MMA Cadets Earn Medals at 45th National Military School Band and Choir Festival

MMA Cadets Earn Medals at 45th National Military School Band and Choir Festival
Missouri Military Academy (MMA) band and choir competed in the 45th Military School Band and Choir Festival, February 24 to 26, 2023, hosted at Randolph-Macon Academy in Front Royal Virginia. MMA cadets performed extremely well, earning a several medals for their performances. Cadet Kruze Hagan, a high school sophomore from Kirksville, Missouri, earned a gold medal and was named outstanding drum major.

Click here for more info and videos from the festival.

The Military School Band & Choir Festival is a national event, drawing schools and colleges from across the United States. This year’s festival roster includes more than 140 cadets and bandmasters, choir directors, and chaperons from eight military academies, including the following:

  • Army & Navy Academy, Carlsbad, CA
  • Hargrave Military Academy, Chatham, VA
  • Fork Union Military Academy, Fork Union, VA
  • Missouri Military Academy, Mexico, MO
  • New Mexico Military Institute, Roswell, NM
  • Randolph-Macon Academy, Front Royal, VA
  • Saint John’s Northwestern Academies, Delafield, WI
  • U. S. Coast Guard Academy, New London, CT
  • Valley Forge Military Academy and College, Wayne PA
  • Virginia Military Institute, Lexington VA

MMA Band Director James Garrett, Choir Director Christina Stout, and Pipe Major Stuart Mackenzie led MMA cadets on the trip. 

“This festival was an incredible educational opportunity for our cadets.  They were pushed to remain focused and driven during two days of intense rehearsals, and as a result, both the band and the choir produced a wonderful concert, and both Cadets Hagan and Ahuja performed well in the drum major competition,” said Stout.

“While there, the cadets made friends from around the country, and it was a pleasure to see them socializing and networking. Our MMA cadets received multiple compliments for both for their musical abilities and their character and behavior. They made MMA proud this weekend!”

The 2023 festival featured a concert band and a festival choir composed of military high school and college cadets and a clinic for military high school and college drum majors. Colonel John A. Brodie, Director of Music at Virginia Military Institute, served as the conductor of the Festival Concert Band. MUC James Anderson, the new primary drum major of the US Navy Band, instructed the drum major clinic. The Festival Choir was conducted by Stephen Cramer, who is retired from the US Army Chorus, a former Broadway Star, and who currently teaches at the University of Wyoming.  

Cadet Justyn Daigle was chosen to sing a solo in the choir portion of the concert.  


The 2023 festival awards presented to MMA cadets are as follows:

Gold Medal: 

  • Outstanding Drum Major: Kruze Hagan (Click here to watch the drum major competition.)

Silver medals: First Chair  

  • Miles Matthews, Clarinet
  • Logan Lockhart Guditis, Bari-Sax
  • Alexei Kester, Timpani

Bronze Medals:


  • Ben Huynh, Flute
  • Miles Matthews, Clarinet
  • Sage Fuller, Trumpet
  • Roman Gabriel, Baritone
  • Landon Meyer, Trombone
  • Logan Lockhart Guditis, Bari-Sax
  • Alexei Kester, Percussion
  • Peter Didicher, Percussion
  • Anthony Melick, Percussion
  • Angelo Urdaneta, Tuba 


  • Tenor 1:  
    • John Branham 
    • Garrett McKinney
  • Tenor 2:
    • Justyn Daigle
    • Elijah Canonico
  • Bass 1:
    • Lex Stallone
    • River Punab-Mitchell
    • Brandon Semiliss
  • Bass 2:
    • Alvoro Gonzalez
    • Tsengeg Bayasgalan
    • Lukas Joiner

Drum Major

  • John Carlos (J.C.) Ahuja
  • Kruze Hagan

About the Military School Band and Choir Festival

The Military School Band and Choir Festival was founded in 1968 by Hargrave Military Academy, Chatham, Virginia, as the Virginia Military School League Band Workshop.  Under the leadership of Ronald L. Horton, then Bandmaster at Hargrave Military Academy and later at Fork Union Military Academy, it was reorganized in 1977, after several years of dormancy, into the Southeastern Military School Band Festival.  An expansion to include military schools outside of the region was completed, and in 1984 the festival became known as the Military School Band Festival (MSBF).

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