Alumni Spotlight: Jerald Lancaster - Christopher Newport University


Alumni Spotlight: Jerald Lancaster

Jerald Lancaster ’97 helped grow CNU’s music department while going on to direct a Virginia high school honor band.

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Jerald Lancaster
Jerald Lancaster

After graduating from Christopher Newport, Lancaster immediately put his skills to use in other classroom settings. “I taught at the Choir and Drama School in Newport News,” he says. “I spent the next 12 years teaching at Spratley Middle School in Hampton as director of bands, and then I transferred to Bethel High School.”

At Bethel, Lancaster was able to take his students to new heights as a high school band. “After four years of hard work we were named a Virginia Honor Band during the 2012-13 school year,” he says. To accomplish this feat, a high school band must earn superior ratings in both the State Marching and District Concert Assessments. It is the highest recognition a high school band can attain.

Lancaster’s talent was evident throughout his undergraduate career. “I was fortunate to have been involved in so much of the early growth of our music department,” he says. “I had the honor of being the first tuba major, singing for the chamber singers in “Trial by Jury,” being the background in CNU’s first production of “Chicago” and being present for the university’s first tour of Scotland.” He was also a founding member of the Performing Arts Society, co-founder of the Pep-Band and a charter member of CNU’s chapter of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, a national music fraternity.

Lancaster attributes his success to the quality of the university’s music program and to the mentorship of Dr. Mark Reimer, director of the music department. “He was tough, fair and wouldn’t allow someone to fail, but at the same time made us work hard for every grade,” Lancaster explains. “Because of the education he provided, I was able to conduct our Wind Ensemble at the spring concert, which was one of the highlights of my college career.”

Reimer has since kept track of Lancaster’s accomplishments and is proud of how far he has come. “It’s quite challenging to go to a high school band and leave your mark,” he says. “Jerald has completely transformed the program at Bethel High School and gotten his students invested in reaching the highest level of success. I can’t wait to see where he goes next.”

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