SCV History and Fun Facts

The Santa Clara Vanguard (SCV) Drum & Bugle Corps was formed in 1967 in Santa Clara, California. The entire SCV organization strives to create a positive atmosphere where young people can grow and mature into responsible young adults; succeeding both as individuals and as members of a tightly woven group. Over the years, the Santa Clara Vanguard has developed a long-standing reputation for dignity and excellence.

SCV has the distinction of being the only organization to be a finalist in Drum Corps International (DCI) World Championships since the inception of DCI in 1972. We were the first organization in Drum Corps International (DCI) history to have a World Class and Open Class Champion; along with being the first organization to have a World Class and Open Class (formerly Division II) corps in the elite Top 17 (Semifinals) of DCI World Championship competitions. The SCV organization has two competitive drum and bugle corps, the Vanguard and the Vanguard Cadets, the Vanguard Winter Guard, Winter Percussion and Community Arts Program.

To inspire communities and enrich lives by increasing opportunities for participation, education, and excellence in the performing arts.

Championship Titles

  • 1970 – American Legion Champions (Portland, OR)
  • 1971 – Veterans of Foreign War Champions (Dallas, TX)
  • 1973 – DCI World Champions (Whitewater, WI)
  • 1974 – DCI World Champions (Ithaca, NY)
  • 1978 – DCI World Champions (Denver, CO)
  • 1981 – DCI World Champions (Montreal, QC)
  • 1989 – DCI World Champions (Kansas City, MO)
  • 1999 – DCI World Champions (Madison, WI)
  • 2018 – DCI World Champions (Indianapolis, IN)
  • 2000 – DCI Division II Champions (College Park, MD)
  • 2008 – DCI Open Class Champions (Bloomington, IN)
  • 2013 – DCI Open Class Champions (Michigan City, IN)
  • 2015 – DCI Open Class Champions (Michigan City, IN)
  • 2017 – DCI Open Class Champions (Michigan City, IN)
  • 2018 – DCI Open Class Champions (Michigan City, IN)
  • 2009 – WGI Color Guard World Champions (Dayton, OH)
  • 2011 – WGI Color Guard World Champions (Dayton, OH)
  • 2015 – WGI Color Guard World Champions (Dayton, OH)
  • 2011 – WGI Percussion Open Class Champions (Dayton, OH)


Vanguard is defined by Webster’s Dictionary as “the foremost or leading position in a trend or movement” and “the foremost position in an army or fleet advancing into battle”.

The founding Executive Director of the Santa Clara Vanguard was Mr. Gail R. Royer, from 1967 through 1992.

Vanguard’s corps song is Stephen Sondheim’s Send In The Clowns from the musical “A Little Night Music.” The corps first performed the song as part of their musical program in 1974, the year SCV won its second DCI World Championship.

The organization has been visually distinctive by the wearing of an Aussie hat as part of the uniform. The origin of the Aussie is from the Australian Army who pushed up the side of the brim so their rifles could be carried. The Aussie hat has become a symbol of pride, which is carried and worn by members with respect.

The Vanguard Star is an eight-pointed star that has been a corps symbol since 1972. All brass players and drummers, except contra players and bass drummers wear the star over the heart. Contra players wear the star centered on their chest to avoid damage from horn movements and bass drummers wear the star low on the left side of their tunics. The stars are kept as mementos and placed on the corps jacket upon graduating from the corps.

1795 Space Park Dr, Santa Clara, CA 95054    (408) 727-5532