Southeastern Virginia Music Games (SEVMG)


The 2023 Southeastern Virginia Music Games 

Saturday, September 30th, 2023

Hickory High School
1996 Hawk Blvd
Chesapeake, VA 23322

On the last Saturday of September, the Hickory Marching Hawks host the Southeastern Virginia Music Games, or SEVMG. This event is a competition of bands from around the region. It features renowned judges and enables the audience to view many exceptional bands.  SEVMG is a Virginia Marching Band Cooperative sanctioned event.  More information about VMBC can be found HERE.

Our competition goal is to provide bands with invaluable feedback from a distinguished panel of adjudicators early in the season, to facilitate continued improvement throughout the band season. These judges are selected based on their experience in education, the judging field and their creative writing experiences. It is our feeling that you and your students will benefit greatly from such a wonderful panel. We are looking forward to having a wonderful audience in the 7,500 seat stadium here at Hickory HS. It is also our hope that you are able to enjoy some of the many activities available in this area. Virginia Beach is 25 minutes away, and Williamsburg’s Busch Gardens and Colonial Williamsburg are just an hour away.

Ticket Information:
Adults (ages 13 and up): $15
Youth (ages 6 to 12): $10
Children (ages 5 and under): No Charge



Band Registration Fee $150
Payable to: Hickory Band Parents Association (HBPA)
Hickory High School Band
Attn: Mitchell Reed
1996 Hawk Blvd
Chesapeake, VA 23322


2023 Judges


Music Effect – Christopher Allen  

Chris was born and raised in St. Petersburg, FL and is a graduate of the University of  South Florida, where he received a Bachelor of Arts Degree and Masters Certificate in Horn Performance. He is a member of the Southwest Florida Symphony Orchestra, performs with The Florida Orchestra, Sarasota Orchestra, as well as the Venice Symphony.  Mr. Allen is currently the Orchestra Director at Newsome High School in Lithia, Florida and serves as the Youth Symphony conductor for the Sarasota Orchestra.  He is an active member of the National Association for Music Education, Florida Music Educators Association, and Florida Orchestra Association.

Chris has been involved with the drum and bugle corps activity for over 25 years. He has marched with the Cadets of Bergen County in the early 90’s, and served as a brass technician and as brass caption head for the Glassmen of Toledo Ohio from 1997 to 2003. He has also served as brass caption head for the Boston Crusaders Drum and Bugle Corps for the 2005 season, and worked with the Bluecoats Drum and Bugle Corps from 2012-2013. Most recently, he has served as the Brass Ensemble Consultant for the Blue Stars Drum and Bugle Corps from 2014-2018. As of the summer of 2021, Chris has returned to his drum corps home as a member of the brass faculty at The Cadets Drum and Bugle Corps. Chris currently resides in Lithia, FL with his wife Melissa, and their two children Briana and Joshua, and their Pitbull, Dexter.


Music Ensemble – Dr. Sam Ambrose

Samuel Ambrose turns back-row tuba playing into frontline artistry, bringing high-caliber style to performances, outreach, and educational experiences. His sound supports a variety of ensembles, most recently with the Capital Wind Symphony and Rockville Brass Band. Samuel has also performed for the Richmond Symphony Orchestra, Johnstown Symphony Orchestra, Augusta Symphony Orchestra, and Sunrise Pops Orchestra, as well as freelancing in the Mid-Atlantic region.

As an educator, Dr. Ambrose’s teaching ranges from private instruction to master classes, clinics, and ensemble instruction. He currently teaches Instrumental Music at University Park and Hyattsville Elementary Schools. He is a frequent adjudicator for the Virginia Marching Band Cooperative, and is often in demand as a consultant for many drum corps and marching bands.

Sam currently lives in Hyattsville, MD. He holds a Doctorate of Musical Arts from the University of Maryland, a Master’s degree in Tuba Performance from The Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University, and a Bachelors of Music Education degree from Florida State University. His teachers include David Fedderly and Paul Ebbers.


Visual Effect – Jonathan Duke

A native of Carrollton, Georgia, Jonathan is currently an active national adjudicator and small business owner in Boiling Springs, South Carolina. Before opening his business in 2017, he was director of the indoor and outdoor percussion ensembles at Dorman High School, leading it to competitive success at numerous local, regional, and national events. Notable examples include making the WGI World Championships finals, and winning the CIPA Open Class Championships every year from 2006 to 2016. In 2016, Jonathan served as Percussion Caption Head for the Spirit Of Atlanta drum and bugle corps. 2013 – 2017 Jonathan helped create Civitas Independent from Rock Hill, South Carolina, who took 4th place at the WGI World Championships, before moving to Open class and becoming a perennial finalist powerhouse. Before moving to South Carolina, Jonathan lived in Chattanooga, Tennessee, where he was founder and director of 3-time WGI medalist Velocity Percussion Ensemble, and taught Dalton high school, Soddy-Daisy high school, and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga’s marching percussion ensembles. Jonathan has also taught and written for numerous other ensembles – including Spirit Of Atlanta drum and bugle corps, Magic Of Orlando drum and bugle corps, Scenic City drum and bugle corps, West Georgia College, as well as numerous Georgia, Tennessee, North, and South Carolina high school bands. A former marching member of Spirit, Jonathan is proud to have performed on bass drum and snare drum from 1992-1995, before joining the percussion staff in 1996, and 2016. Jonathan currently resides in Spartanburg, South Carolina.

Visual Ensemble – Jen Barton

JEN BARTON, a native of Greenwood, IN, retired in 2022 from the color guard director position at Rouse HS in Leander, TX, and also served as the color guard coordinator at James Bowie HS in Austin, TX. This follows a 20-year career in the Carolinas, Georgia and Texas working with numerous scholastic and independent performing ensembles, including Byrnes HS, Origins Winter Guard, The Cast Winter Guard, Etude Winter Guard, Pacific Crest Drum Corps, Spirit of Atlanta Drum Corps and Phantom Regiment Drum Corps.. In addition, Jen is a freelance choreographer educator, adjudicator, and consultant throughout the country – working both in-person and virtually to provide color guard and winds choreography, costume and flag design, and other design services.

As a performer, Jen has appeared with Santa Clara Vanguard and Northeast Independent (FL) Winter Guard. She has also performed with the Florida State University Marching Chiefs, ad astra per ASPERA Winter Guard, and CrownGUARD, as well as numerous band and orchestra ensembles in Indiana and Florida.

Jen earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Instrumental Music Education from The Florida State University in 2004, where she studied flute with Stephanie Jutt and Eva Amsler. She participated in Marching Chiefs, Concert and Symphonic Bands, Harmonie Chamber Ensemble, Tau Beta Sigma, Golden Key and Phi Eta Sigma honor societies.

Jen also serves nationally as a regional fall and national winter (CWEA, TCGC, WGASC) adjudicator and has served previously on the Task Force, Classification and Education Committees for Texas Color Guard Circuit (TCGC) and Carolina Winter Ensemble Association (CWEA). She lives in Spartanburg, SC and works at New Groove Artisan Brewery as Events, Merchandise, and Membership Coordinator.

Percussion – Jeff Brooks

Jeff currently resides in Woodbridge, VA and serves as a soldier-musician for The United States Army Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps, one of the Army’s premier bands and the official escort to the President of the United States. A native of Dayton, OH and a graduate of Centerville HS, (OH), Jeff studied Music Education at Eastern Michigan and Wright State University.

His involvement as a performer, educator, designer, and clinician with world-class groups spans decades. He performed in DCI with the Glassmen, Crossmen, Madison Scouts, and Bluecoats, and in WGI marched four seasons with Rhythm X, helping lead them to their first World Championship in 2008 serving as the Ensemble Captain.

As an educator Jeff has worked with Carolina Crown, Madison Scouts, George Mason University, Eastside Fury, Northcoast Academy, and numerous successful high school programs. He is an adjudicator for Drum Corps International, and various indoor drumline and marching band circuits across the country. Jeff is a die-hard Cincinnati Bengals fan, and enjoys poker, the art of pipe smoking, model trains, BBQing, roller coasters, and spending time with his wife Suzie and their daughter, Lizzie. 

Color Guard – Lacie Knight

Lacie Knight is a 2021 graduate from James Madison University’s Masters of Writing, Rhetoric and Technical Communication program and currently works as a Technical Writer in Raleigh, North Carolina. She has been a part of the marching arts for over 10 years. She has marched at James Madison University with the Marching Royal Dukes and Nuance Winterguards, First Flight World, and Etude World. During her time with JMU, she served as a captain for five seasons, and earned a WGI bronze medal in the 2018 WGI World Championships – Independent A class. During her time with Etude World, she was awarded the Mickey McCool WGI Scholarship. She has worked with several schools and programs across the state of Virginia as a technician, choreographer, and director. She currently serves as a colorguard technician at Corinth Holders High School in Wendell, NC.


General Overview (NOT JUDGED) – K.J. Stafford

K.J. Stafford is a full-time music arranger, educator, adjudicator and consultant with over 20 years of experience teaching, writing and designing for band programs and percussion ensembles throughout the United States. Ensembles performing his music include champions, medalists and finalists at national and regional championships in Winter Guard International, Bands of America, and other performing arts circuits.

K.J. has been involved with Drum Corps International for almost two decades. He currently serves as the Assistant Percussion Caption Head for the Santa Clara Vanguard. Since joining the staff in 2011, Vanguard has earned five Fred Sanford Awards for Best Percussion: 2014, 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019 as well as the DCI World Championship in 2018. Prior to working at Vanguard, K.J. also taught on the percussion staff of the Phantom Regiment (2010 DCI High Percussion Champions) and the Troopers (2007-2009). In addition to his teaching and design roles, K.J. also frequently judges and presents clinics throughout the United States and is an active adjudicator with Winter Guard International.

From 2006-2022, KJ was the band director and music department chair at Hickory Middle School in Chesapeake, Virginia. His responsibilities included directing the sixth, seventh, and eighth grade bands, jazz band, woodwind choir and percussion ensembles. Under his direction, the bands at Hickory Middle School consistently received superior ratings at state concert band festivals and were selected to perform at the Virginia Music Educators State Conference.

K.J. earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education from the University of North Texas and a Master’s Degree in Secondary Education from Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia K.J. proudly endorses Innovative Percussion, Remo Drumheads, SABIAN Cymbals and Pearl Drums.


For SEVMG volunteering opportunities and banner/program ad forms through HBPA, Click HERE