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20 Questions: Dan Farrell (1972-80)

by admin on April 5, 2014 Comments Off on 20 Questions: Dan Farrell (1972-80)


Current Occupation: Corps Director, Program Coordinator Phantom Regiment

Contact Information: dan@regiment.org

Years in Phantom Regiment and Section: 1972-79, 1980 Baritone/Euphonium

1. When did you first see/hear the Regiment?:

1971 Veterans Day parade (Rockford)

2. What made you want to march in Regiment?
My Dad thought it would give my brother Tim and I something constructive to do, and we thought they looked pretty impressive in the parade. So we looked up Phantom Regiment in the phone book and went down to practice that very night. Red Christensen (personnel director) took one look at us and tried to talk us out of joining, by telling us we ‘d have to pay a dollar a week (we looked at my parents and they nodded), we ‘d have to practice long hours (we looked at each other and nodded), and that we ‘d have to get military haircuts for inspections (we looked at the floor and nodded). Sensing defeat, he said ok and walked us into the horn room , where two young, scraggly looking, hippie-wanna-be boys began what has turned out to be a rather long journey.

3. What is your favorite memory of your time in Regiment?
Realizing this covers a lot of years, I ‘ll go with Allentown 2008 (and the remaining shows that year), watching the audience react to the last minute or so of the show.

4. If you could go back and change one thing about your time in the corps what would it be?
If I could go back and talk to the teen-aged me I would have plenty to tell him, but I doubt he ‘d listen.

5. What is your all time favorite piece of music that Regiment has played?
Those Magnificent Men and Their Flying Machines.

6. Who do you remember most from your marching days?
So many of the people I am still friends with 40 years later (just vacationed with a few of them).

7. Who have you lost track of that you would like to reconnect with?
Chris Moncelli (does he still eat strange peanut butter combinations?)

8. Any favorite stories about Rockford?
The corps used to spend a lot more time in Rockford than it does now. There were many social events (some of which were even acceptable to the corps management). Among my favorites were the brat parties in Jim and Laura Wren ‘s backyard, where the hornline would practice for a while, then things would deteriorate steadily from there. I ‘m sure their neighbors loved them for it.

9. Did you audition, and if so, what was your audition like?
There were n’t really auditions back then, but I still managed to not have a spot for the first two shows of my first year. Thank you Chris Pease, for quitting. Dan Richardson was starting to have a tough time keeping me encouraged. (Some things never change.)

10. What is your drum corps history?
All with Phantom Regiment (except for brief stints teaching the Flying Dutchmen and the Geneseo Knights). 1972-78, Baritone; 1979, PR Cadets Staff; 1980, Euphonium; 1981-84, Brass Staff; 1987-1993, Brass Staff; 1993-1997, Program Coordinator; 2001-present, Program Coordinator; 2010-present, Corps Director.

11. What advice would you give to the kids marching today?
Well, I give them plenty of advice, but most importantly, not to take this opportunity for granted. It ‘s an experience that will stay with them for the rest of their lives (if they work it right).

12. If you went on to instruct, what was it like instructing people you had marched with?
It was fun, and it went pretty well, but there was an adjustment period. I ‘m sure I could have handled it better, but I managed to keep the gig.

13. What instructor or member intimidated you the most?
Jim Wren. I knew he had very high standards (still does) and he was no fun at all, when disappointed.

14. Do you still find yourself humming parts from a show?
Um, yeah got a little Swan Lake bouncing around in my head right now.

15. What staff/support person made the biggest impression on you, and why?
There were several, but if picking one, it would again have to be Jim Wren. With each year, I gained more appreciation for how he shaped the corps and the members he taught, both on and off the field. I felt absolutely honored, to handle his presentation to the DCI Hall of Fame in 1995.   

16. How much did it cost for you to march ‘back in the day ?
Dues my first year were $1 per week, plus we had to take some tour money with us, for eating in restaurants. I think my mom gave me $25.00 for first tour and $35 for second tour. Through the years, it s gone up a bit.

17. Have your children followed in your footsteps by marching?
I never had kids, other than the 150 I get to travel with each summer.

18. Do you ever have drum corps filling a spot dreams?
Yes – it never goes well.

19. Did you have trouble adjusting back to civilian life after the season ended?
Nowadays it never really ends, but when I marched, I had the same love of bus fumes that many of us share.

20. Are you still involved in the music/performing arts field?
It s my honor to be invloved in the design and instruction of the Regiment ‘s performing and educational programs each year – a job made easier by having terrific people to do the real work. (I ‘m just that annoying bug in their ear.)

admin20 Questions: Dan Farrell (1972-80)