Charlie Anderson

Class of 2015

Charlie Anderson

Charlie “Chaz” Anderson grew up in Santa Clara, just down the street from Jefferson Middle School, the birthplace of the Santa Clara Vanguard. He was first introduced to drum corps by his best friend at Wilcox High School, Tim Kelly. Having attended Jefferson Middle School, Tim knew about drum corps because his music teacher had been Gail Royer. Charlie became a frequent guest at Tim’s house where they would spend hours listening at full volume to early recordings of Drum Corps competitions. Eager to join, their first obstacle was that Charlie played the clarinet. Fortunately, Tim was able to teach him to play a horn. In 1969, they joined the Vanguard, and in Charlie’s own words, “I became a proud 3rd soprano thru-n-thru”.
In his rookie year, Charlie was bestowed the responsibility for the performance of the traditional “Chicken Call” from senior member, Dan Pritchard. This was an honor and privilege as this “call to arms” preceded every performance whether it be in a gymnasium to support the competitive color guard or on the starting line for field competitions. In those early days, once the corps was introduced and asked to take the field, a hush would come over the audience as they waited in anticipation for the SCV “Chicken Call”. No one except the members knew who performed it. But everyone knew that once they heard it, the members were ready to compete! Charlie regularly performed this tradition at every SCV competitive event until 1974, his age-out year, leaving the membership ranks as an American Legion National Champion (1970); a VFW National Champion (1971) and a two time DCI Champion (1973 and 1974). Charlie, now dubbed “Chaz” by Pete Emmons, worked as part of the M&M Execution instructional staff from the winter of 1975 through the 1987 season. This was a very special time in Chaz’s life and in his own words, “I had the honor of working the M&M Caption until 1979 with Gary Moyer. Gary was my work mate, best friend and brother. After 1979, I continued to work M&M at SCV with Jerry Ferrell, Guy Smith, Bob Callahan, David Owens, Myron Rosander and Michael Zapanta. All of us under the incredible leadership of my friend and mentor, Pete Emmons. I will be forever grateful to Pete who believed in me enough to give me a chance to become… ‘Somebody’. Without Pete, there would be no ‘Chaz’ …. A great big thank you to Pete and all my instructor friends!”
Later during his time on the instructional staff, Chaz developed his own role as a late night story teller. His stories were told in the times of quiet reflection for the members as they settled in for the night. Chaz’s stories were motivational in nature. It was understood that hard work, dedication, commitment and perseverance were essential to success, but with the Vanguard, members also built a strong commitment of believing in each other. To this end, the late night stories were well received and enjoyed. When asked which one he felt was particularly liked, the one that came to mind was “The Little Man in the Hat”. In later years, when asked to reflect on his SCV experience for the 25th Anniversary Commemorative Edition, Charlie sent to Editor Gloria Flores, a letter that included the following: “If words are the vehicles that carry ideas then the words I choose to say to everyone who has been a part of my growing are thank you from the bottom of my heart for all that you have given to me and made of me. May God bless and keep us all. I know the little man in the hat, and me, will always savor the moments!”
In 1988, Chaz was asked by the Star of Indiana Program Coordinator, to join the organization as the M&M Execution Caption Head to develop their M&M program to match the excellence of the other three Captions. Chaz’s approach was well received, and his techniques assisted in building a strong foundation for the Corps to continue to improve on and eventually win their first DCI National Championship in 1991.
In 1989, Chaz was asked to join the Sacramento Freelancers as the Corps Manager and M&M Execution Caption Head. Despite the ups and downs inherent in competition, the hard work and dedication of the Freelancer Staff and Members was remarkable and will always be a cherished memory and lifelong friendships for him. Chaz continued to work with the Freelancers until the end of the 1994 season. In 1984, Chaz married his long time sweetheart, Donna, and one year later became the proud father of twin boys, Aaron and Zachary. Wanting to spend more time with his family, Chaz made the decision to become a Construction Inspector for The Road Work Division of Sacramento County in 1995. When asked to comment on his SCV experience, Chaz shared that “I will be forever grateful to the Members, and my friends on Staff, for the support and uplifting you gave me throughout my years in SCV. This Hall of Fame honor is because all of you were there for me. I loved every minute!”

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