The Voice of the MRDs

Bill Posey, pictured here as Officer Krupke during the “Officer Krupke” number during the 1978 season. Image can be found on the 1978 Halftime Highlights Record

In compiling a history of the Marching Royal Dukes, the best resource for information is someone who has been there for it all. Mr. William Posey joined the band at Madison College in 1973, its second year in existence. When asked about his initial involvement with the band, Bill replied that it was the first activity he became involved with on campus. One thing he enjoyed as a member was that during band camp (which occurred the week before classes) he automatically made 100 friends. The band practiced drill and learned music for the single halftime show, which would be performed all season.

Bill was a part time student throughout his college career and took six years to finish his degree in music. In his second year he was a student drill instructor, and worked his way up from there. As drill instructor he taught marching fundamentals and filled in “holes” when necessary. The term “Posey rill” arose to describe the pace with which Mr. Posey taught his half of the band. Everybody in his block worked hard and concentrated on learning the drill so that they could finish fast and sit down during rehearsals while the other block was still “plodding along.” (“Posey”) He was drum major during his last season, in 1979. Contrary to popular belief, in the above image Mr. Posey was not the drum major. He is pictured here during the 1978 season as Officer Krupke in the West Side Story show. Mr. Posey has been with the band program since 1973, first as a member, and since 1981 as part of the band staff.

“BFP”, as Mr. Posey is affectionately called by current band members, is known as the voice of the MRDs. For as long as anyone can remember, he has announced the band for nearly every performance. However, this was not always part of his job description. Bill’s roommate and former drum major under Ken Moulton, David Greennagle, was the first announcer for the band. Greennagle overheard someone say that Bands of America had deemed the ensemble as “one of the finest bands,” and turned that into “Virginia’s Finest” for his announcements. When Greennagle left, Posey got the job unexpectedly at a staff meeting. Click here: “Posey Introduction” to hear an accurate depiction of Mr. Posey giving his “Virginia’s Finest” introduction.  The song is the 20th Century Fox Fanfare/Star Wars and is from a later compact disc recording of the Marching Royal Dukes, their 1996 album.

Mr. Posey today.  Follow the link to read more about Mr. Posey on the School of Music website.

Interviewing Mr. Posey for this project was a real treat. He helped confirm and explain some facts and images that I had questions about and provided a valuable insight to how the band functioned during the 1970s. Click here:  Interview Transcript to read the transcript of our interview.

 

 

Works Cited:

James Madison University – Marching Royal Dukes Alumni Band. William Posey. https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10150101619084113&set=a.10150101024839113.273945.201844294112&type=3&theater Accessed March 24, 2012.

Posey, Bill. 2012. Interview by Kayla Payne. Harrisonburg, VA. April 6.

“William Posey” http://www.jmu.edu/music/faculty_areas/music_administration/index.html#posey . Accessed 18 Apr 2012.