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10 Marshall County students represent Academies at Military School Band & Choir Festival in Feb.

March 8, 2014

03/10/14 Two Culver Academies’ musicians from Plymouth earned prestigious seats in the Concert Band that performed Feb. 23 at the Military School Band & Choir Festival in Virginia.

  Kathryn Burke ’15 earned the first chair flute (with a piccolo solo in “Stars & Stripes”) and Sam Baldwin ’15 earned principal timpanist.

The annual festival was at Randolph-Macon Academy in Front Royal, Va., Feb. 20-23 and involved 17 military schools, including the U.S. Coast Guard Academy and Virginia Military Institute, from 13 states. But the final concert of combined musicians and choir members was performed Sunday in Alexandria, Va., at the annual conference of the Association of Military Colleges and Schools of the United States, which was celebrating its 100th anniversary.

Ten of the 24 students representing Culver Academies at the festival were residents of Marshall County and another was from North Liberty.

In addition to Baldwin and Burke, Karissa Krou of Plymouth was also a member of the Band. Students in the Band from Culver were Hannah Boland, Sarah Boland, Spencer Ragsdale, and Paxton Schmidt. Bradley Long of North Liberty also participated. 

Academies’ choir members included Cheyenne Durbin from Culver, Emma Sexton from Argos, and Emma Trappe from Plymouth.

Assistant Band Director Chad Gard conducted a percussion clinic that the festival chairman called a “truly outstanding and educational experience for our young people.” With 17 schools there were various drumming styles and a range of instruments. To bring them together, Gard wrote an instructional manual, “Getting a Traditional Grip.” The percussionists performed a “Drum Static” and a cadence for the drum majors for when they marched in. 

  As with many off-campus trips for Academies’ students, there was educational and/or cultural component. After the Sunday concert, the group went into D.C. for a whirlwind tour to view the Capitol, White House, Lincoln Memorial, and the Vietnam, Korean War, and Martin Luther King Jr. monuments. On the way home, the group overnighted in Pennsylvania and visited the Flight 93 Memorial in Shanksville, Pa.

“These visits helped cement the values of gratitude and service to others exemplified by many of the selections we performed,” said Culver Band Director Maj. Bill Browne, who administered the placement auditions at the festival.

Also serving as a trip chaperone was Advancement Officer Dorothea Ragsdale, who is a 1974 Culver alumna.