ROCKFORD, Ill. – Who would have thought a summer without a touring drum corps could be so busy?

But, that’s exactly what happened.

While the challenges of moving nearly 200 people across the country were not part of 2020, there was still plenty happening with Phantom Regiment. In fact, there was a full slate of educational activities run by various members of the drum corps staff. In case you missed it, here’s what we’ve been up to:

Drum Corps Marches On

Corps director David Warren worked with his team of designers and instructors to put together a program that kept the members engaged with the staff and their corps mates.

Members were given weekly assignments that included group stretching activities, physical fitness challenges between Phamily groups, technique exercises, and even the learning of show music with “mini-drill” and choreography.

Members were given weekly assignments that included group stretching activities, physical fitness challenges between Phamily groups, technique exercises, and even the learning of show music with “mini-drill” and choreography.

One of the early-season highlights for the members is History Night, an evening dedicated to learning the history of Phantom Regiment as told by individuals from all eras of the organization. The 2020 corps couldn’t be in the same room for the event, but the virtual event was terrific – even at almost 3 hours! Warren moderated a panel with current program supervisor Tony Hall, education coordinator Dwight Emmert, visual co-caption head Bob Smith, percussion arranger Rob Ferguson, alumna Aylin Vural, and former corps director Patrick Seidling (now corps director of the Blue Devils). Longtime videographer Robert Cawthorne coordinated a video history and the team shared stories of Phantom Regiment’s glorious history with the 2020 members.

Educational Camps Go Virtual

Under the direction of Stan Mauldin, our Phantom Regiment Academy combines our traditional camps with a host of other educational offerings ranging from virtual, in-school clinics to distribution of music supplies and arrangements. This summer, more than 200 campers participated in one of three sold-out virtual camps. Drum major camps were led by former Phantom Regiment drum major Galen Karriker (now director of bands at University of Akron), former Phantom Regiment brass caption head/instructor Kevin Rabon (a long-time band director in Texas and Louisiana) and former Phantom Regiment drum major David Warren, and three virtual leadership camps were led by Stan Mauldin. 

Merch Gets a Refresh

Our revamped merchandise program,, was launched in the spring and has been a steady success. New merchandise manager Zach Ashcraft is continually launching new products to keep the store fresh and exciting. And for the first time in many years, our team is

starting to think about holiday sales several months ahead of the biggest shopping season of the year.

Getting Social on Social Media

Hosted throughout the summer by Phantom Regiment and Robert Cawthorne, who oversees the organization’s impressive social media presence, our Facebook Watch Parties have been an incredible way for alumni and phans to simulate the experience of a live show while social distancing. They are not just a replaying of historical shows but include awesome commentary by those who designed, instructed, or marched in them. A special thanks to Tony Hall for helping make all the awesome introductions happen. These watch parties have included themes such as the Story Years, the Medalist Years, and Phan Favorites. Among the intros have been Michael Cesario explaining the change to all-white for the 1987 season, Dan Farrell telling us how the spearing of drum major Will Pitts came to be in the 2008 Spartacus show, and Jim Wren giving his opinion of the finals result in 1989.

Phan-a-Thon a Fundraising Success

The incredibly successful and humbling Phan-a-Thon raised about $110,000 from more than 800 donors. Never in Phantom Regiment’s history has there been a fund-raising event with that level of participation. Believe that the organization is doing everything it can to make sure the dollars you’ve entrusted to Phantom Regiment will be wisely managed.

What’s Next?

Phantom Regiment, Couchmen, Marching Arts Education, and Marching Health are partnering on the Marching Arts 5K from Sept. 3-13. More about this virtual event can be found at

The board of directors has been diligently working on myriad scenarios that look ahead to the next year and beyond for the entire organization. The fiscal year ends in about 6 weeks, and the status quo simply won’t be possible if Phantom Regiment is to survive and thrive. Cuts will be necessary, an office move may happen, and the organization will largely go into a hoarding-and- hibernation mode for several months – all to make sure the Phantom Regiment we all love is here for a long time.

As we head into an offseason with arguably more uncertainly than the last, we simply want to say: THANK YOU. It is thanks to your tremendous support that we are in a good position to endure whatever the future may bring.