2011 Drum Corps Preview: Phantom Regiment

In recent years, storytelling has become as synonymous with Phantom Regiment as white uniforms and classical music. Since 2006, Phantom has given us the stories of Faust, Spartacus, and the Red Violin, with most of the musical selections coming from sources outside of the theme. This year’s edition of the corps brings us another story-based show, Juliet. As you may have guessed, Romeo and Juliet is the inspiration, but the focus of the story will be on Juliet’s telling of the tale.

The first indication that Phantom’s concept is strong is in the guard uniforms. Befitting a Capulet, the uniforms are very Renaissance and evoke the image of a idealistic young woman of Verona:

What I like about this uniform is that it is simple yet classic. The guard will be able to do their work without the uniform getting in the way, but fully allows them to be in character as Juliet throughout the show.

Meanwhile, the corps proper has received an alteration to their uniform as they take the role of Romeo:

The uniform all but screams Phantom Regiment, especially now that the chevrons on the left arm are black instead of silver, making them stand out and easy to see from the stands. The addition of the Montague family crest is a nice touch and is actually a unique look for the as, for the first time since they wore shakos, Phantom’s uniform has no sash, baldric, or cape adorning it. It will be very interesting to see the corps from the stands.

Of course, Phantom is all about the music, and this year’s selections are full of classics from drum corps in general and Phantom in particular.  You’ll recognize the fanfare from Verdi’s Requiem, originally played by Santa Clara Vanguard in 1979, but it’s the return to the field of Elsa’s Procession to the Cathedral, also from 1979 but from Phantom themselves, which will really set the crowd on fire and is a great way to close the show. One piece from the corps’ past which is not part of the show is Tchaikovsky’s own Romeo and Juliet, which Phantom performed in 1988, but, listening to the show, I didn’t miss it.

Take a listen to Phantom from their pre-season concert performance on June 7th, then let me know what you think of the show in the comments below.

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