My apprehension was all for naught. Phantom Regiment's March camp has come and gone, and I am still standing, knee-brace free. There's something special about the 2005 Phantom Regiment. This is the oldest, most talented corps that I've seen in my four years of experience here. It's also the hardest-working -- no one is willing to give anything less than 110 percent. Take, for example, five-year veteran and mellophone section leader Vanessa Wojak. Even though a recent knee surgery left her in crutches, she still came to camp and participated in every possible minute of rehearsal. On Friday night, she stood with us in horn arc for all four hours! Now that's dedication. When our leaders are setting a standard like that, there's no telling where this corps will go.

Lanah Kopplin
This camp was my first opportunity to experience drill "Jamey Thompson-style." I am going to be one skinny Lanah by the time this is all over! He certainly has us moving around the field. By the end of Saturday night we were able to perform two complete visual run-throughs of the opener. I'm glad that we didn't have to perform it for a third time, or else I would have collapsed from exhaustion! It certainly wasn't an issue falling asleep that night! On Sunday, we put the music and the drill together, and performed three -- yes, that's right, three -- full runs of the opener. In a row. I really didn't know how I was going to get through it all, but somehow I survived -- although my legs are certainly still mad at me for that. I definitely need to step up my off-season workout routine -- we learned 30 charts this weekend, and Jamey promised us 150 by the time he's done with the show. If this weekend was a true indication of anything, expect great things to come out of Rockford this summer. Every run-through was better than the last. Staff is starting on concepts that usually don't begin until midway through the summer. The membership is very quickly becoming one large family. We've raised our standards and set very high expectations, and we will not stop until we exceed them. Get ready, because we're coming. I'm starting to get that "ageout" feel. As we stood in our first set, I thoughtabout how this was the last drill that I would ever learn. This was my last chance to get one of the "good" drill spots -- the ones that are easily pointed out, or are likely to experience lots of camera time. I was more than pleasantly surprised to find myself on the 50-yard line for our first hit. Let's hope it stays that way. Every ageout likes to end his career in the best of circumstances, and I am increasingly confident that I will not end mine asking "What if?" We're ready to give it everything we have, and if that's not enough, we'll give some more. The rest of the membership is with us. The staff is with us. The support staff is with us. Phantom Regiment is firing on all cylinders, and I'm so glad to be a part of it. SUTA!
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.