Junior Bryan Bass ready for summer with the Santa Clara Vanguard Drum and Bugle Corps
April 20, 2017
For many college students, summer brings a welcome respite from study and activity. For junior music education major Bryan Bass, summer means 12-hour marching rehearsals, a 35-date cross-country performance tour and living and breathing drum corps with the Santa Clara Vanguard.
What made you want to join a drum corps?
Drum corps shows are not only full of incredibly difficult physical and musical content, which is executed with unbelievable precision, but they are also so full of energy, emotion, and in the Vanguard's case, elegance and class. This was an art form that although I didn't fully understand it, I admired it so very much and desperately wanted to be a part of it.
Why did you choose the Santa Clara Vanguard?
The Vanguard has always stood out among the other corps. With their unique uniforms, distinct marching style, crisp and clean visuals, magical music arrangements, and a general aura to them that is so standalone, the Santa Clara Vanguard has always carried their own unique identity, and they've do it with such confidence. That sense of mystery and uniqueness is what ultimately led me to audition. and I haven't regretted it in the slightest.
You play french horn at UTA, what do you play in drum corps?
Can you tell us about a typical yearly schedule with SCV?
The season begins in late November with audition camps. If you advance from the satellite audition, you attend the callback camp in California in the month of January. If you secure a spot in the corps, you will most likely have one 3-day camp a month, taking place from Friday evening to early Sunday afternoon. Then, in late May, most corps have "move-ins" wherein the corps rehearses in a fixed location(s) for roughly 5 weeks straight of 12 hour rehearsals. This is often referred to as "spring training." Once spring training is finished in early June, the corps begin to tour the country, performing and competing in shows all over the U.S. Santa Clara's tour always spans coast-to-coast. The "tour" portion of the season goes until early August and spans about 35 shows (world class), until the culmination of the entire season, the World Championships in Indianapolis, Indiana. After competing in finals, members fly home the following morning and assume their daily lives once again, as the design staff almost immediately begins preparations for the next season's production.
What do you enjoy the most about being in SCV?
SCV has always had a strong emphasis on tradition, which is something I am very fond of. From the iconic aussie and feather, the silver star over the heart, the horn snaps so powerful they can be felt in your very soul, to the strong emphasis on carrying ourselves with class and respect, the way of the Vanguard is very much in sync with the image and ideals I desire for myself.
What do you like least about drum corps life? The 3-month disconnect from family, friends, and society, can be very hard. Although that has been dramatically alleviated by technology and social media over the years, members still have to learn to deal with a feeling of isolation from the people and things they've grown up with and loved. Luckily, we get to come back to it all as soon as finals are over.
What are your future career plans?
My current plan is to teach high school band. I would love to stay in Texas, but I am willing to go wherever I feel the Lord wants me to.
How do you feel that being in a drum corps will help you in life? In your future career? Drum corps has drilled into me a work ethic and an organizational skill set that I intend to carry into every aspect of my life. It also teaches you to be understanding and respectful of all kinds of people, considering you have to spend 3 months in close quarters with them. Drum corps is hard, but so is real life, and that is an ideal promoted very strongly by the administration at Santa Clara. The little things that we do in drum corps to make us successful are often the very same things that will make us successful in the real world.
How many more years do you plan on participating in drum corps? This is my third and final year participating in DCI. I am "aging out" after this season.
How has being in drum corps helped in your studies at UTA?
The work ethic I've learned to adopt in order to adapt to and thrive under the vigorous circumstances of every day life in drum corps is something I can translate directly into my studies and other disciplines to achieve the same level of success.