And I'm back! I know, I know, it's been a while, but better late than never, right?

Lanah Kopplin

It's been a very busy past couple of weeks. The snare drum and drum major camps have come and gone, spring training is finally over, and we've finally hit the road. But before I get too carried away, let's review some of the highlights of my ageout season thus far:

Drum major camp: At the end of camp, one lucky conductor is given the opportunity to stand in front of the Phantom Regiment horn line and conduct the corps' signature piece. This year, the conductor was a young man from Illinois. Seeing the smile on his face (that grew ever larger as we made our way through "Elsa's Procession to the Cathedral") really reminded me of why I love this activity so much. I got to witness the power of music, firsthand. All I did was play a few notes, but the effect that we had on him is something that I'm sure we'll all remember for some time. He was, by the way, and excellent conductor, and I hope to see him at auditions in November.

Concert in the Park: Every year, Sinnissippi Park holds a "Concert in the Park" summer series, which Phantom Regiment is lucky enough to kick off. Already a special even for the members, this year brought an added bonus: The Boston Brass. These guys are absolutely phenomenal. It was humbling to stand on the same stage as them, and inspiring to perform WITH them. Yes, I can proudly
proclaim that I have performed with the Boston Brass. Needless to say, the concert was a huge success. It was the first opportunity for my parents to hear what I'd been working on, and they both loved it. My mom also used it as an opportunity to meet all of Boston Brass (through me, of course), who are some of the coolest (and nicest) guys I've ever met. It's too bad that our concert in
San Antonio was cancelled, because I would love to perform with them again.

Dress rehearsal: This day is our first official "public performance" of our field show. The day is run just like a typical show day, and is designed to help new members learn how to manage their time on Phantom Regiment's schedule. It's also an opportunity to see and feel what the show is like in uniform, under the lights, with people watching. We did two performances that night -- one to "get the kinks out," and a second one to really get comfortable and perform. Once again the night was a success -- both run-throughs were as good as we could have hoped them to be, and the crowd certainly let us know it.

Special Olympics: This day was one of my favorite memories from 2003, and 2005 certainly didn't let me down. It really was an honor to perform at the opening ceremonies for this special event. The crowd was absolutely amazing, and I'm surprised that I didn't get blinded by all of the camera flashes. I hope that the corps continues to foster this relationship with the Special Olympics committee, because it's an opportunity that I hope many more people can experience.

Show of Shows: After four years, I've finally performed at my last Show of Shows. Of course, my streak continues as once again, my name was mispronounced. This was the first time that I've ever really experienced the "ageout" feel. It's hard to imagine that this time next year, I won't be on the field. From now on, when I go to Show of Shows, it will only be as a spectator. All of the special moments of the night are now left to the future members of this corps.

A whole lot more has happened since then, but I honestly don't have time to type it up at the moment. But fear not, my friends, for I have not left you. I will return, somehow, some way. Until then, enjoy the show! Lanah Kopplin is a third-year euphonium player in the Phantom Regiment, and previously spent a year with the Pioneer. Lanah recently graduated from the University of Wisconsin (she's a Milwaukee native) with a political science degree, and will age out in 2005.