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Discover Western Prince William February 2018
6
Early in 1967,
the Prince William
County School
Board applied for a
federal grant to "establish,
operate, and maintain a stringed
instrument instruction program
in the schools of Prince William
County, Virginia." The project
proposed "to initiate a stringed
instrument instruction program
beginning September, 1967...
to be followed by a humanities
program in the summer of 1968 to
integrate instruction in music, art,
architecture, dance, drama, and literature
of the Baroque, Classical, and Classical-Romantic
Eras."
At the time of this application, Prince William
County Schools (PWCS) had 31 schools with four
new buildings slated to open in the fall of 1967. The
district was successful in its endeavor, receiving
the grant and hiring fi ve teachers to provide string
instruction to fi fth and sixth graders. Today, it has 49
teachers providing string instruction to thousands of
students in grades 512 at the elementary, middle,
and high school levels--98 schools in all!
A Tidewater region native, Debbie Trowbridge is
one of the county's longest-serving string teachers.
She began studying the violin in seventh grade
and stuck with it, earning a degree in music from
West Virginia University in 1974. After teaching for
six years in Shenandoah County, Mrs. Trowbridge
arrived in PWCS in 1980, spending fi ve and 11 years
respectively at Woodbridge Senior High School
and Godwin (now Hampton) Middle School. After
a two-year hiatus to spend time with children she
and her husband, Mike (a bass player and retired
orchestra teacher), had adopted, she returned part-
time, eventually arriving at Nokesville Elementary
School (now The Nokesville School, a traditional
K8 school). She serves as the orchestra director
here as well as at Brentsville District High School,
where she has taught for the past four years.
Mrs. Trowbridge is excited to have witnessed
the growth of the string program. Brentsville is a
smaller school, which has an intermediate and an
advanced orchestra, each with about two dozen
students. Battlefi eld and Colgan High Schools
each have well over 100 orchestra students, while
Benton Middle School boasts over 300 orchestra
students. Prince William County Schools has 3,860
students in its elementary school string program
alone--an amazing statistic--and over 7,000 string
students countywide!
Creating a family atmosphere in the orchestras at
Brentsville is an important part of Mrs. Trowbridge's
philosophy. "The main goal at the beginning of
the year is to make them feel
that they're part of a bigger
picture," she says. Of course, she
also works on developing their
technique because the students
stem from fi ve middle schools, all
with different teachers.
Not only does Mrs. Trowbridge
help her students prepare for four
annual concerts, she creates other
opportunities for them to perform
at special events and encourages
them to audition for all-county,
regional, and all-state orchestras. In
addition, she feels it's important for
them to hear professional orchestras.
She has taken them to performances at the Music
Center at Strathmore as well as the Kennedy
Center. "They learn a lot on these trips," she says.
Mrs. Trowbridge's philosophy for her string
students aligns perfectly with another part of the
district's 1967 grant application, which reads as
follows: "Symphony orchestras in today's society
play a major role in the musical and cultural life
of every community of signifi cance. Young people
need to have the opportunity of playing stringed
instruments and to have exposure as students to
this phase of cultural life in preparation for their
continued cultural development as adults."
Congratulations to Prince William County Schools
on building an outstanding string program that
continues to thrive after half a century! To celebrate
50 years since the inaugural 19671968 string
program, a celebratory event will be held at
Brentsville High School on May 4, beginning with a
reception at 6:00 p.m. and followed by a concert at
7:30. Plans are still in the works, but performances
will include former PWCS orchestra teachers and
students! To learn more, contact PWCS string
teacher Christopher Dixon at
dixoncm@pwcs.edu.
~ Nancy Griffi n-Bonnaire
Fifty Years of Musical Strings in
Prince William County Schools
American Truck and
Trailer Now Offers
Vortex Spray-On Liners
FOCUS
on business
John & Cindy Myhre
~ Caitlin scott
Truck accessory and trailer service store
American Truck and Trailer Supply
just added a new brand to its menu of
services called Vortex Sprayliners. This
spray-on liner system applies a protective
coating on truck beds, trailer and van
interiors, ATV parts, fender flares, and
more to prevent scratches and rust.
Before co-owners John and Cindy Myhre
relocated to a larger space last February,
they had been using a different spray-on
liner brand to line truck beds. Because
the previous spray machine used high
pressure to apply liners, work had to
be done from inside a booth to contain
the mess from overspray. "We chose to
switch to Vortex because this machine
uses low pressure, and the chemicals
are environmentally friendly," says Cindy.
"There is no over spray or mess with the
low-pressure machine, so we can spray
large projects outside of the booth with a
portable spray-on liner system."
These versatile liners have a long list
of benefits. They offer better protection
than other brands, since they resist up
to 52,000 pounds of pressure per square
inch before damage occurs. The liner
also dries in about 10 seconds, has no
limit to thickness of application, and, in
the event of an accident, Vortex liners
are repairable. Customers don't have
to settle for the standard black paint,
either--they can choose from over 200
distinct colors to make their vehicles
one-of-a-kind.
The Myhres are used to making business
decisions large and small, and the
decision to switch to Vortex Sprayliners
seems like a good move--one that
will deliver yet another outstanding
product to their customers. This year,
Cindy and John celebrate 25 years in
business. Their store carries a large
inventory of truck products, and their
bigger shop allows a quick turnaround
for trailer repairs. To learn more, call
(703) 257-1710.