Douglas S. Freeman High School Bands
Rob Blankenship, Director
Matt Goves (Percussion Instructor) has been active in the Greater Richmond area as a performer, clinician and educator since 1990. For the past 25 years he has worked with the Freeman band writing for and instructing the Marching Band in the fall and the Percussion Ensemble in the spring. He also serves as the percussion instructor for The Collegiate School and maintains his own private studio. Mr. Goves has had the pleasure of performing with the Richmond Symphony, The Commonwealth Winds and as a featured soloist the Virginia Commonwealth University Symphony. As well, he played an average of 250 shows a year with his band, The Ernies, whose music has been featured on video games, television shows and in movies. Most recently, Mr. Goves has become a student of Scottish Highland drumming and enjoys performing and competing with The Greater Richmond Pipes and Drums up and down the East coast.
Rob Blankenship (Director) has been teaching music in Henrico County for the past 19 years. In 2006 he was named Director of Bands at DSF. Prior to that, he taught music at Longan Elementary School and Pemberton Elementary School. He is an alumnus of Douglas Freeman High School and a holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Longwood College. Before attending Longwood, Mr. Blankenship served in the United States Army with the 26th Army Band at Ft. Hamilton, NY and the 1st Cavalry Division Band at Ft. Hood, TX. His duties in the army included service as a clarinet player, saxophone player, vocalist and arranger. He is a member of Phi Beta Mu International Bandmasters Frathernity, the National Association for Music Education (NAfMe), and Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia. He is a regular performer with The Commonwealth Winds, is the associate director of the Richmond Concert Band and is the director of the Richmond Jazz Band. He is also an amateur composer and arranger. In 2012 his composition "Hail To Longwood U" was chosen by Longwood University as the school's new fight song. Mr. Blankenship lives in Henrico County with his wife, Angie, and their two children, Jesse and Julie.
Julie Gaines Walton (Flute Instructor) is returning for her eighth year as an instructor with the flute section at Douglas Freeman. She attended Albemarle High School in Charlottesville, VA and received both a BM in Music Education and a BA in Liberal Studies from Longwood University in Farmville, VA, where she was first chair flute in the Wind Symphony for two years and graduated summa cum laude. She currently integrates music in her work with senior adults as a chaplain in a local retirement community and is active in playing in ensembles with friends and colleagues throughout the year. She always enjoys working with the talented students at Douglas Freeman and is looking forward to another great year together. Julie lives in Richmond with her husband, Jeff.
Brittany Siler (Color Guard Instructor) is an alumni of Freeman High School, and holds a Music Education degree from James Madison University. She was a member of Freeman’s color guard for 3 years, and was captain her senior year. She also participated in Godwin High School’s winter guard program in high school. While at JMU, Brittany was a member of the color guard for the Marching Royal Dukes as well as a member of JMU Nuance Purple Winter Guard. She also served on the executive board for Sigma Tau Iota (FLOC), the color guard service organization at JMU.