David Kampschroer helped form DCI, led PR through difficult time

David Kampschroer, one of the founding directors of Drum Corps International and a former Phantom Regiment director, died Monday in Florida. He was 74. (Photo courtesy of Drum Corps International)

Kampschroer marched in the Phantom Regiment drum line in 1959-60 alongside Phantom Regiment legends Jim Wren and Dan Richardson, who still remember him from those days more than 55 years ago.

“Dave was always very outgoing and active. We all knew that he was destined to become a spokesman,” Richardson said. “He was someone who could talk about anything. He was remarkable.”

Kampschroer got his start in drum corps with the La Crosse Commanders, marched with Phantom Regiment and then went on to help found the Blue Stars in 1965 when he was 25 years old. He was part of the instructional staff when the corps took to the field in 1966 and became director in 1968, a position he held until 1980.

It was his involvement with Blue Stars in the early 1970s that forged his legacy in the activity. In 1971, he was one of the charter members of the Midwest Combine, the predecessor to the formation of Drum Corps International in 1972.

Under his direction, the Blue Stars quickly made an impression and became one of earliest corps to be corporately sponsored, with this sponsorship making up 80 percent of revenue needed to run a first-class corps. In the first two years of DCI’s existence, the Blue Stars placed second and third.

After Kampschroer retired as an educator with the Wisconsin public school system, where he was superintendent of the Waukesha public schools for 8 years, he took the reigns as interim corps director of Phantom Regiment in the fall of 1998, a time of serious organizational and financial challenges for the corps. He was instrumental in getting the corps back on track from a managerial standpoint.

“Dave s contribution of time and talent created a calm stability that enabled the organization to regroup, reorganize and find the funding that was the foundation of the corps’ competitive rise through the years that followed,” said Tim Farrell, longtime Phantom Regiment board president. “Dave has always been a dear friend of the Phantom Regiment.”

Dave was the first executive director of Drum Corps International. Recently, he had served as chair of the DCI Hall of Fame Committee. He is a charter member of both the Blue Stars and Drum Corps International halls of fame.

Read more on Dr. David Kampschroer’s legacy from:

    Blue Stars

   Drum Corps International