WO2 Philip Evans RM (Ret’d)
Director of Music Valley Forge Military Academy & College
WO2 Phil Evans was born in Barnstaple, North Devon, England, on the 21st of February 1967. At the age of 5 he started his musical career learning to play the oboe at his school, St Michaels, Tawstock, in Devon. During his time at school, Phil performed concerts on stage and the radio and studied under ‘Jimmy’ Green who was once the principle oboist of the LSO and the LPO.
At the age of 11 Phil joined the local Royal British Legion Band as the principle oboist and it was here that his love of military and wind band music started. After watching the Royal Marines Band on TV during the FA Cup final Phil decided to try for a musical career in the Royal Marines. He succeeded at the auditions and was accepted to join as a flautist and saxophonist as there were no vacancies for an oboist. He accepted the offer and joined in September 1983.
After finishing his training in 1986 he was drafted to the Staff Band of the Royal Marines School of Music in Deal, Kent. After a year with the Royal Marines School of Music (RMSoM) Band he was drafted to the Band of HM Royal Marines Commando Training Centre Royal Marines (CTCRM), subsequently returning to the Band of HM Royal Marines RMSoM and when the Band at Deal closed in 1996 he went back to the Southwest again to the Band of HM Royal Marines Britannia Royal Naval College (BRNC), Dartmouth. During his time at BRNC Phil was promoted to Corporal and then Sergeant. While at Dartmouth, Phil was the Sub-Aqua Diving Officer for the College training some 250 students to dive.
During 1998-99 he attended the year long Bandmasters course at the Higher Training Department of the Royal Marines School of Music in Portsmouth. As a Royal Marine’s career progresses, musicians and buglers return to the Royal Marines School of Music to undergo further musical training to qualify them for higher rank. This culminates in a place on the Student Bandmasters’ Course that is widely recognized as one of the most demanding courses of its type. Students study all the main music disciplines; the orchestral and contemporary wind band repertoire and they work with renowned figures from the world of music. WO2 Phil Evans passed the courses with a superior pass and was awarded the Licentiate of the Royal Schools of Music diploma in Conducting and Bandmastership.
After the course he was drafted back to BRNC and also was promoted to Colour Sergeant. During this time he became very involved with the Big Band and played to a variety of audiences around the country. He led the Big Band in a CD recording called ‘Dancing Men’ which featured one of the finest jazz trombonists, Mark Nightingale. This Big Band CD recording was a first for the Band at Dartmouth, and it has been a great success.
In April 2003 Phil was given the position of Bandmaster to the Volunteer Band of HMS Collingwood and during his time with the Band they won the Best Concert Band in the Royal Navy twice, performed for the Second Sea Lord, Fareham Mayor and also traveled with the Volunteer Band of HMS Nelson to the Rhine Valley in Germany for a musical tour.
During his time at HMS Collingwood, Phil was promoted to WO2 Bandmaster but very soon after his promotion he was drafted to the Supply Department of the Royal Marines Band Service and then to the Headquarters of the Royal Marines Band Service.
For the remainder of his career, Phil was the Bandmaster for the Band of Her Majesty’s Royal Marines, Portsmouth “The Royal Band”.
Phil has recently been awarded a Bachelor of Music honors degree studying conducting with Dr. Harlan Parker and composition and arranging with Johan de Meij.
In 2008 by Phil founded the Pennsylvania Symphonic Winds (PSW) with the vision of providing an outlet for accomplished local musicians to perform exemplary music for the people of the Philadelphia area, while at the same time educating the public in the different genres of music.
He now holds the position of the Director of Music at Valley Forge Military Academy & College, Wayne, Pennsylvania, USA where he lives with his wife Francesca and his three daughters, Natalya, Yolanda and Giselle.
VF Lucky to have Phil; thanks for all you do Phil!