The Sound of Music All Year Long

Sound of Music All Through the Year
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“The Shenandoah County Public Schools'  Music Departments offer more than 180 events per year,” reported an enthusiastic Wendy Whitford, Band and Orchestra teacher at North Fork Middle School. 

Nationally, March is Music is our Schools Month.   In Shenandoah County, these 180+ music events happen throughout every month of the year and include fall, winter, and spring concerts; parades during the summer months; musicals; performances at community and sports events; visits  and concerts at assisted living and health care facilities;  and participation in the All-County chorus, band, and orchestra concerts.      

Individual SCPS students compete for positions in the All-District Band, All-District Choir, Junior Regional Orchestra, Senior Regional Orchestra, All-State High School Band, All-State High School Choir, and Honors Ensembles.   SCPS choruses, bands, and orchestras are assessed at the state level.Results of these competitive events are included near the end of this article.  

Shenandoah County Public Schools has music teachers in every school. Sometimes the same teacher serves more than one school.  


Kimberly Ottman 
Kimberly Ottman, K-5 Music Teacher at Ashby Lee Elementary School, poses
for a fun photo with her students.


Ms. Ottman and first graders
Among other ALE concerts throughout the year, the entire first grade presented a concert in
November. In the spring, the youngest students will present the annual preschool musical.

Ashby Lee's Christmas Concert
Ashby Lee's Christmas Concert


Wendy Whitford
Wendy Whitford
Director of Band and Orchestra
North Fork Middle School

Wendy Whitford was a state adjudicator for District 6 Orchestra Assessment (Lynchburg).


Strolling Strings at Luther Crest
NFMS Strolling Strings visit with residents
at Luther Crest in New Market, Virginia.

“The NFMS Music Department believes in giving back to the community.  Each year, the NFMS Strolling Strings perform for hundreds of elementary students, Luther Crest seniors, and residents of Life Care.  It is an honor to share music with all members of our community!  We also collaborate with the New Market Area Library for events such as Read to the Rhythm."    Wendy Whitford

NFMS Strolling Strings at Life Care
North Fork Middle School Strolling Stings perform for residents of the
Life Care Center of New Market.

Wendy Whitford
Wendy Whitford  received the 2014 JMU Music Educator of the Year.award.

Heidi King
Heidi King
Director of Choir
and Musical Theatre
North Fork Middle School
Stonewall Jackson HS
Heidi King
     Ms. King directs the SJ Choir


NFMS Choir
Ms. King and the North Fork Middle School Choir  

SJ SIngers at American Celebration on Parade

SJHS Choir members singing at American Celebration on Parade, Shenandoah Caverns. Beauty and the Beast read
In January 2016,  Ms. King directed Stonewall Jackson High School's musical Beauty and the Beast.

 Robert Curry   
Music Theory Teacher
Director of Band, Orchestra,          Percussion Ensemble,                         
Marching Band, 
and Jazz Combo                            
       Robert Curry                                                             

 Robert Curry has written string and full orchestra arrangements published by Tempo Press and Wingert-Jones Music.  The promotional package from Wingert-Jones was mailed to schools around the country in late March.

The SJHS marching band is voluntary and performs at all home football games and an occasional basketball game. 
The SJ Music Department is community-minded.  The Band marched in Christmas parades in New Market and Mt. Jackson. Small ensembles performed  at a Christmas brunch at Bryce.  The Jazz Combo performed for the Basye-Bryce Lions Club

SJHS's Halloween Concert
The Stonewall Jackson High School Music Department presents a special concert 
every October.   Magically, monsters,  literary and movie figures,  cartoon characters, and historical  legends replace the students for this singular performance.  

             Marianne Houff
W.W. Robinson Elementary School
Pre K - Grade 5 General Music teacher
District and Honors Choir                                             
Marianne Houff 
" My first year of teaching I received a grant for  guitars and have been teaching guitar to every fifth grader during general music class every since."  Marianne Houff

WWR Chorus
Ms. Houff directs the WWR Chorus in concert.

Light up Woodstock
In addition to their concerts, the WWR Chorus  sang several songs for the tree lighting during the Light-Up Woodstock celebration.

Rebecca Cooper

Rebecca Cooper
Peter Muhlenberg Middle School
Director of Chorus
Assistant Director of Orchestra
Director of Select Choir

"I am passionate about giving my students music literacy skills. I use solfege and takadimi systems and highly recommend teaching methods learned through Dr. Carol Krueger. I want all of my students to become independent musicians able to perform music by sight reading or without the assistance of a music teacher, especially my singers who are trained to sing music by rote and unable to internalize pitch when they first join my classes." 

Becky Cooper
Ms. Cooper directs her orchestra students.

PMMS Choir performs at Woodstock Cafe
Ms. Cooper directs the Peter Muhlenberg Middle School Chorus outside the Woodstock Café.

James & the Giant Peach
The  principal actors in James and the Giant Peach pose for Facebook photo. 
Ms. Cooper was the Musical Director for this production.

Kaitlyn Hunsberger

Kaitlyn Hunsberger

Choral Director

Director of Concert Choir, Select Choir and Guitar Ensemble

Musical Co-Director

Central High School

I am passionate about my students becoming independent thinkers, both as musicians and members of their performing ensemble. I try to provide opportunities to facilitate musical and organizational autonomy through teaching solfege, takadimi, structured independent practice sessions, group discussion, student leadership opportunities and reflection.

Kaitlyn Hunsberger
Miss Hunsberger directs small group of students.


Miss Hunsberger co-directed Central High School’s February 2016 production of Grease.  

Students (l-r) Alfio Vasta, Eli Selby, JP Bennett, Zack Broy, Brandon Bennett and Kareem Abdelmoneim have fun after a show performance.

Kaitlyn Hunsberger's students

CHS Concert Choir and Miss Hunsberger at District Choir Assessment. Concert Choir received all Superior ratings for the second year in a row!


Viola Jennifer Perry

Jennifer Perry
Director of Orchestras
Central High School

Jennifer Perry

Ms. Perry also directs several Chamber groups and is in the process of forming an electric string ensemble thanks to a 2016 Moore Grant. 

The CHS orchestra gives back to the community.   The orchestra often sends string quartets to perform for various community events including music for weddings, funerals, banquets,  The CHS Orchestra has performed for the Friends of the North Fork Fish Fry Fundraiser for the last four years.

Katelyn Dill, who is a member of the CHS orchestra performed with the Carnegie Music Hall Honors Orchestra series in New York City in
February 2016.

Pit Orchestra for Grease
Jennifer Perry was the Pit Orchestra Director for Central High School's February 2016 production
of Grease.

  Sarah Mrosko

Director of Bands, Marching Band, Percussion Ensemble

Central High School

Assistant Director at Peter Muhlenberg Middle School

Sarah Mrosko 
Sarah Mrosko  was a state adjudicator for
District 5 Band Assessment (Harrisonburg).

Sarah Mrosko directs CHS band
Sarah Mrosko directs the CHS Concert Band.

CHS Band pyramid
CHS Marching Band members pose on the Duke Dog with CHS Principal Melissa Hensley after performing at the 2015 JMU Parade of Champions.

Band outdoors ?
CHS Marching Band members celebrate earning Best Music, Best Percussion and 2nd place in their class at JMU Parade of Champions. This was the first time in CHS history that the Marching Band has placed at this competition!

CHS Marching Band is the most visible performing ensemble at CHS.  They regularly perform at all home football games, competitions, local parades and events including honoring our local veterans at the fair!  This past year the CHS marching band had over 15 performances in just 5 short months!  

                  Sarah Shoremount
K-5 General Music Teacher
Director of K-5 Chorus
Sandy Hook Elementary School                          
       Sarah Shoremount                                

Sandy Hook Elementary School's concerts included a performance at the Strasburg
Christmas Tree Lighting and a  Winter Combined Concert with SHS  percussion and chorus,   
SHE Gr 4 students
Fourth grade students in Ms. Fox's class play major and minor melodies on the
Orff instruments with the book Fortunately by Remy Charlip.   (from left sitting
to back row standing):  Colton Copeland, Carter Rembold, Liliana Bradley.
Connor Hefele, Jacob white, and Benjamin Sikora
SHE Ms. Shifflett's K class
Students in Ms. Shifflett's Kindergarten class echo rhythm patterns on the drums.

SHE Ms. Wine's K class
Ms. Wine's Kindergarten students are singing "I Am Being Swallowed by a Boa
Constrictor " and acting it out with scarves.

     Kylene Robinson
Director of Chorus
Signal Knob Middle School
Strasburg High School
Director of  Choir                                   Strasburg High School
Teacher, Sandy Hook     
                                        Kylene Robinson
"My chorus performed the National Anthem for the opening ceremony for the new Veteran's Services Office in Strasburg last fall."  Kylene Robinson

In addition to regular concerts and combined school concerts with SHS and SKMS, the Strasburg High School Choir will perform at the Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Woodstock on May 25.
Kylene Robinson SHS Fall Concert
Kylene Robinson directs the SHS Chorus during their 2015 Fall Concert.

Kylene Robinson WInter Concert SHS
The Strasburg High School Chorus is directed by Kylene Robinson during their Winter Concert.

Chris Szuba
Chris Szuba
Director of Band
Signal Knob Middle School
Strasburg High School

In addition to directing the regular bands at Signal Knob and Strasburg High School, Mr. Szuba is also the Director of these groups:
Strasburg High School Purple Regiment--extra-curricular marching band that performs in local parades, football games, and local competitions.
Three Percussion Ensembles:
   Percussion Ensemble Class
   Improvisational Drumming Group (after school)
   Mini Drumline (after school)
JV Color Guard (after school)

"The older students take on instructor roles or 'assistant coach' roles, for the auxiliary ensembles (JV Color Guard, Mini-Drumline, Improv Drumming.)

Also, students perform on the streets of Strasburg occasionally throughout the year for service  projects in conjunction with fundraisers or local town functions (caroling, providing background music for town council gatherings, etc.).  Extra credit is given for community involvement above and beyond what we ask of them.  We also perform at the FFA  Veteran's Day Breakfast."                                                                      Chris Szuba

Every year, Mr. Szuba's bands take a trip---this year they're going to Chicago!

Joel ross
Joel Ross
Teacher, Music Theory
Director of Orchestra
Strasburg High School
Signal Knob Middle School
In above photo, Mr. Ross plays the violin with his Grade 6 Signal Knob students.

Joel Ross
During Strasburg's Christmas Festival, SHS Orchestra members stroll alone the streets of Strasburg stopping in restaurants and businesses to play carols .  Above,  members pause for a photo in First Bank before moving on to another location.

Joel Ross
Under the direction of Mr. Ross, the SHS Orchestra recorded a CD at the Lindale Mennonite Church (Linville, VA).   The CD will become a memento for parents and students.  

Joel Ross at SU with Jan Wagner
Jan Wagner (standing at left), Music Professor at Shenandoah University, conducted a clinic for the SHS Orchestra. 

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All-District Band

23 SCPS students auditioned and earned a position with the All-District Band  They competed against representatives from seven school systems.  

CHS - Tim Aumiller, Lauren Derflinger, Seth Dublo, Ashley Everhart, Lilly Frank, and Ashley Johnson

NFMS - Sarah Streett, Jackie Farmer, Melissa Matthews, Sam Richman, and Brianna Polk

PMMS - Gabriella Fream, Stephen Happ

SKMS - Jack Miller

SJHS - Catherine Bailey, Rachel Lute, Dawson Lear, Ana Jermstad, Kinsey Wilk, Gwen Mallow, Andrew

Stauff, and Hallie White

SHS - Jesse Campbell, Jared Seiders

 NFMS & SJHS All-District Band 2016
Southern Campus -- Stonewall Jackson HS and North Fork MS All-District Band

All-District Choir

SCPS students earned a position with the All-District Choir.  They competed against representatives from seven school systems.

ALES - Wyatt Fleming, Briyanna Hollifield, Tori Prunka, Jesse Lemon, Haley Hill, and Jeremiah Rivera-Sibert

CHS - Alyssa Burner, Ashley Everhart, Abigail Shaffer, Kareem Abdelmoneim, Eli Selby

NFMS - Julia Biller, Autumn Dellinger, Rebecca Diehl, Jessie Latham, Monica Salinas, and Bridget Silvious

PMMS - Noel Shenk, Jessica Tracy, Annie Kate Walsh, Yessica Quezada, Lucy Schreiber, Janitzy Hernandez Araujo, Solomon Wilson, Davonte Peterson, John Byrd, Riley Brannan, Shelby Baker, Benjamin Kimble, Johnathan Morel, Hunter Wakeman

SHES - Ali Crabill, Saniya Enriquez, Hayden Hershey, Collin Nicholson, Emma Steiner, Mahkia Walker

SKMS - Jada Miller, Hannah Jones, Jason Davis, Elijah Kuykendall, Aaron Davis, Austin Six, Shelbi Putman, Reese Estep, Shaylin Ashwood

SHS - Hannah Lucas, Danielle Juratovac, Sarah Runion

SJHS - Susannah Garber, Rachel Lute, Angela Misquith, Raven Rogers

WWR - Kensley Dalton, Kaylee Yew, Chloe Helsley, Delilah Fox, Lydia Scibelli, Jillian Brunton, and Kamerin McCabe

ALE District Chorus
The Elementary District Chorus performed for the Shenandoah County School Board at their February meeting.

Junior Regional Orchestra

17 SCPS students auditioned and earned a position with the Junior Regional Orchestra.  They competed against representatives from fifty school systems.  

A Orchestra

Violin - Hannah Vernon, CHS   

           Mackenzie Ryman, PMMS

           Kendall Orndorff, SHS

           Sierra Rickard, SKMS

           Kianna Tyler, SHS

Viola - Miranda Lucas, SHS, Assistant Principal

          Jaime Sfarnas, PMMS                 

Cello - Jessi Sfarnas, PMMS

          Amanda Overturf, SKMS

          Hannah Lucas, SHS

Bass - Tanner Dinges, SJHS           

B Orchestra

Violin - Judith Hoffman, PMMS    

           Katie Stieringer, SKMS         

Cello - Garrett Estep, SJHS

          Randi Ball, SKMS

Bass - Brianna Polk, NFMS  
           Raegen Fisher, SKMS
JRO A 2016
2016 Junior Regional Orchestra A

2016 JRO B
2016 Junior Regional Orchestra B


Senior Regional Orchestra

Two SCPS students auditioned and earned a position with the Senior Regional Orchestra.  They competed against representatives from 50 school systems.

CHS - Katelyn Dill, Layla Baker
Layla Perry & Katelyn Dill

 Layla Baker and Katelyn Dill represented all Shenandoah County secondary schools when they were selected for the Senior Regional Orchestra in November 2015.   The geographic area for which they were selected spans from Strasburg to Roanoke, Virginia.


All-State High School Choir

SCPS students auditioned and earned a position with the All-State High School Choir.  They competed against representatives from 132 other school systems.

CHS - Ashley Everhart, delegate; Elijah Selby, alternate


District Concert Assessment

SCPS music ensembles completed the state's concert assessments (similar to SOL tests).  Many earned levels of "Excellent" and "Superior."  

CHS Band - Excellent

CHS Choir - Superior

CHS Orchestra - Excellent

NFMS Band - Excellent

NFMS Choir - Excellent

NFMS Orchestra - Superior

PMMS Choir - Superior

PMMS Orchestra - Excellent

SHS Band - Excellent

SHS Orchestra - Excellent

SJHS Band - Superior
SJHS Choir - Excellent

SJHS Full Orchestra - Good

SKMS Band 7 - Excellent

SKMS Band 8 - Excellent

SKMS Orchestra - Superior

Honor Ensembles
SCPS musicians attended a number of honor ensembles including:

All-State Elementary School Honor Chorus

All-State Middle School Honor Chorus
James Madison University Spring String Thing


Honored Educators

Ssarah MroskoSarah Mrosko (CHS) was a state adjudicator for District 5 Band Assessment (Harrisonburg).

Wendy Whitford (NFMS) was a state adjudicator for Wendy WhitfordDistrict 6 Orchestra Assessment (Lynchburg).

Bob CurryRobert Curry (SJHS) has written string and full orchestra arrangements published by Tempo Press and Wingert-Jones Music.  


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