Since 1952, the James Wood Band has had the distinct honor of seven different directors.
In 1952, the band was organized for the first time under the direction of Mr. George Turner. The purpose of the band is to give the students a chance to play a musical instrument and to understand, participate in and enjoy a rich musical experience.
The band appeared in a concert for the first time on November 1st in connection with "Chicken and Ham Supper" - which proceeds went to purchase instruments for the school. This would be the start in making James Wood Band program an effective one
Mr. Turner stepped away from the music program, and continued in the guidance of the students, ensuring they were ready for a higher education.
A new Band
For 70 years, James Wood has enjoyed music from it's music departments. Even though the band didn't begin until the schools second year, the music program started off with a large group of willing youth from the county to come together and provide music
Music is everyone's language. When students play or sing a song, probably they are unable to tell the nationality, the color, the religion, or the politics of the man who wrote it. Music is a thing of beauty, which extends into every land and nation. Music is universal.
Music is all encompassing. It knocks at the door of each life. Students find in it satisfaction, joy, sorrow, comfort...every emotion that lives within the human should. Music is a meaningful part of life itself.
Continuing the Tradition
The purpose of the Senior Band of James Wood is to provide an opportunity for students to play a musical instrument, to participate in, and enjoy a rich musical experience. In addition to playing at all home football games, pep rallies, and parades, the band participates in the District V Band Festival held each spring. The band also participates in the University of Virginia Band Day, All-District, and present a spring concert each year
Mr. Schoemmell received his B.M.E and M.M.E. from Shenandoah Conservatory of Shenandoah University Winchester, Virginia. In June 2004, after 40 years in public school music education, Mr. Schoemmell retired from the Frederick County Virginia Public Schools. He is a past President of the Virginia Band and Orchestra Directors Association (VBODA) and a past President of the Virginia Music Educators Association (VMEA) and currently serves on the Executive Boards of both organizations.
In addition to other honors, Mr. Schoemmell was named “Music Educator of the Year” by the VEMA and received the first “Alumnus of Excellence” award presented by the Shenandoah Conservatory. Additionally, he was named “Teacher of the Year” by the Wal-Mart Foundation.
At retirement, Mr. Schoemmell was a Virginia Honor Band Director for 22 consecutive years and was inducted into the Virginia Honor Band Directors Hall of Fame. He was honored with the Phil Fuller Award, which at the time of award was given for outstanding service to the VBODA. Mr. Schoemmell is a member of the National Association for Music Educators (NAfME), VMEA, VBODA, Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia and in 2012 he was inducted into the Phi Beta Mu Hall of Fame. In 2014 he was inducted in to VBODA Hall of Fame, Class of 2014. Mr. Schoemmell continues to serve on a limited basis as a clinician, guest conductor, and adjudicator at concert, marching and jazz assessments, festivals, and competitions.
A New Era of Championships
In 1984, the band received its second Virginia Honor Band award for taking top honors in both marching and concert competitions. This set new standards of Excellence for the next decade.
Mr. Williams earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education and a Performance Certificate from Shenandoah Conservatory of Music, followed by a Master’s Degree in Music Education from James Madison University, and completed a certification program in advanced studies in education administration from Virginia Tech. Working in the field of education since 1980, Mr. Williams first began his career as the band director at Frederick County Middle School in Winchester, VA. Became Assistant director for James Wood, then by 1994 he became a school administrator at Auburn Middle and High School in Riner, VA, and moved on to become assistant principal in 1996 and principal in 1998 of Senseny Road Elementary in Winchester. In 2000, he became principal of Robert E. Aylor Middle School in Stephens City, VA.
Mr. Williams took on the position as assistant dean at Randolph Macon Academy (R-MA) in 2010 after retiring from the public school system. In this position for the past four years, he oversaw staff development, standardized assessments and evaluations, teacher evaluation, master schedule development, new teacher mentoring and student mentoring, and the freshman transition team. He has served as a member on R-MA’s safety committee and student retention committee, as technology committee chairman, as Advanced Placement testing coordinator, and as academic liaison between R-MA and Shenandoah University.
Mr. Reaves has taught at the middle, high school, and college level. He was on the staff at Shepherd College as an adjunct faculty member for eight years, and began a Tuba Ensemble that still exists. He has performed in, recorded, adjudicated, or conducted Symphony Orchestras, Bands, Brass Ensembles and Jazz groups across the Eastern United States, Canada, and Europe. He still plays trombone and sings with a Big Band, the Martinsburg Jazz Orchestra.
As a High School Director he has had many award-winning bands at several schools, three of which won All State Virginia Honor Band awards. Mr. Reaves was in the Who’s Who among teachers in 1998 and 1999, he was nominated for the Governor’s Award for the arts in 2000, and was named as an Outstanding Educator at the 2001 Virginia Governor’s School. He is listed in Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers 2002 – 2006, and in 2004 has been named to Who’s Who in America. During July every other year Mr. Reaves conducts an honor band across Europe. Most recently Mr. Reaves was awarded the Shenandoah University Teacher of the year Award for 2010.
Currently, Mr. Elson is a Principal for Kings Glenn Elementary School in Fairfax, VA. Before becoming a higher educator, he was a High School Band Director for about 10 years, five of which were at James Wood.
Seeing himself as 'support' staff to his teachers and students, enabling the best opportunities that they possibly can to ensure a happy environment for both students and teachers.
The musical program has been under the direction of Mr. Jeffrey Rutherford since 1996. Originally from Ohio, Mr. Rutherford graduated from Bowling Green University with a Bachelor of Music Education and went on to earn his Master in Music Education from Shenandoah University. During his tenure at James Wood High School, his students have consistently received excellent and superior ratings on both the field and stage.
Mr. Rutherford, working alongside JWHS chorus directors, drama directors, and current band members, has helped the musical theatre program continue to shine performing shows like The Music Man, Into the Woods, Shrek, The Addams Family, and Little Shop of Horrors.