The Mandarins Academy

Mandarins Academy Staff

The 2017 Mandarins Academy is pleased to announce the following Directors:

• Drum Major Academy Director – Marvin Reed
• Brass Academy Co-Directors – Chris Langton and Dan Fong
• Guard Academy Director – Jeremiah Wade
• Woodwind Academy Director – Kenny Davies
• Percussion Academy Director – Ryan Lee

Tap here for additional information about the Directors and their Educational Staff.

From Milt Gee, Mandarins Academy Director:
“The 10th year of Mandarins Academy looks to be an exciting one based on the early registrations ahead of the 2016 pace, and on the unique and diverse knowledge and expertise of this year’s Academy Directors and educators. Mandarins Academy Directors have nearly 100 years of experience as educators with elementary, middle, and high schools, colleges, performing arts organizations, Mandarins Academy, and the Sacramento Mandarins drum corps. With Mandarins Academy Directors having been performers and/or educators with the Sacramento Mandarins drum corps, they are able to expose Mandarins Academy students to the teaching method and material used by the drum corps. Last year, of the 131 students in Mandarins Academy, over 40 students auditioned for the Sacramento Mandarins drum corps, and nearly 30 were on the field at DCI World Class Championships for the 2017 production of “Inside the Ink”. The impact of Mandarins Academy to the drum corps is secondary to its mission: to further the students’ skills in technique, musicianship, performance, and leadership development, all in support of their school music program. Mandarins Academy Directors and their educators are committed to achieving that goal."

Marvin Reed – Mandarins Academy Assistant Director and Drum Major Academy Director
Marvin holds a B.A. in Sociology and M.A. in Higher Education and Leadership Policies from California State University, Sacramento, where he was the Drum Major of the Hornet Marching Band. He is currently working on his Multiple Subject Teaching Credential. Marvin has worked with many prestigious high school marching band programs (Granite Bay, Fairfield, Ayala, John F. Kennedy, American Canyon, Elk Grove, Laguna Creek, California, and Ponderosa). He is also the Director and Head Judge of Drum Major activities for the Northern California Band Association. Marvin has been part of the Concord Blue Devils organization (Blue Devils B and Blue Devils A), and has also been the Drum Major Coordinator for the Blue Devils B and the Sacramento Mandarins drum corps.

Chris Langton – Brass Academy Co-Director
Chris is an experienced music educator with a wide range of musical experience. Chris earned his Bachelor's degree in Music Education at the University of Nevada, and completed his Master of Music degree in Vocal Performance in 2015. In addition to his experience with bands throughout Nevada and California, Chris has worked on the brass staff of the Sacramento Mandarins drum corps for 6 years. He is thrilled to join the staff at Mandarins Academy and bring his experience to developing rising musicians.

Dan Fong – Brass Academy Co-Director
“Dr. Dan” marched nine years with the Sacramento Mandarins drum corps and the Seattle Imperials where he was a soprano and mellophone soloist. He received the Joe Fong Award for the Most Outstanding member in 1981. Dan was the Mandarins’ Brass Caption Head from 1982 to 1993 and from 2005 to 2008, during which the Mandarins won three of their eight DCI World Championship titles. He returned in 2012 as the Brass Caption Head and continued his tenure through 2016. He currently instructs and arranges music for the Mandarins Brass Academy, a program that teaches brass students of all skill levels in the Sacramento region. Dan has written every Mandarins field show brass charts from 1982 until 2011. He has also worked with numerous brass sections in the Sacramento region conducting clinics for C. K. McClatchy High School, Sacramento High School, Elk Grove High School, Cordova High School, Cosumnes Oaks High School, West Campus High School and Ponderosa High School. He is currently on the teaching staff for J.F. Kennedy High School, Cosumnes Oaks High School and the Sacramento State Marching Band under Dr. Clay Redfield. He has also been a guest conductor for the Sacramento Youth Symphony. Dan is an optometrist in Sacramento where he resides with his wife Patty and two trumpeter sons, Kyle and Jared.

Jeremiah Wade – Guard Academy Director
Jeremiah's commitment to the arts is remarkable. From performing in his high school's Wind Ensemble, Symphonic Band, Orchestra, and Color Guard came a passion for performing that would encompass his next few years. Since graduating in 2014, he has performed in Sacramento State University's Color Guard as a captain and a soloist, and also with the Sacramento Mandarins Color Guard as a captain in the 2016 and 2017 seasons. Asides from performing, he has also been teaching various color guards at middle school, high school, and collegiate levels and joined the Mandarins Academy Color Guard staff in 2016. He is looking forward to helping the Mandarins Academy continue their success in bringing the gift of the arts to youth in Sacramento as the director of their Guard Academy for the 2017 season.

Kenny Davies – Woodwind Academy Director
Kenny lives in Fresno, California and is currently attending California State University, Fresno for Music Education. His marching experience Includes 6 years with the Sacramento Mandarins drum corps (2012-2017). Kenny has taught many groups in the Central Valley, including Hanford, Lemoore, and Golden West high schools. In recent years, he has expanded his role in the performing arts by running and arranging music for woodwind choirs and various other woodwind ensembles in the Fresno area. Kenny also plays in various ensembles in the Fresno County area and teaches privately on the side. Kenny has been in or around the Mandarins Academy since 2012 and will be returning for his second season on staff. Kenny is very excited for this coming season and knows it will be a great one!

Ryan R. J. Lee – Percussion Academy Director
Ryan is an in-demand and active performer, clinician, adjudicator, instructor, consultant, show designer and drill writer based out of Sacramento, CA. He has an extensive background as a marching arts instructor, having worked with dozens of middle school, high school, collegiate and independent pageantry programs in California and Hawaii. Ryan has also been on several design teams for fall season marching band and winter season indoor percussion shows. He is currently the Percussion Caption Head at Cosumnes Oaks High School, Front Ensemble Coordinator at John F. Kennedy High School and works in the percussion department at C. K. McClatchy High School. In addition, he conducts/directs several concert percussion ensembles in the area, teaches private percussion lessons, judges for the Northern California Band Association/Golden State Band & Orchestra Association and is a member of the Percussive Arts Society. Through several of his teaching experiences, Ryan has had the pleasure and opportunity to learn from and teach alongside some of the best minds and authorities in the activity, including Drum Corps International, Bands of America and Winter Guard International judges and instructional staff. He is enthusiastic to bring his knowledge to the Percussion Academy this season!

Milt Gee – Mandarins Academy Director
Milt was a trombonist through college and a Lead Baritone with the Sacramento Freelancers, and has been a trombonist with the Elk Grove Community Concert Band since 2010. He has been on the brass staff of the Sacramento Mandarins drum corps since 2004 and was previously on the brass staff from 1990 to 1993. Additionally, Milt was on the Brass Academy staff from its first year in 2008 through 2014, and has been the Mandarins Academy Director since 2015. Milt is a Technical Associate Director of a project management team at AT&T and is married to Floree, whose uncle Yuk Fong was one of the 4 who founded the Ye Wah Drum and Lyle Corps in 1963 that became the Mandarins Drum and Bugle Corps in 1967. Milt and Floree have 2 sons, Madison and Cameron.

Register Here

2017 Academy

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

Please see the following list of frequently asked questions for more information. If you have any questions that are not answered below, please email the Mandarins Academy Director at: milt.gee@mandarins.org

Q. What is the Mandarins Academy?

A: The Mandarins Academy is a series of educational sessions offering students the opportunity to further their skills in technique, musicianship, performance, and leadership development, all in support of their school music program. Mandarins Academy is comprised of Brass Academy, Color Guard Academy, Percussion Academy, Drum Major Academy, and Woodwind Academy.

Q: How do I get started in becoming a Mandarins Academy member?

A: Simple, there are two ways to become a member. The best way is to pre-register online here. By pre-registering you will save $10 on the registration fee. Second, you may attend the Academy session and register online here at the door using your smart phone.

Q. Where are the rehearsals?

A: In partnership with the Sacramento State School of Music, we are pleased and honored to be able to hold our rehearsals at Sac State’s Capistrano Hall.

Q: How much does it cost to become a Mandarins Academy member?

A: If you pre-register by credit card, the cost is $50 to join for the full season. If you pre-register by cash or check, or register at the door, the cost will be $60.

Q: What does the registration fee cover?

A: The registration fee covers the cost of the educational material and musical compositions, educational staff, and the rehearsal facilities. In addition you will receive a Mandarins Academy T-shirt AND your registration fee entitles you to a $25 discount to a Mandarins audition camp.

Q: What is the age limit?

A: The Mandarins Academy is intended for students age 14 through 21. Anyone under age 14 must be approved by the Academy Director.

Q: Do I have to be a member of a high school or college band?

A: While it is not a requirement to be in a high school or college band, we highly recommend that you be a member of your school band. The Mandarins Academy is intended to be fully complementary and supportive of your school band program. It is only through daily practice in your band program that you will gain proficiency in your playing ability.

Q. Do I need to bring my own instruments/equipment?

A: We recommend that you bring your own instruments/equipment. We will have a limited supply of brass instruments (trumpets, mellophones, tubas, euphoniums, and baritones), percussion instruments (battery and front ensemble), and color guard equipment to loan out. Make sure you bring your own accessories such as mouthpieces, drum sticks, drum pads, gloves, valve oil, etc. If you are not able to bring an instrument, please come anyway and we will try to fit you with a loaner.

Q: Do I have to audition to become a Mandarins Academy member?

A: No, there are no auditions. You simply need to attend one of the first two Academy sessions, register and pay the dues.

Q: When does the Mandarins Academy meet?

A: The Mandarins Academy meets on Sundays, September 10, October 1, October 29, and November 26. Registration and setup begins at 12:00 and instruction takes place from 12::30 to 4:00 PM (expanded by ½ hour from 2016).

Q: What if I can't make a rehearsal session?

A: While attending all rehearsals is not mandatory, it is highly recommended. During each session we will cover a different performance topic. If you miss a rehearsal session you will miss that aspect of performance.

Q: If I have missed the September rehearsal, can I still join?

A: Yes, you can still join. Simply register online here and come out to the next rehearsal.

Q: Will we have any performances?

A: Yes. Stay tuned for announcements of the performance opportunities. In 2015 and 2016, the Mandarins Academy performed at a Kings game in front of 17,000 fans.

Q: If I am new to the instrument or equipment, can I still attend?

A: The answer is a qualified yes. The Mandarins Academy requires that you have a basic understanding of the instrument or equipment that you want to study. It is highly encouraged, though, that anyone participating in the Mandarins Academy has daily practice at their school with their instrument.

Q: Will we be marching?

A: No. The Mandarins Academy is a non-marching ensemble.

Q: Will this conflict with my school band?

A: Absolutely not. The rehearsal times were chosen to try to avoid any conflicts with your school band rehearsals or performances. If there is a schedule conflict, we fully expect you to attend your school function.

Q: What do I need to bring?

A: Bring your instrument, notepad, pencil, drinking water, and accessories. Most importantly bring a positive attitude to learn and a lot of energy to play!

Q: Is there any out-of-town travel required?

A: No. All rehearsals and all performances will be within the Sacramento area.

Q: Who are the educators?

A: We are pleased to have on staff many of the professional instructors from the Mandarins Drum and Bugle Corps. Also, we have invited other area music educators to participate. All combined, our educational staff has hundreds of years of experience in performance and music education.

Q: How long are the rehearsals?

A: Our rehearsals will be a fast paced three and ½ hour session so please make sure you are early to each session. Registration and setup will begin at 12:00 PM with warm-ups beginning at 12:30 PM. At the end of the last session we invite all parents to a show-and-tell performance of what we learned.

Q: What type of music are we going to play?

A: We will play a wide variety of music ranging from technical studies to performance pieces that are specifically arranged for wind and percussion ensembles.

Q: What will I learn at the Mandarins Academy?

A: Each Academy will have its own curriculum. Each session will be focused on particular performance and leadership techniques. Those techniques will cumulatively build throughout the sessions. The techniques will be applied to exercises and ultimately demonstrated through performance pieces.

Q: How will this benefit my band program?

A: The Mandarins Academy is intended to help strengthen local band programs. The Mandarins Academy provides school music directors the opportunity to send their students to the Mandarins Academy where the students will focus on these specific performance techniques. Our hope is that the students will return to their band programs with a deeper understanding and appreciation for what it takes to be a proficient performer.

Q: What if I am still at a middle school, can I join?

A: While the Mandarins Academy is intended for area high school and college level musicians, middle-school students will be accepted on an exception basis by the Director.

Q: Is this the same thing as the Mandarins Drum and Bugle Corps?

A: No, while the Mandarins Academy is sponsored in part by the Mandarins Drum and Bugle Corps, it is a separate entity. The Mandarins Drum and Bugle Corps is a marching organization consisting of a full brass line, percussion line and color guard. The Corps tours throughout the United States during the summer and is a sanctioned World Class Drum and Bugle Corps through Drum Corps International. For more information see the website mandarins.org.

Q: Will this help me audition for the Mandarins Drum and Bugle Corps?

A: Yes. The performance techniques taught in the Mandarins Academy are consistent with those taught in the Mandarins Drum and Bugle Corps. Demonstrating these proficiencies is part of the Mandarins audition process. In the past, many members of the Mandarins Academy have gone on to become full marching members of the Mandarins Drum and Bugle Corps. Membership in the Mandarins Academy, however, is not a guarantee of acceptance into the Mandarins Drum and Bugle Corps.

We look forward to seeing you at the first rehearsal
on Sunday, September 10, 2017!!!