Phantom Regiment performed across California in 2011.
As the 2012 Drum Corps International Tour schedule nears completion, corps are beginning to make their travel, rehearsal and competitive plans for next summer. Among the highlights of the West Coast schedule that will help kick off the 2012 DCI Tour in June, will be appearances by Phantom Regiment and the Boston Crusaders. This will be a repeat trip for Regiment members who spent two weeks out west in 2011, including performances across California. "We made our first trip there since 2008 last summer, and we're very glad we did!" said Phantom Regiment Executive Director Rick Valenzuela. "Every show we went to had great crowds and even a few sellouts. The response and support we received from fans was tremendous." Though Valenzuela hopes this back-to-back trip to the Pacific will help solidify a presence for the Regiment in the west — he says his organization sees a rise in audition registrants from western locales each year his corps travels there — the group is not forgetting about its base of fans in the central United States. "This year we will start our spring training in Rockford (Ill.) as usual. In addition to the everyday practices, we will do a few performances around town during that time. Plus, we also have our very popular educational camps that will be taking place in Rockford right before we leave for tour," said Valenzuela. Pending the final version of the 2012 DCI Tour schedule, Valenzuela says that his corps' very first show of the season may take place in the Midwest before they pack up their equipment truck and tour buses to make the haul to California to compete against corps like the Blue Devils and Santa Clara Vanguard. The Boston Crusaders will take a slightly different approach to their very first Pacific tour aside from the 2007 season that brought the DCI World Championships to Rose Bowl Stadium in Pasadena. The corps will employ what Executive Director Tom Spataro says is a "relatively simple solution" to getting a corps from Point A on the East Coast to Point B in the west.

Boston has only been seen one other time in California
when the DCI World Championships came to Pasadena in '07.
"We realized that drawing a national membership from more than 20 states, a significant majority of our members were already flying into New England for our pre-season rehearsals," Spataro said. "Rather than start in the northeast corner of the country and drive all the way across, we figured that we could just start the summer rehearsing and competing on the West Coast and head east from there." Spataro says that as he and his staff begin to plan their tour stop by stop, he hopes to give corps members free-time outside of rehearsals in the San Francisco bay area as well as the Pacific Northwest. Regiment and the Crusaders are currently scheduled to join the lineup of western corps beginning the third week of June through the first of July. Among the highlighted cities that will feature both corps at the same event are Stanford, Calif. on Saturday, June 23 and Stockton, Calif. on Sunday, June 24. With the cost of fuel, food and housing annually on the rise for corps, Spataro hopes that his corps' 2012 Pacific tour can serve as a sustainable model to help alleviate the geographic isolation Pacific-based corps and fans face at the start of each summer. "Both Drum Corps International and the corps in the Pacific region have made a concerted effort to bring new corps to the West Coast every year with varying strategies. It's our hope that we can pilot this program as a modern solution to the geographic challenge the Pacific has had to live with for decades," Spataro said. "When we make it work, hopefully any other corps from any part of the country can follow our example and slide right into our spot to serve the Pacific region next year." A complete schedule of 2012 Drum Corps International Tour events is scheduled for release in November. Sign up for Drum Corps International's weekly e-newsletter at to be among the first to know when the complete schedule is released.