Ray Linkous is currently the Director of Bands at Nation Ford High School in Fort Mill, SC where he has taught for 17 years. A native of Virginia, he grew up in the Blue Ridge Mountain area of Roanoke, VA and received his Bachelor’s degree in Music Education from Radford University, where he studied composition and conducting with Mark Camphouse.
In 1995 he moved to Kansas to begin work on his Master of Music degree in Conducting at Wichita State University and served as the Graduate Teaching Assistant for University Bands while studying conducting with Dr. Victor Markovich and Jay Decker. Ray started his teaching career at Shepton High School in Plano, TX where he received the 1997-1998 Plano ISD New Teacher of the Year Award. In 1999 he joined the original cast of the Tony and Emmy-winning musical stage production, BLAST! as a tuba performer and conductor and would go on to serve as Music Manager and Company Manager for the next two follow-up BLAST! productions, SHOCKWAVE and CYBERJAM.
Ray has nearly 30 years of experience in the drum corps activity which began as a marching member of the Star of Indiana in 1991 & 1992. He has been a brass instructor for the Crossmen (1993 & 1994), The Cadets (1997 & 1998), and Carolina Crown (1999, 2005, and 2009-2019). He also served as the Director of Operations and Education at Carolina Crown from 2006-2008. Ray was a founding member of the Xi Theta Chapter of Phi Mu Alpha at Radford University, and is a member of the South Carolina Band Directors Association, the South Carolina Music Educators Association, the National Association for Music Education, and Phi Beta Mu.
Ray resides in the neighboring town of Rock Hill, SC and lives with his husband, Nick, and their dog, Louie. Ray is excited to work with and learn from the amazing educators and creators at the Santa Clara Vanguard!