Rick South

Class of 2015

Rick South

Rick South grew up in Santa Clara, CA, where he still resides to this day. While a clarinet student under Gail Royer he joined the B Corps and learned to play baritone. By season’s end he was a soloist in the corps and then went on to try out for the A Corps for the 1974 season, making the horn line that year.

Rick played baritone in the B Corps in 1973 and followed that up with 6 years in the A Corps (2 as a baritone player and 4 as Drum Major), thriving in the music and marching world. He graduated from Wilcox High School, where he attended high school with many SCV members, and upon graduation, joined the Marching Band at San Jose State University (SJSU) under the direction of Scott Pierson and Bill Nicolosi (both SCV Alumni), playing bass trombone. At SJSU Rick taught both marching and music, and was a part time arranger and soloist while in the band. He graduated with a degree in Music Performance from SJSU.

In 1979 (while still SCV Drum Major), Rick also performed as a baritone soloist for the corps.

Rick became an accomplished arranger and wrote for the SCV B Corps, the SJSU Marching Band, various drum corps in Canada and Scotland, and for many marching bands throughout both the Bay Area and the U.S.

Rick taught the SCV A Corps from 1980-1991, again in 1993, part time in 1996-97, rejoined the A Corps staff during the 2009 and 2010 seasons,  and then taught the SCV Cadet Corps from 2008-2018. 

In 1992 Rick joined fellow horn guru Gordon Henderson (with Tim Salzman arranging) and helped the Cavaliers win their first DCI National Title.

Rick has a total of 9 DCI titles under his belt, 2 as a marching member (1974 & 1978) and then as an instructor in 1981 and 1989.  He instructed the Vanguard Cadets, who were Open Class Champions in 2013, 2015, 2017 and 2018, working alongside fellow SCV alum Steve Barnhill.  During his tenure, the A Corps won two Jim Ott High Brass awards, in 1984 and 1987, working alongside Tim Salzman, Gordon Henderson, Chris Nalls, John Figueira, and Marty Rhees.

Rick is now retired, having taught music for over 30 years in the public school system.  25 of those years were with the Santa Clara Unified School District and 6 years with the San Jose Unified School District. For the last 18 years of his career he taught at Wilcox High School.

Rick continues to be a professional trombone player in the San Jose big band called “19,” along with several SCV & SJSU alumni. Rick also enjoys spending time with his family and grand children.

Rick has been involved in most of the alumni corps projects over the years, where he served as a horn instructor, baritone player and Drum Major – with his biggest thrill coming when he was drum major of the 2017 Vanguard Alumni Corps! 

In his many decades with the Santa Clara Vanguard, Rick has experienced a lifetime of work that he loves and that has provided him with great fulfillment from the activity.  He feels blessed to have been a part of the inspirational and life changing organization that is the Santa Clara Vanguard through the years.

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