When Rob Blankenship ’00 was asked to compose a piece in celebration of the Richmond (Virginia) Concert Band’s 50th anniversary, he took his Under Rob Blankenship’s direction, all of Douglas Freeman High School’s instrumental ensembles have earned numerous superior ratings and awards at local, regional and state events.  inspiration from an iconic railway bridge spanning the James River that is well-known for its distinctive arches.

“At sunset, the colors of the sky reflected on the water near the bridge are especially stunning,” Blankenship wrote in the notes for his composition, River City Sunset on the James, published in July 2023 by Claude T. Smith Publications, Inc. Blankenship, a Richmond native who majored in music education at Longwood, also is the composer of Longwood’s fight song.

Since 2006, he has served as the director of bands and orchestras at Richmond’s Douglas Freeman High School. Naming Longwood professors Charlie Kinzer, Lisa Kinzer, Gordon Ring, Thom Williams and others,

Blankenship said, “Those educators, along with the friends I had at Longwood, not only taught me about the musician I wanted to be, but also helped me learn how to be the person I wanted to be.”

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