Drum Corps International
The DCI.org interview: Rachel Niemi, Phantom Regiment guard captain

The DCI.org interview: Rachel Niemi, Phantom Regiment guard captain

by Drum Corps International

Name, hometown, corps: My name is Rachel Niemi, and I'm from New Lenox, Ill. I march in the color guard with Phantom Regiment. What is your role in the corps this summer? I'm one of the two color guard captains this summer.

Rachel Niemi
Where do you go to school, and what extracurricular activities are you involved with there? I go to school at the University of Illinois, majoring in psychology. All my extracurricular time is taken up by working at the eye doctor there, helping a handicapped student, and working out, so I do not really do much along the lines of extracurricular activities. Give us your full drum corps/marching music background, and how each position prepared you for the leadership role you're in this summer. I came from Lincoln-Way High School's marching band and winter guard program, where I was captain, probably like most other girls that now march drum corps. That was nothing like what was to come in Regiment. I came to Regiment with my best friend in 2001, and I have fallen in love with it ever since. I think I have just put my life into marching, so with so much experience at Phantom, it has prepared me for the role of captain by just being there. The last good book I read: I'm a big slacker and do not read much. The last book I actually read all the way through, without Spark Notes, was "Invisible Man," back in high school! The last great film I saw: I'm obsessed with "The Pirates of the Caribbean" Three CDs I'd want on a deserted island: I'd like any Dave Matthews CD, any Incubus, and it's sad to say, but I'd also like Britney Spears! My favorite TV show: My roommates and I love "What not to Wear," "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy" and "Newlyweds." It's too hard to pick just one. Favorite performers: Dave Matthews is great in concert How do you "blow off steam?" I go run or spin or complain to some unsuspecting friend of mine.

Why I march with the corps I am in: I originally came to Regiment because my friend wanted to march somewhere, and it was basically the closest. After that first year, I fell in love with the corps and the phamily there. Was it always your goal to be in a leadership role? It wasn't always a goal per se, but I've always thought in the back of my mind that it would be quite an honor to have a leadership role. How will you go about balancing the roles of leader and corpsmate? This is a tough question. I do not really see much of a difference, as long as you can lead by example. A good leader can distinguish between the time to work and the time to play, and you can be a corpsmate as well as a leader. What has been your formative drum corps moment? I can't pick! I'll have to go with this past year, at finals in Orlando when the Phantom of the Regiment was in the back stands before we went on the field that night. It was such a rush of emotions! Very cool! Best drum corps show ever: I'll have to go with summer of 2002 in South Dakota. The wind that night was ridiculous, and it was the only time I had ever dropped practically everything that left my hands. I was very upset with myself. What are you most looking forward to about the summer? Being able to perform again. And this year, Regiment is going with different music, so I'm very excited to try the Latin style. I'm also looking forward to waking up with all your closest friends in the same room again. It's such a great feeling. Best thing about being a drum corps leader: I feel like I can contribute back to the organization, in my own little way. Worst thing about being a drum corps leader: I'm sure it can and will get very stressful at times, along with the other everyday pressures. Also, some members don't realize that their leaders are only human too, who make mistakes, but they are still criticized very much. During tour, the best part of the day is: Shower time! During tour, the worst part of the day is: Waking up -- tired and sore, also the visual block right in the middle of the day when we're all hot, hungry and mentally exhausted. Favorite drum corps personality and why: Gene Monterastelli. He is a longtime judge who helps us on tour frequently. He's always ready to talk to members and help them. He's just the nicest guy around. What do you want to be when your drum corps career is over? I'd like to become a school counselor, and maybe teach the color guard there. Then I could have my summers off to go to DCI shows!

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