Rick Valenzuela started his involvement in the drum and bugle corps activity with the Santa Clara Vanguard in 1983 where he was a soprano player. He marched in 1983, 1984, 1986, 1987 and 1989. After aging out in 1989, Rick joined the SCV visual staff in 1990. He became the lead visual instructor in 1992. After a two-year hiatus, Rick rejoined the SCV staff in 1996. He became the assistant visual caption head in 1998.
Rick also began teaching high school marching band in 1989. Some of the high schools he taught were Independence High School in San Jose, CA; Gilroy High School in Gilroy, CA; Amador High School in Pleasanton, CA; and James Logan High School in Union City, CA.
Rick was under the guidance and direction of his mentor and SCV founder Gail Royer for 8 years during Rick's marching and teaching career with SCV. In 2000, Rick became only the fourth director of the Santa Clara Vanguard in its 35-year history where he stayed until 2005 when he stepped down to concentrate on his fulltime job. During his tenure, he served on Drum Corps International's Board of Directors from 2000 - 2005, and the Drum Corps International Executive Committee from 2001 - 2005. In 2002, Rick was voted as the "Director of the Year" by his peers.
Rick earned his Bachelor of Science in Marketing and a minor in Advertising from San Jose State University in 1991. While Rick was teaching and directing the Vanguard, he worked fulltime for LLT, Inc as the Controller and MIS Manager.
In November 2005, Rick joined Phantom Regiment as the Director of Development and Special Projects. In November 2006, Rick was appointed Executive Director. Rick continued to serve on the Board of Directors for Drum Corps International 2008 – 2010 and 2014 – 2017. In 2018, Rick was voted by his peers to be chairman-elect of the DCI Voting Membership. He was voting membership chairman in 2019 until he retired from Phantom Regiment.
In January 2020, Rick joined System Blue as Vice President of Education and Special Projects. In this new role, Rick will be working closely with the System Blue education team to build new educational programs and experiences for the marching arts, as well as bring his 30 + years of experience in the world of pageantry to other special projects.