Kendall LeJeune and Darian Sanders were selected from a field of 50 conductor auditionees on Sunday, Nov. 28, to be Phantom Regiment’s conductors for 2006. Both are PR veterans.
Former Phantom Regiment conductor Mark Hourigan (1989), now a successful band director in Novi, Mich., once again led a master class-style process that provided a learning experience for the auditionees and a way by which to narrow the field to a handful of finalists.
LeJeune and Sanders will continue an incredible tradition of conductors at Phantom Regiment. Three of the past six winners of the Jim Jones Leadership Award at DCI Championships have gone to PR conductors: Kara Hoeflinger (2004), David Simon (2003) and Tommy Feagin (2000).
Sanders, 20, marched Phantom Regiment in 2005 as a lead trumpet. The University of Kentucky student majors in music education. He auditioned for conductor in 2005, but was not selected.
“I was interested in joining a group that if I didn’t conduct, I could grow as a music educator, learning techniques that would help me in the future,” says Sanders, who lists Phantom Regiment alumni Tommy Feagin (1999-2001) and Will Richards (2002) as his favorite drum majors. Richards is on the visual staff at PR, and Feagin is an instructor for Carolina Crown.
The sixth of eight children of Sherill and Ray Sanders, he says Phantom Regiment 2003 is his favorite drum corps show.
“The first hit and the recapitulation of ‘Canon in D,’ well, enough said. Although the Cavaliers 2001 show, ‘Four Corners,’ is a close second because it holds sentimental value as the first drum corps show I saw live.”
Sanders, who hails from Lexington, Ky., has worked a variety of part-time jobs, from restaurants and retail stores to marching band and color guard to a receptionist at a law firm. Singing, basketball and bowling are among his hobbies.
“I was the first University of Kentucky American Idol,” he says proudly.
LeJeune, 18, marched in Phantom Regiment in 2005 as an assistant conductor. The University of Southern Mississippi student is a freshman music education major. He also participated in the Phantom Regiment Drum Major Camp before earning a spot in the drum corps.
“I have always been intrigued by Regiment’s conductors,” says LeJeune, who lists Franklin D. Roosevelt as a personal role model. “They not only provide tempo and manage the field show in performance, but also have the ability to evoke the music from the musicians and their instruments, a quality unique to Regiment.”
The percussionist from Lafayette, La., goes back a dozen years when asked to name his favorite drum corps show: Phantom Regiment 1993 (The Modern Imagination). He picks fellow 2005 conductor Will Pitts as his favorite drum major.
Among LeJeune’s hobbies are photography, drill writing, music arranging, political science and foreign languages (Italian and French in particular).
Click on the links below for pictures of LeJeune and Sanders.