The Rockford Area Music Industry organization awarded the Phantom Regiment an "Outstanding Achievement Award" at its annual awards banquet, held recently at the Tebala Shrine auditorium in Rockford. This is the second time in three years that the corps has received this award. Known as "RAMI", the annual event recognizes local musicians and gives out awards in such diverse categories as "best cover band," "best acoustic act" and "best hard rock act." According to a RAMI spokesperson, this particular award is given to a musical group or organization that brings national or international acclaim to the Rockford-area music scene. Rockford is a metropolitan area of approximately 200,000 and is situated 85 miles northwest of Chicago. Though ranked as the second largest city in Illinois, the area music scene depends on Chicago and national touring acts to keep its clubs and auditoriums booked. Therefore, the RAMI organization works to promote local musicians by creating a networking system and a sense of community. Rockford is known in the drum corps scene as the home of the Phantom Regiment. In the rock and roll world, Rockford may be best known as the home to Cheap Trick, a popular group from the 1970s now enjoying a resurgence in popularity (in fact, they are the musicians performing the theme for "That 70s Show" on network TV). All four band members still make their homes in Rockford and are quite active in the community. The Phantom Regiment and Cheap Trick have crossed paths and share some commonalities. Several years ago the corps had a segment of drummers -- actually a combined group of Phantom Regiment and Phantom Legion members -- appear on a Cheap Trick CD, and Cheap Trick drummer Bun E. Carlos is a long-time Ludwig endorser. How's that tie to the Regiment? Simple: Ludwig is owned by Conn-Selmer, which also owns King brass instruments, which Phantom Regiment plays exclusively as an endorser. So there you are -- rock and roll meets drum corps in the Rock River Valley!
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