Mike Miceli is a third-year member of the brass section. He will do a daily diary from the road this summer. Of course, the diary consists of his opinions and observations; it does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Phantom Regiment organization.

He wrote this as an introduction to drum corps and himself.

‘Mike’s Memoirs by Mike Miceli’

Being in drum corps is like touring with Van Halen and training in the Army at the same time. It’s a musical experience unlike any other, where you have the time of your life, perform before huge crowds every night and have your physical and mental abilities pushed beyond the normal human limits. The young warriors that do this are the world’s greatest musical athletes.

Anyone who makes it through a summer of Drum Corps will walk through fire and come out the other side a champion. Whether they know it or not, their lives will never be the same.

We are soldiers of music. Our weapons are bugles, drums and flags. We fight to preserve human spirit and purity through our beloved art. It’s called drum corps.

My name is Mike Miceli and marching in Phantom Regiment has been the greatest experience of my life.

I’m 22 years old and this is my third summer with the Regiment. I am from Trumbull, Conn., and just graduated from University of Delaware with a degree in music education. My main instrument is trumpet. I also sing in my college’s all-male a cappella group “The Ychromes” and play a some bass guitar.

Music is my passion. I love to express myself through it, and I also get moved by listening to others.

I remember seeing the Phantom Regiment’s 1996 show when I was a sophomore in high school. I was awestruck by their presence and power (even though it was on a 26-inch TV).

I remember thinking that each member of Phantom Regiment must’ve been a professional and I would never have a chance at being in a corps like that. I also thought that giving up an entire summer vacation would be a big mistake.

I was never so wrong about anything in my life.

I love drum corps because I get a rush from performing. Phantom Regiment has always been my favorite corps because I love classical music shows. I feel that classical music can reach a level of expression and emotion far beyond any other show type. When I am out on the field performing, I feel that I am not only expressing the composer’s thoughts but my own as well through my horn and body. It’s as if I was making a statement to the audience about the hard work my corps does each day through music.

In 1993, Regiment played “Fire of Eternal Glory.” Each time I hear this recording I get chills. By listening to the music, I can almost feel the hard work and sacrifice that each member of the corps experienced and triumphed over that summer.

The only better thing than listening to something like this is speaking it yourself.

My nicknames in drum corps have been The Italian Stallion, Oregano, Holy C, Izreal, Connelaware, Mike Mussina, DeNiro, Mama Jama, Makaveli and Berry Butt. There’s a story for each, so don’t hesitate to ask me after a show.

My favorite part about Drum Corps is all the friends I have made. It’s 135 people that live, eat, sleep and work together for three months. I have many close friends in the Regiment but they are all like family to me. We each go through the same pain and success. The fact is we do it together and that is what matters.

My least favorite part about Drum Corps is that when it is over it is hard, if not impossible, to keep in touch with all of these family members.

Last summer I didn’t want it to end. I was willing to keep working each day just so that we could stay together. But the fact that
it has to end is just part of the experience.

I was afraid to do drum corps at first because I didn’t want to give up an entire summer vacation. Now that I’m in my third year here, having a summer vacation from school seems pointless. Now I feel that there is nothing I could do in a summer vacation that would be better than doing drum corps.

I have a piece of advice: Never doubt yourself and never give up. Chances are you would be good for any drum corps. Sign up for auditions now!