The Mandarins Academy at Sac State

The Mandarins Academy is pleased to announce the following Directors:

• Drum Major Academy Director – Marvin Reed
• Brass Academy Director– Chris Langton
• Guard Academy Director – Jeremiah Wade
• Woodwind Academy Director – Kalei Cablay
• Percussion Academy Director – Ryan Lee

From Milt Gee, Mandarins Academy Director:
The 2018 Mandarins Academy, its 11th year, looks to continue to grow in both size and in its benefit to students and their school music programs. Continued high expectations have been placed on the Mandarins Academy Directors and educators to provide a unique and diverse educational experience to meet the needs of all skill levels. This team consists of technicians, clinicians, and credentialed teachers experienced with elementary, middle, and high schools, colleges, performing arts organizations, Mandarins Academy, and the Sacramento Mandarins and other drum corps.

Part of the Mandarins Academy’s unique experience is due to the Directors and educators having performed or taught with the Sacramento Mandarins drum corps, so they are able to expose Mandarins Academy students to the teaching method and material used by the drum corps. A portion of the Mandarins Academy sessions is focused on auditioning in general, beneficial to those auditioning for the corps or for any performing arts organization.

With each year, something new is added. In 2016, we added a Woodwind Academy and we added leadership development for those students who have a leadership role in their school music program. In 2017, we expanded leadership development to all students. Stay tuned for what’s new in 2018. Mandarins Academy has also grown, from 63 students in 2015 to 131 students in 2016 to 166 students in 2017. And for the last 3 years, Mandarins Academy students have performed for family and friends at ourFamily and Friends Showcase.

All of this supports the mission of the Mandarins Academy: to further the students’ skills in technique, musicianship, performance, and leadership development, all in support of their school music program. Mandarins Academy Directors and educators are committed to achieving that mission.

Marvin Reed – Mandarins Academy Assistant Director and Drum Major Academy Director
Marvin Reed resides in the Bay area, where he works as a Third Grade Teacher at Thousand Oaks Elementary School (Berkeley Unified School District). He holds a B.A. in Sociology, an M.A. in Higher Education and Leadership Policies, and a Multiple Subjects Teaching Credential from California State University, Sacramento, where he was the Drum Major of the Hornet Marching Band. Marvin has worked with many prestigious Marching Band programs around California (Granite Bay, Fairfield, John F. Kennedy, Ayala, American Canyon, Elk Grove, Laguna Creek, Foothill, California and Ponderosa High Schools). Marvin has been part of the Concord Blue Devils organization (Blue Devils 'B' and the Blue Devils ‘A’ Corps). Marvin has also been the Drum Major coordinator for Blue Devils 'B' and the Sacramento Mandarins Drum and Bugle Corps. He is currently the Assistant Director and Drum Major Academy Director of the Sacramento Mandarins Academy.

Chris Langton – Brass Academy 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.

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. From 2014 to 2018, he has performed in Sacramento State University's Color Guard as a captain and a soloist, and was announced as co-director of the Sac State Color Guard. He has also performed with the Sacramento Mandarins Color Guard in their historic 2016, 2017, and 2018 seasons, being a captain for 2 seasons, and also with the acclaimed Imbue Winter Guard beginning in 2018. Aside from performing, he has also been teaching various color guards at the 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 in returning as the Guard Academy Director for the 2018 season.

Kalei Cablay – Woodwind Academy Director
Born and raised in Hawaii, Kalei Cablay has been part of the Sacramento Mandarins since 2008. She joined the drum corps as a member of the Color Guard. Kalei "aged-out" in 2013 as the Color Guard Captain and joined the instructional staff for the 2014 and 2015 seasons. Kalei has been involved with the corps Admin team since 2016. After graduating from high school, Kalei attended Sacramento State as a Music Education and Clarinet Performance double major. She later went on to complete the California Credential program with a single-subject certificate in Music. In 2017, Kalei graduated with her Masters in Music: Conducting. Kalei is now a second-year teacher in the Lammersville Unified School District. She teaches elementary general music, beginning band, advanced band, and advanced choir. Kalei is very excited to serve as the Mandarins Woodwind Academy Director this year and looks forward to building a strong woodwind program to supplement the organization.

Ryan R. J. Lee – Percussion Academy Director
Ryan is an in-demand marching arts instructor, clinician and percussionist from Sacramento, CA. He is also a drill designer and consultant for competitive field marching bands, indoor percussion ensembles and winter color guards. Ryan has an extensive background in the field of percussion and pageantry, having worked with over thirty programs at the middle school, high school, collegiate and independent levels. He also adjudicates for several competition circuits and associations in Central and Northern California. 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. This will be his second year as the Mandarins Percussion Academy Director and is excited to provide its students the opportunity to learn and grow as musicians as a result of the program.

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.

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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:

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 years of age. 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 9, September 30, October 28, and November 25. 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. The last 3 years, the Mandarins Academy performed at a Kings game, and the last session includes our Family and Friends Showcase.

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 instruction beginning at 12:30 PM. At the end of the last session we invite all parents to a Family and Friends Showcase 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

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 9, 2018!!!