Vanguard Music and Performing Arts (VMAPA), parent organization of the world champion Vanguard and Vanguard Cadets Drum and Bugle Corps, based in Santa Clara, California, today announced that neither the Vanguard nor the Vanguard Cadets will travel or perform across the country this summer. The decision corresponds with the cancellation of the 2020 Drum Corps International summer tour due to health and safety concerns associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.
“No one wanted to cancel the summer tour, but after many discussions with our Vanguard and Vanguard Cadets leadership, medical teams, program directors and our board of directors trying to create a possible path forward it became apparent that this was the right action to take,” said Brett Bernardini, Executive Director, VMAPA.
Vanguard, located in one of the hardest-hit counties in California in terms of COVID-19 cases, has been under a shelter-in-place order since March 16, 2020. The disruption has cancelled rehearsals and led to the closing of Vanguard’s bingo hall, a primary funding source for the 300-member organization that draws young performers from around the world to participate in a highly competitive summer tour.
“For a couple of weeks there had been discussions between various corps about what other groups were thinking and whether or not they felt that the summer tour was an option,” said Vanguard Director, Ivan De La Cruz. “Those discussions grew into larger Drum Corps International (DCI) membership discussions, and despite many options on the table – including a shortened DCI summer tour – there was no way to advance a summer tour with any assurance that we could keep our members, staff and volunteers safe and healthy.”
“DCI helped us all out by deciding to announce there would be no summer tour,” said Vanguard Cadets Director, Rafael Bretado. “They saw the same facts we saw. In the end, it was the only option that guaranteed the health and well-being of everyone involved.”
Bernardini noted that this decision will have a tremendous impact on members, staff and volunteers. His leadership team will directly contact members regarding next steps and to share as much information as possible about future plans. Meanwhile, the organization is asking its membership to adhere to CDC recommendations to limit travel, enforce social distancing and self-quarantine until directed otherwise.
Despite the fact that the 2020 tour is cancelled, planning for 2021 moves forward. “We know that these measures are disappointing, but better days are ahead,” said VMAPA Board Chair, Laura Norris. “The Vanguard organization is in uncharted territory trying to navigate this period of uncertainty, and we prioritize the health and safety of our members, staff and volunteers. At the same time, our eyes are focused on the future, and once it is safe to proceed we will move forward with confidence and excitement in planning for 2021 and beyond.”
“As Vanguard Music and Performing Arts looks towards the future, we continue to explore new opportunities that we can offer our community and region,” said Bernardini. “All options are on the table from online learning opportunities, how we can support area school and nonprofit arts programs, even how we can utilize our mobile food kitchen. We believe in the South Bay – especially our home, Santa Clara – and continue to look for opportunities in which we can support residents, businesses, schools and organizations in this difficult time and beyond.”