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44th Annual Military School Band and Chorus Festival Comes to R-MA

The 44th Annual Military School Band and Choir Festival will be held at Randolph-Macon Academy February 21-23, bringing with it several events that are open to the public.

This year’s Festival will bring together the top musicians from eight military schools and colleges across the country, including bandsmen and singers from Army & Navy Academy in Carlsbad, CA; Hargrave Military Academy in Chatham, VA; Marine Military Academy in Harlingen, TX; Missouri Military Academy in Mexico, MO; New Mexico Military Institute in Roswell, NM; Randolph-Macon Academy in Front Royal, VA; Saint John’s Northwestern Military Academy in Delafield, WI; and the U. S. Coast Guard Academy in New London, CT. 

Students will spend hours in clinics, rehearsing together for the first time in preparation for the culminating concert to be held on February 23rd. The clinics will be led by professional military musicians: the Festival Concert Band Conductor is Lieutenant (junior grade) Joel Thiesfeldt of the U.S. Navy; the Festival Drum Major Clinician is Senior Chief Musician Mike Bayes, USN; the Festival Choir Conductor is Master Sergeant Kerry Wilkerson, USA, Retired. (Read their bios here.)

After a full day of clinics and band auditions, the students will enjoy a concert performed by the U.S. Navy Band Country Current in Boggs Chapel. This concert, which takes place at 7:30 pmon Friday the 21st, is free and open to the public.

On Saturday, February 22nd, rehearsals continue. That evening, the drum majors will show off what they have learned in a competition in which they vie for top honors in front of their peers and guests. The Drum Major Competition is also open to the public; it will take place at 7:30 pm in Melton Memorial Gymnasium on the R-MA campus.

The final free, public event of the weekend will be the Festival Concert, which will be held at 2:00 pm in Melton Memorial Gymnasium. This is the culmination of months of individual rehearsals and an intense weekend of combined rehearsals; the 100 students and 20 adults from across the country will pour their hearts and souls into producing an unforgettable afternoon of musical entertainment.