North  Carolina
Bandmasters
Association




2020 Hall of Fame Inductees

Jay Bolder
Nominated by Jim Hill

Donald Peach
Nominated by Rodney Workman

Blair Smith
Nominated by Chris White

Marsha Smithwick
Nominated by Joshua Potter


Mike Fussell graduated from East Carolina University with a Bachelors in Music Education in 1979 and began his teaching career in Havelock, NC.  He taught grades 6-12 at Havelock High and Junior High Schools.  During his tenure there the program grew in both quantity and quality.  The concert band went from an excellent rating in Grade IV his first year to a Superior rating in Grade VI by the fifth year.  The marching band received numerous awards at marching band contest throughout North Carolina. 
In 1985 Mike was awarded a Graduate Assistantship at East Carolina University in the Music Education Department serving under Dr. George Knight.  He also worked as an Assistant Director of the Marching Pirates with Dr. Tom Goolsby.  After earning his Master’s Degree he served as Director of Bands at Deep Creek High School in Chesapeake, Va., and at JH Rose High School in Greenville.  Both programs continued to have outstanding marching and concert programs under his leadership. 
In 1989 Mike returned to Craven County to direct the bands at West Craven Middle School.  While there, the band became one of the finest middle school bands in the state of North Carolina, receiving Superior ratings at festival every year except two.  From 1993 to 2002 the Advanced Band received nine consecutive superior ratings in Grade IV music.  In 1998 the band was honored to be selected to perform at the NCMEA State Conference.  West Craven Middle Bands also won numerous awards at Dixie Classic and Music In The Parks Festivals.  Each year the band placed many students in both All-District and All-State Bands. 
Mike has twice been honored by being selected to conduct All-District Bands by the Eastern District Band Directors.  In 1990 he conducted the High School Concert Band, and in 2001 he conducted the Middle School Concert Band.  In 1996 Fussell was awarded the “Award of Excellence” by the Eastern District Band Directors Association.  He served one term as the President of the Eastern District and as treasurer for many years.   He has been, and continues to be very active as a clinician and adjudicator for both concert and marching festivals. 
Mike Fussell graduated from East Carolina University with a Bachelors in Music Education in 1979 and began his teaching career in Havelock, NC.  He taught grades 6-12 at Havelock High and Junior High Schools.  During his tenure there the program grew in both quantity and quality.  The concert band went from an excellent rating in Grade IV his first year to a Superior rating in Grade VI by the fifth year.  The marching band received numerous awards at marching band contest throughout North Carolina. 
In 1985 Mike was awarded a Graduate Assistantship at East Carolina University in the Music Education Department serving under Dr. George Knight.  He also worked as an Assistant Director of the Marching Pirates with Dr. Tom Goolsby.  After earning his Master’s Degree he served as Director of Bands at Deep Creek High School in Chesapeake, Va., and at JH Rose High School in Greenville.  Both programs continued to have outstanding marching and concert programs under his leadership. 
In 1989 Mike returned to Craven County to direct the bands at West Craven Middle School.  While there, the band became one of the finest middle school bands in the state of North Carolina, receiving Superior ratings at festival every year except two.  From 1993 to 2002 the Advanced Band received nine consecutive superior ratings in Grade IV music.  In 1998 the band was honored to be selected to perform at the NCMEA State Conference.  West Craven Middle Bands also won numerous awards at Dixie Classic and Music In The Parks Festivals.  Each year the band placed many students in both All-District and All-State Bands. 
Mike has twice been honored by being selected to conduct All-District Bands by the Eastern District Band Directors.  In 1990 he conducted the High School Concert Band, and in 2001 he conducted the Middle School Concert Band.  In 1996 Fussell was awarded the “Award of Excellence” by the Eastern District Band Directors Association.  He served one term as the President of the Eastern District and as treasurer for many years.   He has been, and continues to be very active as a clinician and adjudicator for both concert and marching festivals. 
Jay Bolder
Nominated by Jim Hill

Jay Bolder a native of Monroe, after graduation from Wingate University in 1980, began his career in Cumberland County teaching in both middle school and high school programs where he remained for 30 years until retirement in 2010. From 2011 through 2013 he held interim positions in both Cumberland County and Scotland County. Since 2013 he has served as a part-time assistant director and academic teacher at Central Academy for Technology and Arts in Monroe. He has served as a clinician in both Carolinas. 

He is a prolific composer, arranger and adjudicator. His bands have been exemplary in many areas: marching bands, concert bands, jazz bands, pop bands and full orchestra. His programs also participated annually in Solo and Ensemble. His personal philosophy for music education is to offer music to anyone who would like to learn. His bands garnered 41 Superior ratings at MPA, usually taking three bands per year and once taking four bands. His bands performed in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Philadelphia, Florida, California, Virginia and a cruise to the Bahamas. Forty of his students have enrolled in college as music majors, many as band directors. He has performed in musicals, community bands, symphony orchestras, top 40 groups and jazz groups. His varied experience includes casting and choreographing scenes for the movie “Bolden”.

He has received “The Order of the Long Leaf Pine”, the highest civilian award the state can bestow. Hope Mills, the town where he taught, honored him with “Jay Bolder Day”. He is a member of our state music and instrumental organizations. In addition, he has held memberships in the Cumberland County Band Directors Association, Southeastern District Band Association, South Central District Band Directors Association and is a member of the American School Band Directors Association.


Blair Smith
Nominated by Chris White
Blair Smith recently retired after 30 years of service to the North Carolina public education system. He is from Mechanicsville, Virginia where he graduated from Lee-Davis High School where his band director was David L. Hoggard. Mr. Smith graduated from East Carolina University in 1985 where his mentors were Herb Carter, Tom Goolsby and Harold Jones. He began his teaching career at Chaloner Middle School in Roanoke Rapids learning from David Hawks. He moved to Central Cabarrus High School in 1991. While at Central he benefited from the musical knowledge of Edd Powell. Mr. Smith retired as the Director of Bands at Jay M. Robinson High School in Concord, which opened in August 2001. Blair now works for Digital Performance Gear which provides apparel for the marching arts. His boss is, you guessed it, a former trombone player in his band.

His students have performed with the All-County Band, All-District Band, All-State Honors Band, the Honor Band of America Symphonic Band, the Honor Band of America Marching Band and the Governor’s School Wind Ensemble and Orchestra His students have been featured soloists with the Charlotte Symphony and Charlotte Youth Wind Ensemble. Solo and Ensemble performances by his students received Superior rating at all grade levels of music. Former students have continued to become music educators as well as making a career for themselves in the music industry. He has supervised numerous student teachers during his high school teaching career.

Mr. Smith’s concert bands have performed under national educators Robert W. Smith, Larry Clark, Mark Camphouse, James Keene, Tom Fraschillo, Samuel Hazo, Paul Murtha, Sean O’Loughlin, Steven Bryant, David Holsinger and James Swearingen. His bands have received Superior ratings at all grade levels as well as commissioning and premiering compositions by James Swearingen, “Carolina Legend”, Larry Clark “…and Shall We Never Cease to Wonder” and “S.C.D.B.A Fanfare”, Joseph Earp “Coastal Fanfare” and “Stone Mountain Fanfare”, Steven Bryant “The Machine Awakes”, John Mackey “13” and Robert W. Smith “Salvation”. His Wind Ensemble performed at the North Carolina Music Educator’s Conference in 1997.

Percussion ensembles under Mr. Smith’s direction performed twice at the North Carolina Day of Percussion as well as commissioning published percussion ensemble compositions “minor Infraction” by Rick Dior and “Bluegrass Rondeau” by Ed Kiefer. He has also served as former Director of Percussion studies with the Charlotte Youth Wind Ensemble.

His marching bands have received consistent Superior ratings at local, regional and national performances. As a prominent Bands of America participant his bands were consistent finalists at the regional and national level. His Central Cabarrus Marching Band was the last North Carolina band to make finals at the Bands of America Grand Nationals. Bands under his direction have performed for 2 Governors of North Carolina and twice for the Carolina Panthers. as well as noted international composer David Fanshawe. The Jazz Band at Robinson received Superior ratings at state Jazz festivals and regularly featured nationally accomplished jazz soloists.

Mr. Smith states “I have had the good fortune of learning from some of the best mentors and teachers anywhere. I hope that I have passed on part of my love of music and enthusiasm for band to my students. There is not a better profession in the world and I cannot imagine doing anything else as a career. We should be humbled that we have the ability to change a student’s life. With the amount of time students put into a band program, a director’s positive role model can make all the difference. Music is, and always will be, an extension of the soul. My goal was for each and every rehearsal to have the opportunity for at least one musically moving moment. The excitement in a student’s face after an inspiring performance can’t be duplicated. I am honored and very grateful that I worked with the best professionals and best people in the country.”

His wife of 29 years, Linda, is also a retired music educator and enjoys acting with several local and regional theater groups. Their two sons Aaron and Drew are a constant joy. Blair’s mother Catherine continues to support his love of music as she has done since he was in high school. Mr. Smith plays less golf now than when he was teaching but still maintains his solid 25 handicap.
Donald Peach
Nominated by Rodney Workman

Mr. Donald Peach, former Director of Bands and Music Coordinator at Hickory High School, recently served for the second time as the Interim Associate Director of bands at Appalachian State University where he was Director of the Marching Mountaineers and Symphony Band. He is a graduate of Mars Hill College with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Music Education. Mr. Peach was the Lincolnton High School Band Director from 1973 to 1994, during which time his bands received numerous Superior and Excellent ratings and attended the 1985 Inaugural Parade in Washington, D.C. After formally retiring from public school teaching, he was an Educational Representative for Music & Arts Centers for six years and rehearsed the Pride of the Mountains Marching Band at Western Carolina University for 12 years during their camps. 

Mr. Peach carries a flame of energy, fun, and dedication in all of his roles. He served as Past-President of Northwestern District Band Directors Association and is a member of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, the American School Band Director Association, and the North Carolina Music Educators Association. He has served as an adjudicator and presented various band clinics and workshops around the nation. Mr. Peach also served as the Curriculum Section Chair on the state task force that revised the music curriculum in North Carolina. In addition, he was the Assistant Director of the Spirit of America National Honors Band and Freedom Singers, which performed throughout Europe in the summer of 2001. He also enjoyed directing the orchestra for the Lincoln County Theatre Guild during their summer productions of Hello Dolly, The Sound of Music, Fiddler on the Roof, Oklahoma, and Music Man from 1981-1986. 

Currently, Don informally mentors young band directors and formally is Academic Music Supervisor for student teachers and practicum interns at Appalachian State University’s Hayes School of Music. He resides in Lincolnton with his wife, Anita, and remains active in his community. He has two children, Drew (a USMC veteran) and Anna, and a grandson, Braylon.



Marsha Smithwick
Nominated by Joshua Potter

Mrs. Marsha Smithwick retired in 1999 after having served for 30 years in the Bertie County schools, in eastern NC, teaching at the elementary, middle, and high school levels simultaneously for the duration of her career. Her concert ensembles at Bertie earned consistent superior ratings at MPA in Levels IV and V. Her marching bands earned consistently high rankings and ratings throughout her career as well. She developed a solo and ensemble program that performed local recitals as well as district events. 


Mrs. Smithwick served as president of the NCBA Eastern District for two terms, as well as President-elect, and Past President for each term. She served as the Senior High All-State Honors Band Auditions Chair for many years as well. She was recognized in her teaching career with the NCBA Award of Excellence, the Bertie County Young Educator Award, an Award of Excellence from the Bertie County Board of Education. She was an elected member of the American School Band Directors Association. She has conducted many All-County Honor Bands as well as the Eastern District Senior High All-District Concert Band. 


While most of her students could not afford private lessons, Mrs. Smithwick worked diligently with each of them individually to help them prepare for honor band auditions. Her students consistently earned spots in All-District and All-State Honors Bands. She had two students participate in the Sousa National Honor Band. Many of her students went on to become music educators as well. She was able to bring out the best in her students because they knew she would accept no less.


Mrs. Smithwick served as cooperating teacher for many student teachers and served as the President of the East Carolina School of Music Alumni. She took an interest in so many of the young band directors and was always someone interested in helping other further their careers. As someone who was a bit of a pioneer for women band directors, she was always ready with a funny story and a supportive comment when the young women musicians needed it. 


Mrs. Smithwick instilled a love of music education and the arts in the hearts of her students. She helped to bring culture to students in a very rural and socioeconomically disadvantaged area. She not only taught at Bertie High School but also at all the K-8 schools in the county. There were no middle schools in the county during this time-there were 7 different K-8 schools spanning and hours distance from one end of the county to the other. She began teaching students in 4th or 5th grade, often teaching in cafeterias, media centers, storage closets, or wherever she could have space. One evening a week, she would have some of the older students from all the different schools meet and rehearse to prepare for MPA. She would take these students from all the different schools to MPA and achieve top ratings, while being compared to other middle school programs who met daily. 


Perhaps the greatest testament to her is that she used music and the arts as a venue to bring empowerment, a sense of worth, and pride to her students. Her students attribute the work ethic and sense of pride that she instilled in them to meet goals and challenges as major contributors to their success today as music educators, regular educators, and with careers in many different fields. 


She provided so many of her students with a “safe place” to be in a high school environment that didn’t always seem so “safe”. Still today she keeps up with and checks in on her former students. A couple of years ago, a reunion was held with all the students she had taught invited. The turnout was astounding with hundreds of former students showing up to honor her career. 


One of her former students says, “On the days when teaching feels too hard, I press forward because I know that I just might be “that” teacher for a student in my classroom. And “that” teacher is the kind of teacher that Mrs. Smithwick was. The one who touches your mind and heart in an unforgettable way and gives you the skills and beliefs to help you become all that you’re meant to be. Having had her for a teacher feels like I was given a gift that I will never be able to reciprocate, but I will strive to do so by being the best teacher I can for my students.”