12 Corps Of Christmas – 1987 Santa Clara Vanguard

Considering that drum corps is a summer activity, you wouldn’t expect to hear a lot of holiday music from them. Christmas tunes have made some great drum corps moments, however. Here are some of my favorites. It made sense to go with 12 performances, both because of the classic song “The 12 Days Of Christmas” and because DCI Finals features 12 corps.

Unlike Finals, my list of 12 corps is not in any order. Due to recent events, though, my first performance on the list is from the Santa Clara Vanguard. With SCV taking the 2023 season off, my mind turned back to their incredible 1987 show. The opener, Alfred Reed’s Russian Christmas Music, was one of the most impactful drum corps openers in the activity’s history.

The rest of the show kept up that intensity, featuring Rimsky-Korsakov’s Dance Of The Tumblers, Lezghinka and Lullaby from Khachaturian’s Gayne Ballet, and Hut Of Baba Yaga and Great Gate Of Kiev from Mussorgsky’s Pictures At An Exhibition.

It’s amazing that this show finished 2nd by 0.1. It took the Garfield Cadets getting a perfect score in percussion to beat the Vanguard in ‘87. Just like in nature, winter gave way to (Appalachian) spring.


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