Band Director Hall of Fame

Throughout the many Polar Bear Band years, there have been a variety of excellent directors of the program. This page is to pay tribute to them and showcase some of their accomplishments.

 

A. Shawn Dunn

Instrumental Director

of

Fairmont Senior High School

2001-2013

     Mr. Dunn received his Bachelors Degree in Music Ed. from Fairmont State College and Masters in Music Ed. from Eastern Kentucky University, where he was a graduate assistant with the music department and taught undergraduate music courses.
     Mr. Dunn is a member of the National Association for Music Education, Kappa Delta Pi education honor society, and Phi Beta Mu honorary bandmasters fraternity.
     Before coming to Fairmont Senior, Mr. Dunn was the instrumental director at Franklin (WV) High School, 1987-89; Pender High School (NC), 1990-94; and South Point (OH) High School, 1994-2001.
     At South Point, Mr. Dunn started one of the first high school steel drum ensembles in Ohio. The ensemble was recognized as an honor ensemble with a performance at the OMEA conference in 1996 and performed extensively in several states.
     As director at Fairmont Senior High School, Mr. Dunn led the Polar Bear Band to consistent Superior ratings at the annual WVSSAC band festival and had representation in the WV All-State Band and Orchestra. In 2007 the Polar Bear Marching Band won the Tournament of Bands Chapter 8 Championship.
Mr. Dunn retired from teaching in 2011 to run his local business. He continues being actively involved in music as a member of Vocal Tapestry community choir.

 

Barry Vingle

Instrumental Director

of

FSHS Polar Bear Marching Band

FSHS Percussion Ensemble

FSHS Jazz Band

FSHS Concert Band

1976-2001

Fairmont Senior High School

     Fairmont Sr. High School Band Director, Barry W. Vingle.  Director of the Polar Bear Band from 1976-2001, native of Fairmont, WV; graduated from F.S.H.S. in 1965.  He was an active member of the Polar Bear Band 1962-1965.  Mr. Vingle received the B.S. Degree from Fairmont State College and the Masters Degree from West Virginia University.  During his tenure as Instrumental Director at F.S.H.S., He was a member of the National Education Association, Phi Beta Mu Music Honorary, the WV Band Masters Association, the WV Music Educators Conference and served as President of the WV Jazz Festival.  Mr. Vingle believed that very few organizations contribute more to the community than the active high school band.  With youthful energies properly directed, there is no activity where young people are given better guidance in teamwork, good musicianship, respect for authority and the ability to get along well with others.  The study of instrumental music affords the opportunity for one to view music for music's sake.  It gives the student the opportunity to experience the great music of the band medium, both traditional and contemporary, from the standpoint of one who performs and initiates rather than one who does not partake.  This participation in the creation of music helps the individual performer to realize that... "for heights and depths no man can reach, God gave man music--the soul's own speech." -Tolstoy

Barry Vingle - FSHS Instrumental Director 1976-2001 Marion County, WV

                         City of Fairmont Arts and Humanities Commission Music Award 1997

                         25 Years Distinguished Service Award from the West Virginia Music                                   Educator's Association - 1996

                         West Virginia Band Director of the Year - 1995

                         Percussion Instructor:  West Virginia Wesleyan College 1994-1995

                         Instrumental Director:  Mannington High School 1970-1976

          Fairmont Senior High School Jazz Band - Outstanding High School Jazz Ensemble in WV in 1993 and 1997 - 1st Place at the Orlando Jazz Band Festival in 1992 - 1st Place at the Va. Beach Band Festival in 1993 - 1st Place at the West Liberty State College Jazz Contest in 1994 and 1995 - 1st Place and Grand Champion of the Orlando Festival of Music in 1996 - Selected to perform at the 1997 Southern MENC in Nashville, Tenn. - One of twelve finalist Jazz Bands for the Jazz at Lincoln Center Competition in New York City in 1997 adjudicated by four Grammy Winners including Wynton Marsalis, Horris Silver, and Ray Brown - Attendance annually at the Marshall Univ., WVU and Fairmont State College Jazz Festivals - Successive Annual Competitions with the WV State Jazz Band Festival. 

          Polar Bear Marching Band - Performances, Competitions, Honors: Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in NYC, 1989 - the Grand Feature Parade at Disney World - Va. Tournament of Bands - Florida Festival of States - Va. Beach Band Festival - Orange Blossom Festival - Citrus Bowl Parade in Orlando - Cherry Blossom Festival:  Washington D.C. - 1980-1993:  Successfully competed in the Marching Bands of America Contests in Harrisonburg, Va.; Toledo, Ohio; Johnson City, Tenn. and Morgantown, WV receiving awards in auxiliary and percussion as well as overall band honors. 

          Polar Bear Concert Band - Hosted traditional Christmas and Spring Concerts - Participated in Commencement Exercises, Performances of Grade Level V and VI Music for the Annual Band Festivals sponsored by the WV Band Masters Association - Rated superior annually by nationally recognized adjudicators since 1962.  Concert Band - Represented each year by students in the WV All-State Band, the WVU Honors Band, and the Region VII Solo and Ensemble Festival. 

          Percussion Ensemble - In 1998-1999 the FSHS Percussion Ensemble received an invitation to participate in the Percussion Festival at the 1999 Band of America National Concert Band Festival, April 22-24, 1999 as one of the top high school percussion ensembles in America.  In 1999, the Percussion Ensemble received the State Honor Performance Award with the WVMEA for the State of WV. 

 

Ronald Dean Wood

Instrumental Director

of

FSHS Polar Bear Marching Band

Fairmont Senior High School

     Ronald Dean Wood, Attended Fairmont Senior High School and Fairmont State College.
     During high school, Ron became an accomplished trumpet player and leader in the FSHS Band. His dedication to the community and love for the outdoors shine through his accomplishments in the Boy Scouts of America, achieving the rank of Eagle Scout and Order of the Arrow. Upon enrolling at Fairmont State College to major in music, he joined the TBI fraternity, gaining a lifetime of brotherhood and friendships.
     He formed his own band, the RW Band, playing the dance band music of the '50s. Later, he played in the well-known Virgil Vingle Band. Ron earned two degrees while at FSC, music education and English.
Ron accepted his first band director position at Mannington High School, working for the Marion County Schools. In 1963, Ron was appointed band director at Fairmont Senior High School. Ron's drive to learn and teach continued as he earned a master's in music from West Virginia University, 1965.

     Throughout the West Fairmont Elementary and Junior High Schools which were "feeder" programs for the high school band, Ron continued developing the Fairmont Senior High Band into one of the most outstanding bands, competing in musical contests. He is responsible for organizing a local musical event at East-West Stadium, The Band Spectacular, composed of local and area bands with the highlight of the evening being the West Virginia University Marching Band. The Band Spectacular is now 53 years old and is a traditional event in the marching band community.
     Ron was selected as the West Virginia Band Director of the Year and served as president of the West Virginia Music Educators Association, 1967-1969.
His career as a Marion County educator progressed from band director to principal at the following schools: Barrackville High School, Fairview Middle School and Monongah Middle School. His final leadership position was director of special education, retiring from this position after 44 years as a Marion County educator. His legacy is found in the students, teachers and parents impacted by his discipline, passion, competitiveness, energy and joy.
He directed the United Mine Workers Band, performing community concerts throughout Marion County.

     Walter F. Moore, Fairmont Senior High Polar Bear Band director from 1958-1962.  He was born in Virginia. He was a graduate of West Virginia University where he received his Master of degree in 1959. He recently retired as co-director of the Hendersonville Community Band and in addition to his award winning high school band program, he served in adjunct faculty positions at both Trenton State College and Farleigh Dickenson Univeristy. He was in demand as a guest conductor and adjudicator of concert and marching band festivals and competitions in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Virginia, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and South Carolina. He received numerous honors throughout his career; he was elected National President of the ASBDA in 1979 and appeared in "Who's Who Among America's Teachers" in 1992. Among his awards he will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award from the New Jersey Band Director Association. 

 

Walter F. Moore

Instrumental Director

of

FSHS Polar Bear Band

1958-1962

Fairmont Senior High School

 

Earl McConnell Sr.

Instrumental Director

of

FSHS Polar Bear Band

1948-1957

Fairmont Senior High School

     Earl McConnell Sr. became the first full-time Band Director for the FSHS Polar Bear Band in 1948.  During his tenure from 1948-1957, he composed the "Alma Mater" of Fairmont Senior High School.  The lyrics were the work of Lorraine Mason, who taught Vocal Music and Choraliers at FSHS. 

In 1946, he was hired in Berkley County, WV at Berkley Springs High School and was Band Director for two years. Hoping for a job back in Marion County (he was born in Mannington), word got out that there were going to be changes in the Marion County H.S. band programs. At that time, there was a traveling Director that worked at Fairmont Sr., East Fairmont and Barrackville on a daily basis. 

Photo of E.W. McConnell, Sr., was taken in the fall of 1948. 

Photo from 1956.  This was the year that Mr. McConnell decided to put white pants and cross belts on the Band.  The uniform stayed from 1956 up through the mid '70's.  The parade photo is of the Veteran's Day (Armistice Day back then) Parade; the date was Monday, November 12, 1956, (since the holiday was on Sunday the 11th, the parade was moved to Monday, the 12th).

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