ROCKFORD, Ill. — Tuesday night at Sinnissippi Park wasn’t Phantom Regiment’s first time getting to play through the entirety of its 2019 production. It probably wasn’t even close to the first time.

But this run-through is different, as is often the case.

It’s finally a performance. Passages of music aren’t met with instructor commentary, they’re met with applause. Corps members aren’t wearing baseball caps and gym shorts, they’re wearing crisp new uniforms.

Each year, when the Rockford corps takes the stage at its annual preseason Concert in the Park event, the season finally starts to feel real.

“Having our first real performance is super vital to our motivation and push-through, especially this time of year,” second-year drum major Claire Wilcox said. “Having that chance to actually perform in front of a crowd, especially a home crowd like in the Rockford area, which loves us and has for a long time, is really special.”

Phantom RegimentPhantom Regiment performs at its 2019 Concert in the Park

While the brass and percussion sections get their opportunity to debut what they’ll be bringing to the table at the yearly event, the concert provides an opportunity for color guard members to take the night off.

According to color guard captain Hannah Reese, Tuesday allowed the section to take care of laundry, pick up necessities at Walmart, and get dressed up for the evening performance.

“We’re really enjoying starting to dig into the show and our character and our story and what we’re doing this year, but it’s really nice to have a break and feel like a real human for a night,” she said. “You can kind of forget about that when you’re rehearsing all day every day. So, it’s really exciting, especially for the color guard.”

Reese also mentioned that the concert provides color guard members with the opportunity to really soak in the musical side of their corps’ production. Not having to worry about their own performance responsibilities, they’re able to sit back and listen to what the brass and percussion have in store.

With that in mind, Tuesday was Phantom Regiment’s first chance to put the musical side of its 2019 program, “I Am Joan,” on display, and the concept behind it is nothing short of intriguing. The show features exciting music by the likes of Thirty Seconds to Mars and Two Steps from Hell, as well as a corps staple, Shostakovich’s “The Fire of Eternal Glory,” which had a starring role in the group’s 1993 production.

Hinging on a thought-provoking quote, “Sometimes when you are willing to stand alone, the whole world will listen,” the production spreads a message of empowerment and equality through the lens of the Joan of Arc story.

“Amongst the corps members, this year’s show is really special to us,” Wilcox said. “I think it carries a lot of meaning for every individual, male or female. Our show is really about empowering women, but it’s more than just that, it’s about coming together as a unit and making a change that we feel is needed in society.”

As such, the corps’ multi-faceted array of uniforms fits well with the character it aims to portray. While the brass and percussion featured an all-black uniform in Tuesday night’s performance, the show will also feature a uniform change to a less traditional costume.

Now with an “exhibition game” of sorts under its belt, Phantom Regiment is primed and ready to take its show on the road. In just a week’s time, the corps will become the first to perform as part of the 2019 tour, as it leads off Thursday’s DCI Tour Premiere pres. by DeMoulin Bros. & Co. at Ford Field in Detroit.

“The show has something for everyone,” Reese said. “There’s powerful ballads, there’s aggression, there’s beauty, there’s grit, and I think that’s something that’s really special about Regiment is we always give a good mix of everything and it’s definitely in this show.”

View Phantom Regiment’s 2019 DCI Tour schedule