graduated from Brigham Young University
with a bachelor's degree in brass performance
. As a student, McQuay participated in the Philharmonic Orchestra, Wind Symphony, Symphony Orchestra, Symphonic Band, and Marching Band. He also played in the BYU Honors Brass Quintet and was a founding member of the BYU Honors Tuba-Euphonium Quartet.
In 2008, he was awarded an Oscarson Discovery Grant, which paid for him to take part as a semifinalist in the Young Artist Division Solo Tuba Competition and perform in the Collegiate All-Star Ensemble at the International Tuba Euphonium Conference at the University of Cincinnati Conservatory of Music.