Top 'Dog elected to music hall

April 10, 2002|BY SARAH MULLIN

Awards and photos line the office walls of Martinsburg High School Music Director John Paul Lynch Sr., testaments to his career in music education.

Now, a West Virginia Music Educators Association Hall of Fame Award will join the others.

Lynch became the 12th music educator to receive the award on March 23 at the All-State Festival Concert of 2002 in Charleston, W.Va.

The West Virginia Music Educators Association created the award in 1994.

Lynch, 52, has taught music for about 30 years and is the only teacher in the Eastern Panhandle to receive the award.


His son, John Paul Lynch Jr., nominated him.

In his letter to the association, Lynch wrote: "During his 29-year music career, Mr. Lynch has been an inspiration to hundreds of music students throughout his teaching career, including myself."

John Paul Lynch Jr. is the music director at South Middle School adjacent to the high school, and was West Virginia Band Master of the Year in 2001. His father held that title twice.

"Probably the thing I get the most pleasure out of is the success of the individual student and I am proud that all of my accomplishments have been family oriented," John Paul Lynch Sr. said.

During his career, 13 of Lynch's students have gone on to graduate from college with degrees in music, and a few have become his colleagues.

"I like the interaction with the students. They keep me young and hoppin'," he said.

Lynch initially didn't plan for a career in music education.

When Lynch headed for Fairmont State College in Fairmont, W.Va., in the late 1960s, he planned to major in architecture.

"Music was something I loved to do in high school. I didn't know you could do it in college," he said.

When he found out, he registered for music classes. He graduated with a bachelor's degree in music education K-12 in 1972.

At Martinsburg High School, Lynch directs the Bulldogs marching band, jazz ensemble, pep band, percussion ensemble and concert band and teaches music theory.

The bands and ensembles have won numerous awards and have taken high rankings throughout the years.

Lynch is listed in Who's Who Among American Teachers and has been given the Outstanding Music Educator Regional Award by the National Federation of Music. He was named an Outstanding West Virginian by then-Gov. Gaston Caperton.

Sharilyn Bovey, a colleague and band director at Musselman High School, was one of the two music teachers who signed their names in support of the nomination.

Bovey has worked with Lynch since he arrived in Berkeley County in 1981.

"He has always maintained a consistently high program. I think he's always been a professional educator, and he is very loyal to the community," she said. "He has a very high reputation in music circles throughout the state and beyond."

For some, an induction into a hall of fame may be the grand finale of a successful career, but Lynch said he isn't ready to call it quits yet.

"I have a few years left in me," he said.

The West Virginia Music Educators Association is the service and professional organization for music teachers teaching school music in West Virginia, according to the organization's Web site. It is the state affiliate of the Music Educators National Conference, a professional organization with more than 65,000 members, the Web site said.

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