A virtual event which has become an annual staple of Phantom Regiment’s pre-summer preparations, “Phan-A-Thon” once again served as a way to rouse fans out of their off-season slumber and get them excited about the summer season ahead.
The live, day-long program featured historical look-backs and interviews with key faces across the Rockford organization, and it included the reveal of many exciting details about the corps’ 2023 production.
Phantom Regiment didn’t take long — only about an hour or so from the start of its Phan-A-Thon event — to reveal their 2023 production.
“Exogenesis,” the title of the corps’ 2023 program, will be inspired by the scientific hypothesis of the same name which supposes that life originated in a different place before ultimately being moved onto Earth.
“What we’ll be seeing is this abstract representation of that entire process from start to finish,” Regiment visual director Steven Estudillo said. “We’re very excited to explore some modern movement, some contemporary movement that may be a little more obscure than what you’ve seen in the past — in a good way.”
According to program supervisor Tony Hall, “Exogenesis” provides Regiment the chance to explore new styles of music and movement, without straying from the most prominent characteristics of its lasting, iconic image.
“Being on the inside, I can safely say that, although we’re exploring these new opportunities for the Phantom Regiment, everything we’ve done — from the uniform, to the music selections, to the way we’re going to move on the field — is on-brand for Phantom Regiment,” he said. “We haven’t strayed, yet we’ve opened up the door to some new opportunities for us.”
2. Finding new muses
One of the many aspects of Phantom Regiment’s 2023 production that displays a modernized trajectory is the corps’ list of music selections.
While several items on Regiment’s repertoire align with the corps’ recognizable symphonic style — Oliver Waespi’s “As if a Voice Were in Them,” Sergei Rachmaninoff’s “Piano Concerto No. 2” and Stephen Melillo’s “For I have Fought the Good Fight” — the inclusion of two songs by the English rock band, Muse, certainly turn heads.
“This is a little different for the Phantom Regiment, moving to alternative rock,” Hall said. “But it so fits into the theme, ‘Exogenesis.’”
“The 2nd Law: Isolated System,” and “Supremacy,” both off of Muse’s 2012 Album, “The 2nd Law,” mark a unique change in sound for the Rockford corps. Just a small handful of corps in recent DCI history have attempted to incorporate Muse songs in their repertoire.
“I sometimes think of Regiment, it’s more symphonic, or even epic,” brass arranger J.D. Shaw said. “So, I think that opens up other genres of music to explore, as well.”
3. Bringing back the gold
In partnership with Fred J. Miller, Inc. (FJM), Phantom Regiment was ecstatic for the reveal of its 2023 corps costuming.
Along the same lines of many of the Rockford corps’ well-known uniform looks, the base color of Regiment’s corps-proper jacket, pants and shoes for the 2023 season is white. However, the costume features added textures of black and gold, as well as tall, pointed, gold headgear. Color guard members will don all-black costumes, with accents of teal and gold.
Fans may remember Regiment uniforms featuring gold accents as part of the corps’ 2015 “City of Light production.”
“We’ve got to be strange, and exotic, and unusual, and unique,” added FJM principal designer Michael Cesario. “And at the same time, we have to do that within the Regiment aesthetic.”
4. Celebrating 70
Taking cues from the 50th-anniversary performances of Santa Clara Vanguard (2017) and Bluecoats (2022, Phantom Regiment became the latest organization to announce plans for a celebratory alumni corps to perform at the DCI World Championships.
The Rockford corps, founded in 1956, will ring in 70 years during the 2026 DCI Tour, and has the wheels in motion to bring together former corps members in honor of its platinum anniversary.
Proud to announce our 70th-anniversary Alumni Corps will be performing during the 2026 Drum Corps International World...Posted by Phantom Regiment on Saturday, May 13, 2023
“We would like to share the power, passion and tradition of the Phantom Regiment with the drum corps community,” said Jay Emmert who will serve as director of the alumni corps. “I promise that all alumni will gain an unforgettable experience as we share the rich history of Phantom Regiment.”
For more information, drum corps fans are invited to follow along with the Phantom Regiment Alumni Association page on Facebook.
Phan-A-Thon serves as an important annual fundraiser for the Phantom Regiment. To date they’ve raised more than $52,000 of their $75,000 goal.
Learn more about the campaign and make a contribution today