Judges for South County Invitational
Stan Schoonover (Music) has led the Fairfax Wind Symphony for all of its’ 19 seasons as Music Director. His thirty-two year career in public school education included eleven as Music Supervisor for the Fairfax County (VA) Public Schools, widely regarded as one of America’s foremost school music programs. Ensembles under his direction have appeared at The Kennedy Center, Carnegie Hall, the Ferguson Center, the Center for the Arts, the Midwest Clinic, and 13 times at the VMEA In-service Conference. Mr. Schoonover is an adjunct instructor at James Madison University, is a Coordinator for the Music For All National Concert Band Festival, a member of the MFA Educational Team, and the Midwest Clinic Advisory Committee.
Samuel Ambrose turns back-row tuba playing into frontline artistry, bringing high-caliber style to performances, outreach, and educational experiences. His sound supports a variety of ensembles, most recently with the Peabody orchestras and wind ensembles, as well as the Eastern Edge Brass Quintet of Baltimore, MD. Ambrose has also performed for the Sunrise Pops Orchestra in Sunrise, FL, as well as freelancing in the area. When he is not performing in the concert hall, Sam takes his talents to senior communities and homeless shelters, providing free educational recital programs.
As an educator, Mr. Ambrose’s teaching ranges from private instruction to master classes, clinics, and ensemble instruction. He currently teaches Instrumental Music at University Park and Hyattsville Elementary Schools, and is also tuba faculty at the Fredericksburg Brass Institute, and on staff with the Bluecoats Drum and Bugle Corps as a visual technician. His previous appointments include visual instruction with the Boston Crusaders, the Oregon Crusaders Drum and Bugle Corps, and many high school and WGI groups in Florida, Maryland, and Illinois.
Sam currently lives just outside of Washington D.C., where he has recently received a Master’s degree in Tuba Performance from The Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University. Sam also holds a Bachelors of Music Education degree from Florida State University. His teachers include David Fedderly and Paul Ebbers.
Marc Garside is the Founder/CEO of EPIC Percussion, established in 2013. He has been a percussion designer and instructor for the marching arts in central PA since 2002, working with several very successful high school programs.
He has been the percussion caption-head and arranger for the White Sabers Drum and Bugle Corps, a GE judge in Tournament of Bands, Percussion Director for the TOB All-Star Band that performs in the Philadelphia Thanksgiving Parade, and a music and/or drill designer as well as instructor for several high school programs, including Williamsport (PA) High School, Lake Lehman High School, Bloomsburg High School, Loyalsock High School, Tyrone High School, Hamilton West High School, and South Williamsport High School.
Marc was also formerly the percussion caption-head and arranger for the Hawthorne Caballeros Drum and Bugle Corps and the Director and Staff/Program Coordinator for the Penn State Indoor Drumline. This indoor season, Marc and his team at EPIC started the EPIC Cadets indoor drumline, which is comprised of students between 4th and 8th grade in the Williamsport region.
He also manages EPIC Percussion’s daily and retail operations and oversees the studio which has 50 private lesson students and several concert ensembles. Many of his students have gone on to become music teachers, instructors, show designers, and performers with top DCI and WGI ensembles.
Jerry Philp is the director of bands at Skyline Middle School in Harrisonburg Virginia. There, he also designs drill for several high school programs across the Commonwealth and works specifically with the Harrisonburg High School marching band, the James Madison University Marching Royal Dukes, and the WGI medalist Nuance Winterguard. For the past several years he has been a general effect judge with the Atlantic Indoor Association, and continues to perform with the Massanutten Brass Band.
Dave Priester is from Dale City, Virginia and has over 40 years of experience judging bands and color guards. He was a founding charter member Atlantic Indoor Association (AIA) in 1995. He currently serves as a Contest Administration for WGI. He was inducted into the AIA Hall of Honor in 2004 for his contributions to founding the circuit.
Bob Wall is from Middletown, VA and is a nationally recognized public safety professional with extensive experience developing and managing traffic and other public safety and educational programs. Bob coordinated the child passenger safety training and traffic safety public information and education programs for the Fairfax County Police Department. In the Commonwealth of Virginia Wall has been active as a consultant to the International and Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police, coordinating and assisting with several highway programs. As the coordinator of the IACP National and Virginia Law Enforcement Challenge, Bob made the Virginia state program one of the premier state traffic safety programs in the country.
Bob is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin, and an alumnus of the two-time DCI World Champion, Madison Scouts Drum & Bugle Corps. His pageantry experience incubuses over 15 years of instructing the Lake Braddock Secondary Marching Band in Burke, VA as well as instructing or consulting many other marching bands and winter guards in the Commonwealth for more than 25 years. Mt Vernon High School, Madison High School, Thomas Jefferson High Schools and Centerville High School are only some of the schools he has instructed or consulted over the years. His judging experience also spans many years in Virginia and nationwide.
After his retirement, Wall also committed himself to the development of youth. As the Executive Director of the Madison Drum & Bugle Corps Association, Inc, in Madison Wisconsin. He coordinated over 200 instructors and volunteers and three drum and bugle corps with over 500 young adults. The Southwind Drum & Bugle Corps or Lexington, KY, The Capitol Sound Drum & Bugle Corps, Madison, WI and the Madison Scouts, Madison, WI, activities were coordinated and directed by Bob. The Madison Scouts placed 8th in the DCI World Championships and the Capitol Sound were in finals for the first time ever in the A class at the DCI Championships. Southwind was in the DCI Associates placement for the first time ever, in 20th place.
He recently retired, again, as the Public Education Coordinator with the Prince William County Department of Fire & Rescue. Bob is now the Global Car Seat Safety Advocate for Wonderland Manufacturing, representing NUNA Baby Essentials. In 1993 Bob received the International Association of Chiefs of Police’s highest award for outstanding achievements in highway safety, the J. Stannard Baker Award.
Elisa Lessard has been involved with color guard as a performer, choreographer, designer, instructor, and adjudicator for over 20 years. She believes in the power of color guard and marching band to shape the lives of those who dedicate themselves to this activity. Ms. Lessard holds a Bachelor of Music Education Degree from Texas Christian University and a Master’s in Music Performance from the University of North Texas. She is a former music educator in Fairfax County before deciding to stay home with her small children. She has taught successful color guard programs in North Texas as well as Northern Virginia. Currently, she serves as an adjudicator for the Atlantic Indoor Association, a thriving winter guard circuit in the Northern Virginia area. Elisa lives in Woodbridge, Virginia with her husband and three children.
Chris Martin has been a percussion arranger, visual designer, instructor and adjudicator for over 20 years. As a graduate of Florida State University, he has been the primary percussion arranger for the FSU Marching Chiefs since 1992. Within the indoor percussion activity, he was a founder of the George Mason University Drumline after guiding several prominent high school programs in Northern Virginia to multiple WGI regional and national medals. Chris has been a member of the United States Air Force Band in Washington DC since 1997, performing across the United States, Europe, Japan and Southwest Asia.