The James W. Simmons Solo Competition
The Rev. Dr. Genevieve Murphy Scholarship
for Young Musicians
The competition is named for the 6th director of the Charlottesville Municipal Band, Mr. James W. Simmons, who began playing in the band in 1946 and was appointed its Music Director in 1980. During his 26-year tenure, the band increased in both membership and musicianship, playing many concerts in Charlottesville and in surrounding communities and across the state, attracting overflow audiences everywhere it played. He retired on December 31, 2006, and conducted his final program on April 24, 2007.
The scholarship is named in honor of its benefactor and Municipal Band of Charlottesville supporter, the Reverend Dr. Genevieve Murphy, whose generous legacy donation underwrites this annual tradition that showcases the finest young musicians and encourages them to pursue higher education in the arts.
One winner will be announced on our website within seven days of the auditions. The winner will receive a $1,000.00 scholarship to fund higher education costs, which will be payable to the financial aid department of his or her college upon successful completion of the first semester. The winner will also perform as featured soloist with the Charlottesville Municipal Band at its Spring Concert.
|(from 2018) Jason Dech has been playing trombone for about six years and is currently a sophomore at Fluvanna County High School, where he plays in the FCHS Wind Ensemble. Since 2012, he has been studying with Gary Elwell, as well as ascending through his middle school and high school bands. He also plays in the YOCVA Youth Symphony under the direction of Dr. Charles West.
Jason has been selected as first chair in District 13’s Honor Bands for the past three years, as well as the South-Central Senior Regional Orchestra for the past two. He placed 4th in the state as a high school freshman in 2017.During marching band season, Jason plays marimba in the Front Ensemble of FCHS’ Marching Flucos. He has also played in the high school’s pit orchestra for their productions of “High School Musical” and “Shrek: The Musical,” as well as playing in the high school’s jazz band. He also likes to learn new instruments, so far including bass guitar, piano, percussion, tuba, and whatever he can get his hands on.When he isn’t playing music, Jason is a high-level, competitive gymnast, a sport he began to learn 10 years ago. Although he hasn’t decided yet, he is leaning towards studying computer science and minoring in music in college.
|(from 2017) Charlotte MacDonald is honored to perform with the Charlottesville Municipal Band. She has played clarinet since she was 10 years old, and has studied at the private studio of Christine Willard since entering the sixth grade. She is currently a junior at Charlottesville High School, where she performs with the Charlottesville High School Wind Ensemble. She also performs with the YOCVA Youth Symphony under the direction of Dr. Charles West.
Charlotte has been selected for District 13’s Honor Bands for the last six years, and has been placed in the top performing ensemble every year in her high school career. She has qualified for All State Band auditions every year, and she placed 7th in the state this winter.
At Walker Upper Elementary school, Charlotte played with the concert band and earned a musicianship award. While she was at Buford Middle School, she played in the concert band and received the Director’s Award for Band at the end of her eighth grade year. She also played with the YOCVA Evans Orchestra, serving as principal during her eighth grade year.
Upon entering high school, Charlotte began playing with the YOCVA clarinet ensemble, with which she played for two seasons before moving into the Youth Symphony. She is an active member of the Marching Knights, has played in the pit orchestras for CHS productions such as Hairspray and Into The Woods, and has participated in the school’s winter guard and indoor drumline.
Charlotte spent the summers of her middle school years at the Mid Atlantic Band Camp at Sweet Briar College, where she was principal clarinet during her 7th grade summer. Following her 2014 summer season with the Charlottesville Municipal Band, she attended the Summer Residential Virginia Governor’s School for the Visual and Performing Arts and the Humanities, where she was a music major. She has also participated in a number of chamber music festivals around the state of Virginia, and this summer plans to continue her studies at the Interlochen Summer Clarinet Institute.
Outside of her musical pursuits, Charlotte enjoys studying history, writing, and drinking copious amounts of coffee. She hopes to continue her studies in college as a music major.
|(from 2016) Maggie Archer is 16 years old and a sophomore at Louisa County High School. She started playing flute at age 11 at Louisa County Middle School. She began private study with flutist Angela Kelly in 2013 and made Principal flute of the Virginia Tech Middle School Honor Band. She was also the 2013/2014 Principal flutist of the Youth Orchestras of Central Virginia’s Evans Orchestra under the direction of Don Brubaker and was the 2014 Principal flutist of the District 13 Middle School All-District Band. A 2014 and 2015 Wednesday Music Club Competition winner, Maggie also won second place in the 2015 West Virginia International Flute Symposium and was the first place winner in the 2015 Richmond Flute Festival High School Competition at Virginia Commonwealth University.
A 2015 and 2016 All- District Symphonic Band performer, Maggie participates with the Louisa County High School Wind Ensemble under the direction of William Lamb and the student-led High School Pep Band. She also performs with the Youth Orchestras of Central Virginia’s Flute Ensemble under flutist Angela Kelly and is in her second season with the Youth Orchestras of Central Virginia’s Youth Symphony under the direction of Dr. Charles West. In addition to regular instruction with Angela Kelly, Maggie has received private instruction from flutists, Eva Ryan, Jonathan Snowden, and Alberto Almarza and has performed in masterclasses for Alberta Almarza, Lorna McGee, and Eva Amsler. Also a pianist, Maggie has studied under pianist Cindy Stevens of the Stevens School of Music and the Arts since age 7.
When she isn’t playing her flute, Maggie enjoys reading, drawing, and playing piano with the Youth Band at Lake Christian Church. Her future plans are to continue studying music in college and she hopes to pursue a career in flute performance.
Maggie will perform Anne McGinty’s “Variations and Theme for Flute and Concert Band” with the CMB on our Dogwood Festival Spring Concert, Sunday, April 10 at PVCC Dickinson Theater.
|(from 2015) Chris Hays is a Junior at Charlottesville High School passionate about music but hoping to pursue science in his career. He has participated in the Charlottesville High School Wind Ensemble, Marching Knights and Jazz Band for all of high school. He serves as Principal Saxophone in the Wind Ensemble. He was selected Drum Major for the Marching Knights his Sophomore year and will be going on his third season as Drum Major this fall. Since his freshman year he has made the top performing ensemble at All-District Band every year and was selected as 1st Alternate (10th chair) for All-State band his Sophomore year. He has performed with the UVa Jazz Band at the TEDx Charlottesville Conference in November 2014. Chris is as involved with academics as he is music. He participates in Charlottesville High School’s Science Club the Best All-Around Club of Nerds (BACON) and is in the Math Honor Society and the National Honor Society. He has also been a member of the Varsity Boys Tennis Team since his Freshman year.
He plans to attend college and involve himself in music through extracurricular activities like marching band and small jazz ensembles.
He will perform Clare Grundman’s “Concertante for Alto Saxophone and Band” at the Charlottesville Municipal Band’s Spring Concert on April 12 at 3:30 pm at Dickinson Theater at Piedmont Virginia Community College.
|(from 2014) Geneva Knight is a junior at Charlottesville High School. She has been studying flute with Christine Willard since she entered 5th grade in 2007. While at Walker Upper Elementary School, she played with the concert band and earned a musicianship award at the end of her upper elementary school years. When she moved to 7th grade at Buford Middle School, she joined the YOCA Evans Orchestra as second chair flute. Before moving on to high school, Geneva earned the Gilmore Award from Joseph Tornello, director of bands at Buford. She has been selected for District 13 Honor Bands for five consecutive years. Currently, Ms. Knight plays with the CHS Wind Ensemble, Woodwind Quintet, and has participated in a school flute ensemble in the past. She serves as a Drum Major for the Marching Knights. In her sophomore year, Geneva auditioned for the All-Virginia Band and placed 11th chair in the state. She made the All-State Concert band again this year, after being seated principal flautist at both the District 13 All-District Band, and the South Central Senior Regional Orchestra. This spring she will play in the pit orchestra for the TheatreCHS production of Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. Geneva hopes to continue studying music performance in her college career.|
|(from 2012) Marie Fernandez is a senior at Monticello High School. She began studying flute with Karen Pearce when she was 8 years old. In 2010 she began studying under Angela Kelly, her current teacher. In 2007 Marie joined the Youth Orchestras of Central Virginia’s flute choirs and has been an active member ever since. She played in YOCV’s Rita M. Evans Orchestra from 2008-2011. She is currently principal flutist of the YOCV Youth Symphony. In addition Marie has been active in Monticello’s Wind Ensemble, Jazz Band, Chamber Ensemble, Symphonic Band, and Flute Ensemble. She has been selected for both All-District Band and Albemarle County Honor Band for four consecutive years. Marie was honored to win the wind/brass division of the Wednesday Music Club High School Competition this past February. Other musical endeavors include singing with the Virginia Consort Youth Chorale, ringing with Trinity Presbyterian Church’s handbell choir, and playing with her sisters, Sharon and Caroline, in a flute, cello, and harp trio. This spring she will play flute in the pit band for Monticello’s musical performance and also stage manage the production. Outside of music Marie is playing varsity volleyball for Monticello, directing the student-run Shakespeare production, and pursuing photography. Marie plans to study graphic design, computer science, and/or mathematics in college. She wants to continue pursuing music in the future through school ensembles as well as community groups.|
|(from 2011) Samantha Marshall, a senior at Monticello High School, has been studying classical flute with Angela Kelly since 2001 and has recently been exploring jazz with John D’earth, international folk music with Art Wheeler, and working on her college audition preparation with Kelly Sulick. Samantha is currently principal flute in the Youth Symphony of The Youth Orchestras of Central Virginia and also performs with the Charlottesville University Symphony Orchestra. She has been a member of the Monticello Marching Mustangs, Jazz Band, Symphonic Band, Pit Band, Wind Ensemble, Honors Bands and District Bands. She received the 2011 “Semper Fidelis” Award for musical excellence, the 2010 John Phillip Sousa Award, a Piedmont Council for the Arts “Rising Star” Award in 2010 and she won the Martha Dugan Concerto Competition in 2009. Samantha has played for the Albemarle-Charlottesville Historical Society’s annual “Spirit Walk” for the last 7 years and has performed for showers, weddings and benefit events as well as for retirement communities in both Charlottesville and Chicago. Her non-musical interests include baking, photography, cross-country running, and chillin’ with friends. Here is a video of Ms. Marshall performing Cecile Chaminade’s Concertino for Flute in concert with the Band.|
|(from 2010) Anthony Poehailos is a senior at Monticello High School. He has been studying clarinet since 5th grade, beginning under Peggy Haluska at Walton Middle School, where he received the Band Award at graduation. For the past five years he has been a student in the studio of James Tobin. Anthony has also studied piano for five years. He has been a member of Monticello High’s Stage Band, Jazz Band, Wind Ensemble, and Marching Band, and has played in the Pit Band for the past three spring musicals. His awards at MHS include the John Philip Sousa Award, the Louis Armstrong Award, and the U.S. Marines Semper Fidelis band award. Anthony has been selected for Albemarle County Honors band for six consecutive years, All District Band for five years, and All Virginia Band for two years. In addition, he attended the 2010 Governor’s School Summer Residential Program for Visual and Performing Arts at Radford University. Outside of MHS, he was principal clarinet in the Evans Orchestra for two years, and currently is in his second year as principal clarinet in the Youth Orchestra of Charlottesville-Albemarle. Anthony is an Eagle Scout and an active member of St. Thomas Aquinas Church. He is doing an internship at Walton Middle School this year teaching clarinet and saxophone. His long term professional goal is to teach at a high school or college, and to perform as much as possible. Here is the concluding audio portion of Anthony’s concert performance of Carl Maria von Weber’s Concertino for Clarinet, as well as video of the complete performance.|