Trophies are named for legends. Hockey has the Stanley Cup. In Baseball it’s the Cy Young Award. For Drum Corps the holy grail is called the Fred Sanford Trophy, and that is how it should be, though Fred Sanford was no “garden variety” legend.
The Troopers issued a wake-up call when they came east for the World Open in ’64. Fred was in the tenor line. He was 17. One year later he was teaching the Anaheim Kingsmen, still marching with Casper until his age-out season, subsequently relocating to CA to study with famed SF Symphony percussionist, Tony Cirone, and signing on to teach the drumline of an upstart unit called the Santa Clara Vanguard. During his tenure they would win 52 consecutive high drum awards in DCI competitions and carry home the DCI Nationals percussion title in ’73, ’74, ’75, ’78 and ’79.
The Garfield Cadets, Crossmen, Madison Scouts, Blue Devils, and the world-renowned Alberta Girls also had the benefit of Fred’s expertise, as did the Bergenfield School district during the Dr. Bernard Baggs/Donald Angelica era. Fred’s influence became world-wide when major drum companies like Ludwig, Slingerland and Yamaha competed for his services and endorsements, sending him on international clinic tours.
Fred coordinated all percussion events for the 1984 LA Olympics and directed the Yamaha Sounds of Summer camps which served over 10, 000 students. He was inducted into both the DCI and Percussive Arts Society Halls of Fame, joining many other extraordinary drummers, some of whom were his students. Fred Sanford is no ordinary legend.