As many corps grind out their final days of spring training, Phantom Regiment has already loaded its buses bound for sunny California.
It's been a couple years since the Rockford, Illinois-based group has headed west, and the corps is looking forward to bringing its 2017 production "Phantasm” to life for its “Phans” in the Golden State.
Will Pitts, the corps' brass arranger, is feeling optimistic about this year's production based on how spring training rehearsals have unfolded, despite the corps' time in Illinois ending on Saturday with a rained-out preview performance.
"We have given them an extremely challenging and demanding show to perform, and I think they're handling it really well," Pitts said. "This group has been overwhelmingly interested in getting better, learning, and just being part of the process."
And just like that, after 5 weeks of spring training, the corps is officially on tour! Heading to Nebraska tonight, through Wyoming and Nevada on the way to sunny California. We hope our west coast phans are ready for the 2017 Phantom Regiment!! ❤️Posted by Phantom Regiment on Sunday, June 18, 2017
The corps' fleet of buses and trucks rolled out on Sunday evening from Stillman Valley High School, with rehearsal stops planned in Nebraska, Wyoming and Nevada, before crossing the California border early in the morning on Friday, June 23.
Phantom Regiment is no stranger to touring out west, and has done so more than any other Midwestern corps, eight other times since 2003.
"Phantom loves going out to California because we have a lot of fans out there and they have such great energy," Regiment staff member Lori Valenzuela said.
This year's California trip will be Phantom's first since 2015, when the corps performed it's Parisian-themed production “City of Light.” The corps opened its season that year finishing behind the Blue Devils and Santa Clara Vanguard and ahead of the Blue Knights.
Regiment's West Coast tour schedule will include stops at seven DCI Tour events in California including Clovis (June 23), Sacramento (June 24), Stanford (June 25), Santa Barbara (June 28), Oceanside (June 30), Pasadena (July 1) and Riverside (July 2). The group will complete its round trip back to Illinois by July 7 in time for the annual Show of Shows competition in the corps' hometown of Rockford.
Watch Phantom Regiment perform live in Stanford, California, Saturday, June 25.
After more than a month of all-day rehearsals in the Midwest, Phantom Regiment members will no doubt be looking forward to a change of scenery.
"The weather in California is not as hot as you might think,” Valenzuela added. “It's definitely a plus to doing a West Coast tour.”