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Sometimes loud is loud

Who doesn’t love a marching band — the uniforms, the precision formations, the wall of sound? Well, for starters, plenty of people who live within earshot of the band’s rehearsals, especially when those practice sessions run from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. six days a week for three weeks.

When the band in question is a world-renowned drum and bugle corps that routinely wins international competitions, the noise level goes up — several notches.

The Santa Clara Vanguard, which held a rehearsal camp at Southern Oregon University’s Raider Stadium last spring, decided not to return this year when city officials, police and SOU informed the group it would have to abide by the city’s noise ordinance. Some residents expressed disappointment, saying they would miss the daily practices. But enough Ashlanders complained that the city felt the need to address the concerns.

This is not the first time the Vanguard has run into noise problems. A 2009 story on SFGate, the San Francisco Chronicle’s website, reported, “After the third visit from the Atherton police, the Santa Clara Vanguard Drum & Bugle Corps decided it would have to split up its outdoor rehearsal at Menlo College.”

A corps member at the time said in the article that the 150-member band was louder than college marching bands that can number 300 to 400. “It’s blisteringly loud,” he said.

Neighbors of Raider Stadium can vouch for that.

It may be that the group can make changes and come back next year, but don’t hold your breath.