Phantom Regiment has selected two conductors to continue the corps' long tradition of outstanding leadership on the podium. More than 30 auditionees participated Nov. 28-30 in the weekend-long process coordinated by Russ Smith, who was Phantom Regiment's conductor in 1990. Russ will be the tuba instructor for the corps in 2004. David Simon, 21, is returning for his second season on the podium and his fourth with the corps. He previously was in the Regiment's mellophone line. Simon is a music education major at Baylor University in Waco, Texas. Simon, who went to Leander High School near Austin, Texas, is a member of the Baylor cycling team and the National Society of Collegiate Scholars. His favorite band is Radiohead and his favorite composers are Beethoven, Sibelius and Mahler. On Aug. 9 at the DCI championships in Orlando, Fla., Simon was named the winner of the Jim Jones Leadership Award. The award is given to a Division I drum major after a competitive process that involves an application, interview and conducting. It is named after Jim Jones, the legendary founder and director of the Troopers. Kara Hoeflinger will be in front of the Regiment for the first time in 2004. She was in the corps' mellophone line in 2003. She also is a music education major at Baylor University, where she is drum major of the Golden Wave Marching Band.
Hoeflinger, 20, who is from Harlingen, Texas, says she enjoys playing racquetball and is an avid Tolkien fan. She is a member of Wesley United Methodist Church.