The Phantom Regiment Drum and Bugle Corps will hold its summer camp at Western Illinois University this year. The group of 150 high school and college aged musicians plus 50 staff members will be on campus for three weeks as they rehearse for their summer tour around the country.
“Drum corps is the NFL of Marching Bands”, said Mike Fansler, Director of Bands at WIU. He said having the Phantom Regiment on campus will do great things for the WIU School of Music, the university, and the community.
The Phantom Regiment is based in Rockford, is a two time world champion, and has a worldwide following of fans. The corps has nearly 170,000 likes on its Facebook page.
The Phantom Regiment plans to keep receipts for every purchase they make in Macomb so they can report back the exact level of their economic impact while they are here, not including any money that fans might spend while they visit.
In addition, The Phantom Regiment will be paying WIU a fee to rent rehearsal, office, and living space.
“Having those two names, Western Illinois University and the Phantom Regiment, put together will be huge,” said Matt Thomas, the Associate Director of Bands at Western. He said having the corps practice in Macomb will aid in recruiting. “All of their practices are open to the public, so it’s quite normal to have high school band kids from around the region watching a corps rehearsal.”
Thomas and Fansler said that in addition to open rehearsals, The Phantom Regiment will put on at least one performance for the community before they go on their competitive tour. The WIU School of Music is also working with the corps to host instructional seminars and sessions with WIU Marching Band members.
Right now, WIU and Phantom have a one year contract but both sides said they hope to expand on it if all goes well. Fansler said anything is possible, including Phantom Regiment moving its year round base of operations from Rockford to Macomb.
“If we connect as well as we anticipate, you may someday hear ‘The Phantom Regiment, from Macomb, Illinois’ announced at their shows when they are performing across the country.”
Phantom Regiment will be at WIU from May 20 through June 9.