ROCKFORD, Illinois — For the 2023 edition of Phantom Regiment, the goal was to go somewhere new.

The corps’ production fit that mold, both literally and figuratively. “Exogenesis” unpacked the concept of life forms discovering a new home, while simultaneously setting the stage for the Rockford, Illinois corps to reinvent and modernize its identity.

Now, as members of the design staff noted, this modern form of Phantom Regiment has arrived. And in 2024, the corps plans to build on 2023’s newly-traversed ground.

“We've taken another step in the evolution of the corps,” percussion director Tyler Sammons said. “And you'll see that through the way that we perform and the music that we play. The performance itself will really make everybody realize that we're headed in a new direction.”

During the corps’ April 26-28 rehearsal weekend, hosted at Auburn High School in Rockford, Illinois, many of the pieces of the corps’ 2024 production fell into place. 

“We've been putting together the second half of our 2024 show,” Sammons said. “We've played through all the music, and the brass began learning some of the visual elements of the show. We've really been building our momentum.”

2024 Phantom Regiment
Members of Phantom Regiment's 2024 brass section rehearse at Auburn High School in Rockford, Illinois.


And Sammons was clear; the program that’s being built, rehearsed, and fine-tuned, will markedly continue Regiment’s modern trajectory, developed in recent seasons. 

“I think the passion and the emotion and the conviction that people really love about the corps and recognize about the corps, all those things are still there,” Sammons said. 

“But what you'll see is a more intellectual Phantom Regiment,” he continued, “a Phantom Regiment that is exploring more conceptual ideas, a Phantom Regiment that's taking more risks in terms of the way that we use our props, the way that we play our instruments, the types of arrangements, types of music that we play.” 

Battery percussion designer Matt Penland added that the Rockford corps’ 2024 music selections will feature a healthy balance between popularly-known music and less-familiar material.

Phantom Regiment April rehearsal camp
Phantom Regiment's drum line will start their sophomore season working with a percussion staff that was all-new in 2023.


“We have some really recognizable things that immediately people will know the tune right away,” he said. “And then immediately, it’ll flip to something brand new that no one's going to recognize.”

“I think that will make the show really memorable,” he added.

The April rehearsal camp offered corps members and staff the opportunity to reunite and set the tone for a highly-anticipated 2024 summer tour. 

“This is the first time the entire drum corps has been together all season so far,” returning conductor Keri McCourt said. “So, it's really exciting, really energetic. This group seems really mature and very prepared for what's about to happen this season.”

Phantom Regiment April rehearsal camp
Phantom Regiment's color guard continued their auditions as part of the corps' April rehearsal camp.


Having spent plenty of time conducting through the production with her corps throughout the rehearsal weekend, McCourt also echoed the thoughts of Sammons and Penland regarding the show’s fresh and modern flavor. 

“This year is still very much Phantom Regiment,” she said. “But there are also parts of the show that are very new, and different from anything we’ve ever done.”

“This year's show is an emotional roller coaster,” she added. “Every movement has its own voice, every movement has its own characteristic, but it all fits together. It's very exciting. Very energetic.”

McCourt added that the split between new and returning members for Regiment’s 2024 corps is right around “50/50,” which has fostered positive collaboration throughout the offseason.

Phantom Regiment April Rehearsal Camp
Members of the Phantom Regiment horn line circle up at the conclusion of their April camp rehearsal.


“There's a lot of really great examples being set by the returning members,” she said. “But the new members are showing so much maturity. Even new members who have never marched drum corps before, they seem to know the expectations already. They know what they're getting themselves into. We already work really well together.”

With the corps’ 2024 DCI Tour debut — set for June 26 in Rockford, Michigan — rapidly nearing, performers and staff members alike are prepared to bring a new and exciting energy to audiences nationwide. 

And when they do, they expect they’ll turn some heads.

“This is the new Phantom Regiment, the modern Phantom Regiment, and we’re establishing that identity while keeping the things that people love about this corps,” Sammons said. “When you hear us, you'll go, ‘Yeah, that's the Phantom Regiment.’ But I think it’s done in a way that is competitive in 2024, and in a way that is evolving the activity in the way that we want to be.”

“We want to be on the forefront,” he added. “We don't want to be the drum corps of the 1990s, or the drum corps of the 2000s. We want to be the drum corps of now.”

See Phantom Regiment on the 2024 DCI Tour