Randolph-Macon Academy hosted the 38th Military School Band Festival February 21-23, 2014, from Friday morning at 8:00 am, through the Festival Concert on Sunday afternoon at 2:00 pm, which was performed as part of the AMCSUS (Association of Military Colleges and Schools of the United States) 100th Anniversary Celebration at the Westin Hotel in Alexandria.
The Military School Band Festival is a three-day clinic for the top musicians from military secondary schools and colleges from across the nation. Each festival is structured to include a festival concert band conducted by a noted current or former military conductor and a drum major clinic instructed by an active duty military drum major. Also, now in its third consecutive year is a festival choir conducted by a noted military choral conductor.
“The Military School Band Festival is the largest, and possibly the only event of its kind in our nation, which involves so many military school cadets from all across the United States,” said organizer Ed Richards, the bandmaster at Randolph-Macon Academy. He said that this year's festival was attended by over 220 cadets, bandmasters, choir directors and chaperones from seventeen military academies and colleges. Many traveled great distances to get here, from 17 different military schools in California, New Mexico, Wisconsin, Indiana, Missouri, Texas, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Vermont and here in Virginia. It was the greatest number of schools Richards could remember ever having attended the Festival.
A special feature of the festival was a concert for festival participants and the public by the United States Army Chorus on Friday evening, which was thoroughly enjoyed by all who attended.
Valley Forge Military School and Norwich University claimed the honors for Best Prepared Band, High School and Best Prepared Band, College, respectively. Cadet Captain Daniel Shefheld of Riverside Military Academy took first place in the Drum Major Competition, with Randolph-Macon Academy's own Cadet Captain Ming Gong taking second.