The final chaper of this memoir series wasn’t written by Jim Wren, but rather was penned on behalf of the entire organization. The final chaper for the Phantom Regiment has yet to be written by anyone – it awaits the judgement of time and history. Perhaps in yet another 50 years there will be a young member from the 2006 corps that will have stayed the course and guide the corps as Jim has done for us these first 50 years.
The true strength of Phantom Regiment lies in the people. Those who marched and those who haven’t (yet who give their very soul to ensure the corps survives and thrives) are what makes us the unique institution we are.
Jim Wren has been with us since the first day. Read that again: Jim has been here since the VERY FIRST DAY. To meet him is a joy. He is a humble man and a very disarming man as well…at heart he is just a drum corps kid. He symbolizes all who have walked through the Regiment’s doors: Good people who love drum corps and love doing it the “Phantom way”.
Jim is right: That Phantom Regiment even exists is a mystery…it’s often been merely a house of cards. Now, on the other hand, it really is very easy to see why Phantom Regiment not only remains a corps at 50 years old, but thrives in so many ways. One look at the people and it makes sense.
Come here to march and be it one year or 10, it stays with you. Come here as a stranger, a new hire, a parent or a fan and you are instantly welcomed. No pretentions, no fancy aires… it’s just good old-fashioned midwest values and “roll up your sleeves” drum corps here in Rockford. You’ll be judged on the work you do and you’ll always get to be considered “phamily”. Of that I can assure you.
The 50th anniversary is off and running. The coffee-table book is in final editing stage and should be out the door by May 1st. The 50th anthology DVD nears final edit stages and is truly an inspiration. To interview men such as Jim and Dan Richardson, Ron Shulz, Tim Farrell, John Baumgartner and others has been a priviledge. The 50th clothing line is being printed as we speak and most importantly, the 50th edition of Phantom Regiment is well under way….and could very well be one for the ages!
But through this all, I like to sit back and think of a teenage Jim Wren at that first rehearsal and wonder if he ever dreamed we’d become what we did.
Jim, it has been an honor. I am glad you are here to share this 50th anniversary with your corps.