being part of Vanguard is the active alumni community and knowing there are people he can reach out to for help wherever he goes. “Vanguard is a family,” he says, “no matter what year you marched or taught or volunteered. It’s incredible to see the connections web through such a huge network.”
Jordan, who recorded and produced the last “SymphoNYChorus” album, performs in STOMP a minimum of six nights a week. Just this month, Robbing Johnny, who completed their first tour in May, has just released their debut album across all streaming platforms. Check it out here !
(Article by Melissa McKenzie)