From a 2004 story on

Trisha WiIliams-Longo, of Dickson City, Pa., is a part-time music teacher in the area as well as assistant director of music at her church. She has followed the Phantom Regiment since 1978, has done photography and other volunteer work with the corps since 1993 and has partially sponsoring a marching member of the corps since 1996.

She begins her story with the comment, “Here is one that moved me forever.

“In 1994, I took my mother and my then 79-year-old grandmother to DCI East in 1994. My grandmother was quickly digressing into the early stages of Alzheimer’s. Phantom Regiment was playing “Clare de Lune” that year. My grandmother had always loved music, especially classical, so I took her to the show in her wheelchair.

“She enjoyed all the rest of the corps, but when Phantom entered the field in their all white uniforms she exclaimed, “Aren’t they beautiful?” This in itself was stirring, as she had not been able or willing to speak in any recognizable sense for almost three weeks prior to that. She asked me to read her what they were playing. I read her the songs, and upon mentioning “Clare de Lune,” her eyes grew wide as she again spoke perfectly, “That was a song at my wedding — 53 years ago.”

“My mother and I were spellbound that this just came to her. As the sweet chords of Phantom Regiment playing this tune turned heavenward, the corps facing backfield, they knelt and played the final chord, which seemed to float all the way to the moon that was high above in the distance of J. Birney Crum Stadium.

“As the chord diminished, I looked over to see my grandmother with tears streaming down her cheeks, blowing kisses to the Regiment as they rose for the next piece, saying over and over, “Thank you! Thank you!” Everyone around us saw this occur and they were also moved. Some even came and hugged her afterwards. I was never moved to tears like that. All the doctors, medication and pleading and prodding didn’t evoke any emotion or response from her for almost an entire month until this moment.

“Now, nine years later, she is bedridden, almost incoherent and in the final stages of her disease, and every August, (drum corps season and her wedding anniversary), I play that tune for her on my CD player. Every time I do, I see her eyes fill up and her lips move, but there is no sound. But I know what she is saying.

“She is saying: “Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!”

“No. Thank you, Phantom Regiment, for touching someone who you’ll never know, my grandmother, Helen Williams, someone who will never forget all of you and the music you made that brought tears to her eyes that night.

“I will always be grateful to Phantom Regiment, and drum corps in general, for moving souls, young and old, healthy or ill, to the beauty of music.”