"The Phantoms have always been the bridesmaid, never the bride at the competition," Mara said. "We have come in second place so often, this was the first time in the 24-year history of the competition the Phantoms have won." Mara marched seven years with the Phantoms and is now a marching instructor. He added most of the Phantom members are college music majors and all are exceptionally talented.
The Phantoms consist of 128 members ranging in age from 16 to 28. "Between 500 and 700 band students from across the country try out for the Phantoms each June. After two to three weeks of practice the Phantom Regiment goes on tour from mid-June until the competition in August," Mara explained. While on tour, they travel in four full-size buses and have two semi trucks. One is for equipment and the other serves as their kitchen.
Mara explained there were about 100 bands competing at the start of the week-long competition. By Thursday, the number had been cut down to the top 25. On Friday, only the top 17 were left and on Saturday the top 12 competed for the top honors. "The Phantoms have been in the top 12 several times, we've never made number one before," he said. "On Thursday we were tied for fourth place and moved up to third place on Friday."
The Phantom Regiment has been a DCI finalist since 1972 and has won numerous DCI regional championships. "Sometimes you sacrifice the music to get a visual effect," St. Angel said. "We chose not to do that this year. We emphasized the brass and the percussion. The visual performance became the lyrics to the music."
Mara said the DCI championship is the Super Bowl of band competitions. Each member of the band and staff will receive a "Super Bowl" ring as a token of their accomplishment.
[ Return to Previous Menu | Archived Press Stories Menu | Return to the News Page ]