Santa Clara Vanguard’s 2014 Production – Scheherazade: Words 2 Live By

Santa Clara Vanguard’s 2014 production, “Scheherazade: Words 2 Live By” tells the stories of 1,001 Nights (Arabian Nights). The main character must tell stories to save her life. In this show, the characters of her stories (genies, warriors, etc.) come to life.


Overall Score: 96.65

General Effect: 37.50

At first, the storyline of this show is hard to decipher. The music played by the front ensemble creates a dream-like atmosphere, but also places the show in the Middle-East. However, as the show progresses, the music, as well as the color guard and forms created by the performers helps tell this show’s story. The second major section of the show is the strongest section in terms of general effect, for it is very clear that this is the time the girl tells the story of the genie. The props backfield, as well as the pillow props used throughout the show add a lot to the story. Overall, the show is very exciting, and tells the story in a very adventurous way.

Visual: 19.80, 19.80, 19.70 – 29.65

Color Guard: The color guard contributes immensely to the success of this show. Their bright flags, coupled with their intricate actions and dances create a Middle-Eastern Fairy Tale atmosphere that makes this show a lot more understandable. In the section mentioned above, the color guard’s blue flags and choreography tell the genie’s story beautifully. Finally, at the conclusion of the show, the color guard’s envelopment of the corps under the bright parachute concludes that the main character has told her stories, and is now safe from harm.

General: Throughout the show, the corps’ forms are almost always clean and precise. The forms add to the Middle-Eastern tone of the show, as the shapes resemble Arabic characters and objects commonly associated with Middle-Eastern Fairy Tales. If you watch closely, you can see the corps form numbers, which I believe signify the last of their wishes being granted by the genie that comes to life. The corps is running through most of the show, so their drill is very difficult. However, some of the easier sets (some straight lines for example) were not as precise as they should have been.

Music: 19.50, 19.50, 20.00 – 29.50

General Music: This show was phenomenal musically. The overall tone of the show did a lot to create a Middle-Eastern setting for the stories to be told. The music was energetic in times of adventure, and peaceful in times where the stories were more dream-like. The final section of music was very mysterious, as to suggest the “To Be Continued…” heard at the end of most stories. There were some points where the ensemble tore, but this happened very rarely.

Hornline: As mentioned several times before, the music creates a Middle-Eastern fairy tale setting that helps tell the story. The hornline plays with a very warm tone throughout the show, despite the incredibly challenging drill, which makes it very pleasing to listen to the show. The hornline also plays with varying dynamics that make the show interesting. They change style from aggressive during the adventurous parts of the show, to soft and light during the dream parts of the show. However, there were some balance issues, and some ensemble tears.

Percussion: The percussion was absolutely incredible. The music being performed fills out the ensemble’s sound so beautifully. The music performed by the front ensemble does so much to create the show’s setting, and the battery’s music adds necessary energy to the show. The performers play so well together. The music being performed is incredibly difficult, and the players play it almost perfectly. There were one or two instances where very slight differences in playing could be heard, but other than that, it was a flawless performance.

2 thoughts on “Santa Clara Vanguard’s 2014 Production – Scheherazade: Words 2 Live By

  1. Caitlyn Marie Edgell

    This is seriously so cool! I love that these drum corps can tell stories through their acting and their music. What amazed me was that you indicated that the formations that the group makes are Arabic characters. I also found it interesting that the group formed into numbers to indicate how many wishes were left. These performances seem so creative, and I can’t imagine the immense preparation that these types of events require. I was wondering if you had any inside knowledge on the preparation that drum corps go through before they do their performances? Is there any particular order that they create the show or put the show together? Great job!

  2. Sarah Danielle Williams

    I thought it was really interesting that a Drum Corps performance could channel the Middle East; band ensembles and the Middle East are two things I would have never imagined coming together! The setting paired with the genie storyline kind of reminded me of Aladdin, too – I wonder if they did this on purpose? You seem to be reviewing a lot of good Drum Corps performances, so I have to wonder: what would a really terrible performance look like? Maybe you could review an awful one for next week to shake things up a little!

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