Photo courtesy of the Los Angeles Philharmonic
West Coast drum corps fans got a special treat this summer when the Santa Clara Vanguard (SCV), Vanguard Cadets and Pacific Crest Drum and Bugle Corps performed alongside the Los Angeles Philharmonic at its annual Tchaikovsky Spectacular, complete with fireworks finale, at the Hollywood Bowl.
The corps combined to create a group of more than 160 brass, percussion and color guard members to perform as a single unit—but still wearing their own uniforms.
“Drum and bugle corps are stylized, unique, highly entertaining groups that play at an extremely high proficiency level,” says Meghan Martineau, LA Phil artistic administrator. “There is a great tradition of corps in this country. Brass and percussion are integral parts of Tchaikovsky’s music, so we thought that corps would be a perfect pairing to include in our Tchaikovsky Spectacular.”
Since 1982 the Tchaikovsky Spectacular has featured the University of Southern California (USC) Trojan Marching Band, but the LA Phil went a different route this year. “We are constantly looking for exciting groups to partner with, and we thought the corps would provide our audience a fresh perspective on our traditional Tchaikovsky Spectacular,” Martineau says. “The USC band will be back to participate in the Tchaikovsky Spectacular in future seasons.”
This performance was the first time for both groups and the first known appearance by a Drum Corps International ensemble at the Hollywood Bowl or with the LA Phil as well as the first time SCV has performed with a major orchestra. Pacific Crest performed with the Dallas Brass a few years ago.
“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to perform on a stage known around the world with one of the world’s finest orchestras,” says Stuart Pompel, executive director of Pacific Crest Youth Arts Organization.
The corps hope that the performance entertained and educated audience members who may not have been aware of the drum corps activity. “We hope they took away that orchestral/classical music is not dead in this generation of youth,” says Charles Frost, Santa Clara Vanguard tour director. “There are still many great musicians and performers in this generation of young people, and they—along with the arts—still need support.”