University News

World Champion Drum and Bugle Corps Phantom Regiment to Train at WIU During Summer 2018

April 13, 2018

Share |
Printer friendly version

MACOMB, IL -- The two-time world champion Phantom Regiment Drum & Bugle Corps will call Western Illinois University home for its summer training camp May 20-June 9.

The 150-member corps comprised of men and women ages 17-21 from around the country, along with a 50-member staff, will live, work and train at WIU's Macomb campus. The members will live in the WIU residence halls and practice on Hanson Field, Vince Grady Field and the Marching Leathernecks practice field west of Olson Hall. Corps Director Rick Valenzuela worked closely with WIU Marching Leathernecks Director Matt Thomas to make WIU the location for the corps' residency.

"Rick and I met while judging a marching band competition last year and initiated a conversation about the possibility of Phantom at WIU," Thomas said. "After he visited Macomb and toured the WIU facilities we agreed it would be a great match for both parties. I am thrilled to welcome an organization of this tremendous caliber to our campus and community."

The corps has been based out of Rockford, IL since its formation in 1956, but began scouting for a new training camp location in 2017. Valenzuela discovered WIU offered the robust array of facilities and services required to prepare his group to be nationally competitive.

"The phenomenally warm welcome we've received thus far, particularly from Dr. Thomas and Dr. Mike Fansler [Director of Bands], gives us much excitement for our three weeks on campus this summer," Valenzuela said. "We hope this turns into a long-term partnership."

A successful inaugural residency will pave the way for a permanent arrangement between WIU and Phantom, which would include relocating the corps' multiple educational camps to Macomb, bringing junior high and high school students from around the world to WIU's Macomb campus each summer.

During the Summer 2018 residency, all of the corps' rehearsals at WIU will be open to the public. A free performance for the Macomb community will be held on Hanson Field before the corps embarks June 9 on a 16-state tour competition against 24 other world-class drum and bugle corps. The performance circuit will conclude with the Drum Corps International World Championships August 9 in Indianapolis.

More information on the Phantom Regiment, including the program's history, news, and tour schedule can be found on the group's website,

Posted By: WIU News (
Office of University Relations