Judges for VMBC Championships
Ron Comfort is from Portland, Oregon, and has been actively designing, teaching, consulting and adjudicating the pageantry arts for 25 years. He has served on the Board of Directors for the Northwest Association for Performing Arts (NWAPA), Winter Guard International (WGI), and the Florida Federation of Colorguards Circuit (FFCC). With that association comes a wealth of experience judging for WGI, DCI, NWAPA, ISSMA, and the FFJA among many other professional associations. Mr. Comfort co-founded the Shaktai Performance Company in 1989, an independent winter guard program that was a consistent WGI national finalist and led the activity in movement and staging innovation. He also had the pleasure of teaching the Madison Scouts color guard from 1995 through 2000 and Paradigm Winterguard from 2003 through 2007. Currently he is on the design and administrative teams for Paradigm Winterguard (Daytona Beach, FL) and Summit Winterguard (Portland, OR).
Doug Casteen currently resides in Richmond, Virginia and is a graduate of North Carolina State University. He has been judging marching bands, drum corps and color guards for the last 25 years. He has been active as an adjudicator for many band associations across the US. He has recently judged state championships competitions for Oklahoma. Colorado, Kentucky, and Pennsylvania. He is currently the Chief Judge for the Atlantic Indoor Association (AIA) where he inducted in the AIA Hall of Honor in 2006 for his contributions to the circuit. He is the current Chief Judge for the Virginia Marching Band Cooperative (VMBC). He has judged all visual captions for Drum Corps International (DCI) and currently judges for the Winds Division of Winter Guard International (WGI). He served as a General Effect Judge for Color Guard Division of WGI for 12 seasons where he judged over 40 Regional Championships and 6 World Championships. His performing experience includes marching in DCI with Avant Garde from Saratoga Springs, NY, the 27th Lancers from Revere, MA, and the Star of Indiana from Bloomington, IN. He performed the Star Alumni Drum Corps in 2004 and 2010. He has instructed various marching bands, winter guards, and drum corps throughout the Southeastern US.
Reiko Casteen is a native of East Tennessee. She graduated from Daniel Boone High School, East Tennessee State University, and Eastern Virginia Medical School. She has taught several guards (fall and indoor) throughout her career. Her judging experience includes serving as a movement caption judge in the Atlantic Indoor Association since 2004 and has been judging marching band competitions across the Southeastern US for the past 15 years. Her winter guard performing experience includes Daniel Boone High School from 1992-1995, Nuendo Winter Guard from 1996- 2000 where they were the WGI Bronze Medalists in 1996, and Infiniti World Winter Guard in 2003. Reiko’s drum corps experience includes marching with Phantom Regiment Drum and Bugle Corps from Rockford, Illinois from 1994 (3rd place), 1995 (5th place), and 1996 (DCI Gold Medalist). Reiko currently lives in Richmond, VA with husband and son.
Bob Thomas judges or has judged for Drum Corp International (DCI), Winter Guard International WGI), Drum Corp Midwest, Drum Corp Atlantic, Indiana State Scholastic Music Association (ISMMA), Bands of America (BOA), Drum Corp Europe (DCE), Youth Education in the Arts (YEA), Ohio Judges Association, Florida Federation of Judges, Atlantic Indoor Association (AIA), Pennsylvania Federation of Judges, and Marching in Okayama, Japan, Drum Corp Associates (DCA). In 2008 he judged the World Marching Band Championships in Malaysia. He judged the 2009 Thailand Drum Line Competition. He recently returned from Malaysia where he taught the DCE Judges college for DCE license partner M World Band Championships.
He has been the Director of Education for Drum Corp Europe for the past 15 years. He designed the current scoring system for Drum Corp Asia which is currently being used in 16 countries. He has also been the Director of Education for the Florida Judges Association, the Ohio Judges Association, and the Atlantic Indoor Association. Bob was very instrumental in helping establish the VMBC judging system.
Dr. Chris Sharp
Chris Sharp, Ph.D. is a professional composer, arranger and orchestrator currently living in Lynchburg, VA. Educated at the University of Florida and the University of Miami, he has served the music field in a wide range of capacities. As a trombonist, Dr. Sharp worked as a full-time performing musician and bandleader at Walt Disney World for eleven years. In addition, he has served as an arranger/orchestrator for the Disney parks worldwide since 1984, providing music for atmosphere groups, live shows, recording sessions and national television broadcasts. He also has written for numerous freelance clients including Universal Studios, SeaWorld, Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus, the Boston Pops, the Dallas Brass and several service bands including the famed USAF Airmen of Note.
Mr. Sharp is currently serving as a Visiting Assistant Professor of Music at Lynchburg College where he conducts the instrumental ensembles and teaches music theory and humanities courses. Dr. Sharp has served as a clinician and guest conductor on numerous occasions, and has extensive experience as an adjudicator judging for several organizations including Bands of America and Drum Corps International. His compositions and arrangements for concert and jazz band have enjoyed widespread performances, including annual appearances at the prestigious Midwest Clinic in Chicago. He has received the ASCAPlus award multiple times.
Jason Derting (Visual, Color Guard) has been teaching and judging marching band for over 20 years. He has marched with 3 finalists at Winter Guard International (WGI) including winning a world championship with Infiniti Winter Guard and Chimeras World Winter Guard. Jason was a clarinet and drummer in marching band and has experience teaching and designing band and color guard shows for various high schools in Virginia and Tennessee. Jason is currently an Adjudicator for the Atlantic Indoor Association (AIA), Mid-Continental Color Guard Association (MCGC), and other winter guard circuits in the United States. He is entering his 3rd season as a WGI Equipment Judge this year. He adjudicates numerous marching band competitions annually in Virginia, North Carolina and Tennessee. He resides in Fredericksburg, VA with his wife and 2 children, working as a Physical Therapist Assistant.
Matthew Phillips is a native of Chesapeake and is in his sixth year as a band director in the Hugo Owens Middle School program. His responsibilities include teaching the 6th, 7th, and 8th grade bands as well as leading the Hugo Owens Jazz Band. Before teaching at Hugo Owens Middle School, Mr. Phillips taught for three years at Hickory High School and two years at Oscar Smith High School in Chesapeake, VA. Like many other local band directors Mr. Phillips received his Bachelor's Degree in Music Education from East Carolina University and earned his Master's Degree in Secondary Education from Old Dominion University, studying with Jon Wacker, Scott Carter, Christopher Knighten, Dennis Zeisler, and Gregory Hurley. He has performed in the Virginia Wind Symphony for the past ten years, and also serves as a private percussion teacher. Mr. Phillips has served as a successful percussion instructor/clinician to many local schools, with multiple seasons of service at Great Bridge, Hickory, and now Grassfield High Schools. Earning the respect of his fellow Music Educators, Mr. Phillips has most recently been elected to serve as the Virginia Band and Orchestra Directors Association District 4 Representative, serving and representing music educators from Portsmouth, Suffolk, Isle of Wight County, and Chesapeake. Mr. Phillips is currently a member of the Percussive Arts Society, MENC, and NEA.
Todd Fox is a graduate of Edinboro University of Pennsylvania and has been a music educator for over twenty-five years. In this time he’s held many roles in music education and the pageantry arts. Mr. Fox began as the band director at Brooke High School (WV) for five years, Quaker Valley High School (PA) for fourteen years, marching band director at Gateway High School (PA) for two years and currently the Band Director at Quaker Valley Middle School. His bands, winter guards, and drum line(s) have received countless superior ratings in local, state, regional and national contests, named BOA Regional Finalists, and have been awarded numerous class and grand champion awards throughout Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio and others.
Mr. Fox’s Drum corps career began in 1976 with the Thunderbirds Sr. Drum & Bugle Corps from Erie, Pa. where he was a member of the percussion section for seven years. Since that time he’s held the role of instructor, designer, composer, & consultant, for many other drum corps, marching bands, winter guards, and indoor drum lines such as the General Butler Vagabonds (PA), Ventures (Canada), Golden Lancers (PA), Centurions Indoor Drum Line (PA), and many others.
Mr. Fox has been a music adjudicator since 1990 and has been the Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Federation of Contest Judges (PFCJ) for eight of those years. He currently judges winter guard, indoor percussion, and marching bands throughout the U.S. and Canada and has judged in the Music caption for over fifteen years with Drum Corps International including numerous regional and national championship contests. Mr. Fox resides in the Pittsburgh, PA area with his wife, Mariann and two children, Mia and Ryan.
Steve Calhoun has been a music educator, clinician, consultant and adjudicator for over 30 years. He is a graduate of Jacksonville State University, the University of West Georgia and Lincoln Memorial University. His bands have won numerous awards locally, nationally and internationally, and have performed in Ireland, Australia, and twice for President Ronald Regan. He has judged the finals for DCI, DCA, WGI, BOA, Drum Corps Japan, ISSMA, USSBA, MCBA, KMEA as well as many other local and regional shows. He has served as judge administrator for the Southeastern Color Guard Circuit, Drum Corps South, and is currently the percussion judge administrator for SAPA.
Jeff Bridges has over 30 years in design and judging for winter guards, marching band, and drum corps. Most of that time was spent in South Florida. Jeff has designed and worked with many WGI finalists and world champions in the A and Open class.
Jeff is an active judge still for SFWGA/FFCC including guard, percussion and winds. He is an Ensemble and General Effect specialist as well as providing overall consultations at many contests. He currently judges the visual caption for the WGI Winds Division. He was the former Director of the Crossmen Drum and Bugle Corps and was recently inducted into the Colts Drum and Bugle Corps for his contributions to the group over the years. He was a former marching member of the Crossmen as well.
Joshua K Potter is currently the Director of Bands at Providence Senior High School. Previously, Mr. Potter was the Director of Bands at Raleigh Wakefield High School for eleven years – beginning with its opening in 2000. He received his Bachelor of Music Education from UNC - Chapel Hill and completed a Masters in Wind Band Conducting at ECU. Mr. Potter also served as the Director of Bands at West Rowan HS and Charlotte Catholic HS.
During his time at Wakefield, the program developed into a comprehensive music education program that featured three concert ensembles, two jazz bands, a percussion ensemble studio and a winter percussion ensemble, four winter guards, a chamber music program, and a music theory and AP Music Theory program. The marching band was a Bands of America Regional Championship Finalist on multiple occasions. The Winter Guard was a four-time Winter Guard International World Championships finalist. The Wakefield band program was featured twice at the NC Music Educator’s Conference.
At Providence, the Wind Ensemble was a featured ensemble at the 2013 NC Music Educator’s Conference. In addition, the Pride of Providence Marching Band was a finalist at the 2013 Bands of America Winston-Salem Super Regional, the first band from Charlotte to earn this honor.
Michael Kirby currently lives in Washington DC. He is a former snare line member of the Crossmen, Blue Knights and Brigadiers Drum and Bugle Corps. He is a former instructor of the Univ. at Buffalo and Thomas Jefferson HSST. He is long-time percussion judge for the Atlantic Indoor Association.
Kevin Bell has been involved in pageantry for most of his life. Coming from parents who were both actively involved in the marching activity, Kevin has followed in their footsteps. Kevin’s involvement in the marching activity has taken on the role of performer, designer and adjudicator over the past 28 years. Currently Kevin lives in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania and is recognized primarily as a visual designer, clinician and adjudicator for some of the most esteemed Winter Guard and Percussion circuits around the country, as well as many State Marching Band Championships. Kevin is also a former WGI Color Guard judge, DCI Visual judge and DCA Visual judge.
Jim Brooks obtained his Bachelor of Music degree from Wright State University in1980, and was the assistant band director Kokomo HS, Kokomo Indiana, from 1981-1982, and was the assistant director at Centerville, (OH) High School, from 1983-1988. At both Kokomo and Centerville, he designed and instructed the winter guard, directed the percussion ensemble, and was visual designer for the marching band. Jim did graduate work at the University of Dayton in Educational Leadership, and also at Wright State University in music education. He was a band director and music educator in Dayton Public schools from 1992-2002.
Jim was an extra percussionist with the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra and has performed professionally with such artist as, Moody Blues, Doc Severinsen, Shirley Jones, Clarke Terry, Lionel Hampton, Art Garfunkle, Roger Williams, and Sarah Vaughn. He played drums and percussion for dozens of musical theater productions in the greater Dayton/Cincinnati area, including: Sweeney Todd, Evita, Brigadoon, Children Of Eden, Cats, Gypsy, Cabaret, A Chorus Line, Guys and Dolls, Applause, Anything Goes, Will Rogers Follies, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, Falsettoland, and many others.
Jim is the color guard judges coordinator for the Mideast Judges Association, and judges for numerous other circuits across the country. He has judged for WGI, DCI, and DCA. He currently resides in Centerville, Ohio.
Dave Kaiser is the Director of Bands for Wyoming City Schools, Wyoming, OH, teaching grades 5 - 12 band, jazz band, and marching band. He has taught in Indiana, Illinois, and Ohio in his 33-year career. David is an active member of the Central States Judges Association of America for the past 15 years and is currently Music Caption Head, a WGI Winds Music Analysis Adjudicator, as well as judging for the indoor circuits IPA, MEPA, and GPC. He is a member of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, and the Ohio Music Educators Association, where is has chaired various All-State and District Jazz Events in both Illinois and Ohio, as well as serving on the OMEA Adjudicated Events Committee. Over the years, Davids bands have had tremendous success in Concert, Marching, and Jazz programs. David was Co-Chair of the Miami Valley Jazz Camp for many years, and has guest conducted honor Jazz bands, Concert bands, and recently the Kettering Civic Band. He has a BA in Music Education from Western Illinois University and a MA in Music Education from VanderCook College of Music. David is also a performing member of the Ohio Valley British Brass Band.
Tim Gauldin is in his ninth year as Director of Bands at Kempsville Middle School. The KMS Band program offers 6th, 7th and 8th grade bands, Pep Band, Jazz Band and the KMS Flag Team. He received the prestigious Tagged by the Superintendent Award for the Virginia Beach City Public School System in 2015 for his work in the class room and the quality of his student’s performances.
He was the designer for the 2011 United States Scholastic Band Association Group VI National Champions Munford High School Band from Munford, TN. They marched in the 2015 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade! In April 2017, Mr. Gauldin conducted the Virginia Band and Orchestra Director’s Association District V All-Regional Band.
Mr. Gauldin was the Director of Bands at Kempsville High School in Virginia Beach Virginia from 2009-2012. Under his direction, the Bands of Kempsville have continued their winning traditions, being named a 2010-2011 VIRGINIA HONOR BAND and the 2010 United States Scholastic Band Association Virginia State Marching Band Champions. Also, Kempsville High School was named into the VBODA HALL OF FAME in 2011. In October of 2009, he was awarded the Kempsville High School Faculty “Make a Difference” Award for his influence on students. In April 2010, he was honored to guest conduct the Chesapeake All-City Band.
Prior to teaching at Kempsville High School, he was a freelance designer. Since starting his own business in 2001, he taught high school marching bands and winter guards in Virginia, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, South Dakota, Michigan, Wisconsin, New Hampshire, Florida, Alabama, Texas, Tennessee, New Mexico, Oklahoma and California. He was the visual caption head and color guard instructor at Western Branch High School, from Chesapeake, VA, was twice a medalist at the Atlantic Indoor Association Championships. In addition, the Bassett HS Marching Band, a three-time Bands of America Semi-finalist. Mr. Gauldin instructed the Lincoln HS Marching Band, Sioux Falls, SD, from 2006-2010. The Lincoln HS Marching Band participated in the 2008 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Also, Mr. Gauldin was a co-founder of The Study, a three-time Winter Guard International Finalist. He is most proud of designing/instructing the West Johnston HS Winter Guard from 2002 – 2009. The West Johnston Open Guard was the 2009 Winter Guard International Scholastic Open Class Champions.
Mr. Gauldin was the former Director of Bands at Herndon Middle School in Herndon, VA and LeRoy Martin Middle School, a Gifted and Talented Magnet School, in Raleigh, NC. While at LeRoy Martin Middle School he built the band program to over 270 students. Additionally, the LeRoy Martin Middle School had 40 students selected for the Wake County All-County Band, 24 students selected for the North Carolina Bandmasters Association All-District Band, and six students selected for the North Carolina Bandmasters Association All-State Band.
Prior to teaching at the middle school level, he was the Director of Bands at Frank W. Cox High School in Virginia Beach, VA from 1994-1998. Under his direction, the Frank W. Cox High School Band was a Virginia Honor Band from 1996-1998 and won numerous awards and superior ratings. In 1995, his Symphonic Wind Ensemble gave a command performance for Queen Sonya of Norway. Additionally, he was Director of Bands at Nelson County High School from 1988-1992. In 1990, his “Marching Governors” were selected to march in the inaugural parade for Governor L. Douglas Wilder.
He attended Virginia Commonwealth University on a trumpet scholarship and received a Bachelor of Music Education in 1988. During his senior year, he was named to the National Dean's List, selected as an Outstanding College Student of America and was named to the Outstanding Young Men of America. In 1992, he was awarded a teaching assistantship at VCU, where his teaching responsibilities included being the Director of the University Band and the RamBand, assistant conductor of the Symphonic Wind Ensemble and teaching Marching Band Techniques. He received his Master of Music Education with an emphasis in wind band conducting in 1994 from Virginia Commonwealth University.
He was the Visual Consultant/Program Designer for Mystical Drum and Bugle Corps from Newbury Park, CA. Additionally, he has taught the 1990-1992 Magic of Orlando Drum and Bugle Corps and the 1987-1988 Naval Academy Drum and Bugle Corps. He was a member of the 1987 Cavaliers Drum and Bugle Corps from Rosemont, IL.
As an adjudicator, he judges for the Virginia Marching Band Cooperative, the Atlantic Indoor Association, Virginia Band and Orchestra Directors Association, the Carolina Indoor Performance Association and the United States Scholastic Band Association. Professionally, he is a member of the National Association for Music Education, the Virginia Music Educators Association and the Virginia Band and Orchestra Directors Association.