Every year at VMEA, as part of the JMU Alumni Reception, the School of Music presents awards to people who have achieved, in various ways, professional distinction in music education. We are proud to announce the 2018 recipients of these awards.

Outstanding Early Career Music Educator Award

JMU undergraduate or graduate music education alumni who are in years three, four, or five of their teaching careers and who exemplify JMU’s commitment to musicianship and pedagogy are eligible for this individual award. The recipient will demonstrate:

• Effective, comprehensive, innovative teaching
• Service to and emerging leadership in the profession of music education
• Continuing relationship with and support of the music education program at JMU

2013 Recipient: Ms. Laura Lazarevich
2014 Recipient: Mr. John Mills
2015 Recipient: Ms. Anna Matijasic Hennessy
2016 Recipient: Mr. Ethan Murphy
2017 Recipient: Ms. Maggie Hagy

2018 Recipient: Megan Hendrix


Megan Hendrix is currently the director of instrumental music at Stonewall Jackson High School in Quicksburg, VA. She teaches orchestra, concert band, marching band, jazz band, guitar, piano, and co-directs musical theatre. Ms. Hendrix graduated from James Madison University in 2016 with a degree in Music Education. Since then she has presented research at the Virginia Music Educator’s Association Conference as well as at the NAfME conference held at James Madison University.

Outstanding Music Educator Award

JMU undergraduate or graduate music education alumni who have taught for at least ten years and who exemplify JMU’s commitment to musicianship and pedagogy are eligible for this individual award. The recipient will demonstrate:

• Excellence in music teaching, including the development of comprehensive, innovative programs and curricula
• Service to and sustained leadership in the profession of music education
• Continuing relationship with and support of the music education program at JMU

2012 Recipients were Mrs. Joy Anderson and Mr. Keith Taylor
2013 Recipient: Ms. Laura Mulligan Thomas
2014 Recipient: Ms. Wendy Whitford
2015 Recipient: Mr. Thomas Tutwiler
2016 Recipient: Dr. Polly Sibert
2017 Recipient: Ms. Jo Lynn DeGolia

2018 Recipient: Allen Hall


Allen Hall is a music educator at Glen Allen High School in Henrico County, a position he has held since 2010.  He teaches band and orchestra at Glen Allen and currently serves as department chair for Fine Arts.  He also sponsors Glen Allen’s Bocce team and has coached them to seven undefeated seasons. 

A graduate of James Madison University, Allen has taught in Henrico County for thirty-one years.  In 2009 he was selected Henrico’s Music Educator of the Year, an honor bestowed upon him by his peers.  He is also a member and has served as an officer of Phi Beta Mu, the honorary band fraternity.  Allen is a Past President of the Virginia Band and Orchestra Directors’ Association and currently serves as President for Virginia Music Educators Association. 

Allen is an active clinician, adjudicator, and performing musician across Virginia and resides in the suburbs of Montpelier with his wife, Merry Beth, and a brown dog of questionable origin.

Dr. Gary K. Ritcher Outstanding Service in Music Education Award

This award will be given an individual who has provided outstanding leadership and service to the music education profession and JMU in the following ways. 

• Excellence in leadership in music education at the local, state or national level
• Significant recognized service to the JMU School of Music and its music education program

(This person will not necessarily be an alumna or alumnus of JMU.)

2012 Recipient: Mrs. Mary Wagner
2013 Recipient: Mr. Melvin “Jim” Harmon (posthumously)
2014 Recipient: Mr. Curtis Nolley
2015 Recipient: Mr. Earl E. Shaffer, Jr.
2016 Recipient: Moe Turrentine
2017 Recipient: Dr. Gary Ritcher

2018 Recipient: Dr. Jeffrey Bush


Jeffrey Bush, Professor and Director of the School of Music, came to James Madison University after administrative and professorial positions at Arizona State University. An internationally known music educator, Jeff’s research interests include community music making, arts leadership, and music education curriculum. Dr. Bush is active as a clinician/workshop presenter and is a frequent speaker at national and international conferences including those sponsored by the College Music Society, International Society for Music Education, Music Educators National Conference In-Service Conference (now known as the National Association for Music Education), National Symposium for Music Instruction Technology, National Orff-Schulwerk Association National Conference, the Greek Society for Music Education, and the International Music Education Research Symposium.

His publication credits include The Journal of Music Teacher Education, Contributions to Music EducationArts Education Policy ReviewJournal of Technology in Music EducationMusic Educators JournalOstinatoGeneral Music Today, and Percussive Notes. Jeff was also a contributing editor for the series Silver Burdett “Making Music” and is currently a member of the editorial committee of General Music Today.

In terms of professional service, Jeff has held numerous positions with the National Association for Music Education including: President, Western Division, the National Executive Board and National Executive Committee, National Standards Selection Committee, the Society for Music Teacher Education, the Adult and Community Music Education Special Research Interest Group. Dr. Bush has also had leadership roles with various state arts and music organizations in Arizona and Saskatchewan, Canada.

Also well-known as a percussionist, Dr. Bush’s performance credits include numerous professional engagements with orchestras, touring musicals and artists throughout Canada and, more recently, Arizona. Jeff holds a Bachelor’s of Music Education and Master of Music (Performance) degree from Northern Illinois University and the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) from the University of Arizona. Before his tenure at Arizona State University, he taught at the University of Regina and in the public schools of Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada.

Outstanding Cooperating Teacher Award

This award will be given an individual who has provided outstanding service as a cooperating teacher for JMU music student teachers in the following ways.

• A sustained record of excellence in mentoring JMU music student teachers
• A sustained record of interfacing and communicating with JMU student teaching supervisors
• A model of excellence in classroom teaching, recognized at the local and/or state level

(This person will not necessarily be an alumna or alumnus of JMU.)

2013 Recipient:  Mr. Greg Thomas
2014 Recipient: Mr. Robert Curry
2015 Recipient: Mr. Greg Oaks
2016 Recipient: Joan Kenney
2017 Recipient: Ms. Angela Clemens

2018 Recipient: Don Brubaker


Don  Brubaker, a native of Roanoke, VA, began musical studies on the violin at the age of six and on the piano and trumpet at the age of twelve.  He holds a bachelors degree in music education from West Virginia University and a masters degree in music education from the University of Illinois.  In addition to his music education studies, Mr. Brubaker holds a Master of Divinity degree from Regent University.  In the 1980’s and 1990’s Mr. Brubaker taught orchestra in the public schools of Prince William County, VA and Manassas City, VA at the elementary, middle, and high school levels.  In addition, he taught band at the elementary level and directed a private music teaching studio.  He was conductor of the Northern Virginia Junior Youth Symphony for eight seasons.

In 1999, Mr. Brubaker moved to Charlottesville, VA to serve as Orchestra Director at Buford Middle School and Violin Instructor at two Charlottesville elementary schools. Under his direction the Buford Orchestra consistently received Superior ratings and First Place awards at assessments and competitions.  He also established a successful guitar class curriculum at Buford Middle School.

Mr. Brubaker retired in June 2018 from his work in the Charlottesville City Schools, but he continues to conduct the Evans Youth Orchestra, a junior high full orchestra associated with the Youth Orchestras of Central Virginia.  In addition to this, he teaches private violin and trumpet lessons and performs on the trumpet and violin in the Charlottesville area. Mr. Brubaker is a frequent guest conductor and adjudicator throughout the state of Virginia, and he is also a published composer of school orchestra music.  He lives in Albemarle County with his wife, Gayle, a piano teacher, and enjoys playing with his grandson as often as possible!

Dr. Alice M. Hammel Inclusion in Music Education Award

This award is named for Dr. Alice M. Hammel in honor of her rich and varied contributions to fostering inclusive music experiences through which all learners can be supported, challenged, and grow. The Dr. Alice M. Hammel Inclusion in Music Education Award will be presented to individuals who consistently demonstrate commitment to supporting and facilitating music learning and music making among persons in often-marginalized populations through:

  • Developing adaptive, accommodative, and flexible pedagogical practices to support all persons;
  • Pursuing scholarly inquiry into issues of difference, diversity, and inclusion that positively impacts the lives of all persons; and
  • Engaging with and in music learning and making communities to advocate for accessible and meaningful musical experiences for and with all persons to create, perform, and respond to music.

These actions are reflective of Dr. Hammel’s dedication to facilitating accessible and engaging music education in Virginia, the United States, and throughout the world.

2017 Recipient: Dr. Alice Hammel

2018 Recipient: Corey Koch


Corey Koch is the director of bands at Massaponax High School in Spotsylvania County where he has served since the school’s opening in 1998. Prior to this he was the Director of Bands at Courtland High School and had served as both the chorus and band director from 1992-1996. Mr. Koch holds a Bachelor of Music Education degree from James Madison University, where he was member of the Marching Royal Dukes for four years. Corey has a Masters of Music in Music Education from Virginia Commonwealth University. Mr. Koch is a member of VMEA, VBODA, and Phi Beta Mu. He is also alum of the Eta Omicron chapter of Kappa Kappa Psi and the Crossmen Drum and Bugle Corps. 

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