Now that a handful live audiences have had the chance to see Phantom Regiment perform its 2018 program, the cat’s out of the bag.
This isn’t the Phantom Regiment you’re used to seeing.
The corps’ iconic helmets are gone, and have been replaced with hoods. There’s a sleek new uniform, a handful of sizable props, a triangular orange tarp spanning the majority of the front sideline, and, at one point, about 15 sets of tenor drums.
For one of DCI’s most consistently competitive corps, it’s a “new world” of visual effects.
Fittingly enough, that’s the foundation for Phantom Regiment’s production.
“This year’s show is called ‘This New World,’ and it’s the idea that you’ve been dropped into a place you’ve never been before,” program coordinator Will Pitts said. “How do you respond to these new places? How do these new places respond to you?”
The corps members on the field help to propel that storyline as they theatrically embed themselves into a variety of environments that are created throughout the production.
In turn, Regiment plans to do the same for its audience, not just in terms of the show concept, but but also in the surprising new design style unfolding before their eyes.
According to Pitts, the new direction has even taken some individuals involved with the corps by surprise.
“I feel like it’s a newer flavor for us than what we typically do,” he said. “Even folks within our teaching staff are kind of like, ‘Wait a second, this doesn’t sound like Phantom Regiment,’ but it is Phantom Regiment, so we’re really excited about that.’”
A running thread throughout the program, Antonin Dvorak’s “New World Symphony,” is, in essence, the headline piece of the corps’ repertoire. It makes recurring appearances throughout the program, culminating in a resounding impact of one of its most recognizable melodies in the show’s final movement.
“We feel like that kind of gave us a connective tissue that people could latch onto,” Pitts said. “We’re combining that with some really engaging, dynamic music from film scores, new concert works, some more classic orchestral works, that kind of thing.”