R-MA Students Claim Three Top Honors at MSBCF

Jacob Gehly '20 of Front Royal won the Gold Medal in the 2018 Military School Band and Choir Festival Drum Major Competition.

Fifteen select members of the Randolph-Macon Academy Band and Chorus traveled to Missouri Military Academy for the last weekend of February, to attend the 42nd Military School Band & Choir Festival. 

The festival featured a concert band composed of military high school and college cadets under the direction of WO2 Bandmaster Freddie Lomas, Royal Marines, UK (ret), Director of Music at Missouri Military Academy. There was also be a cadet choir directed by a former Royal Marine, Rob McGrath, Choir and Jazz Band Director at Missouri Military Academy. Senior Chief Musician Michael P. Bayes, Drum Major of the United States Navy Band, conducted a clinic for military high school and college drum majors.

“This event is a highlight of the year for our better musicians,” said R-MA Band Director Ed Richards. “It is an opportunity to perform with a high quality band and choir composed entirely of the best musicians from military academies and colleges from across the nation. For our drum majors, it is an opportunity to train with the drum major of one of our nation's premiere military bands, the United States Navy Band in Washington, DC.”

Several R-MA students won honors during the festival, including sophomore Alan Williams of Front Royal, who received a silver medal for earning first chair flute, and senior Ziyin “David” Chen of China, who received a silver medal for earning first chair alto saxophone. Chen also had a featured co-solo during the concert held on Sunday. 

The much-anticipated drum major competition was held over the weekend as well, with R-MA sophomore Jacob Gehly of Front Royal winning the gold medal (first place). 

The combined closing concert—in which Chen’s co-solo can be heard at 19:30—can be viewed below: