The soundtrack of life

The Coat of Arms of Kappa Kappa Psi

Kappa Kappa Psi (Image via Wikipedia)

Music, I think, is the soundtrack of life. Only the most curmudgeonly of people would say they have not been changed or moved by music sometime in their lives. JMU musicians — faculty, students and alumni — have adopted that spirit and spread their talents all over the Shenandoah Valley.

One need only look at the impact of people like Be the Changer Marlon Foster (’82, ’95M) and J.R. Snow (’99), both directors of bands for Harrisonburg city schools, and Rob Nash (’96), director of bands for Rockingham County’s Turner Ashby High School, to understand that nothing is cloistered or haughty about music at JMU. Quite the opposite is true. Music is a passion shared widely and generously. Every year local students are inspired by the Marching Royal Dukes. Every year they learn from available private lessons. They benefit from myriad opportunities that teach and enrich. In a very real way, music spills out of JMU, drenching the valley in every genre and with every instrument — classical to  jazz, bands to ensembles, symphonies to soloists. In local schools, the influence of JMU musicians is significant.

Yesterday, we received an update from one of those talents, Be the Changer Avery Daugherty (’07, ’09M). Avery has just accepted a job as town manager of Grottoes, Va., a small town tucked right up against the mountains east of Harrisonburg. While Avery was a student at JMU, he made a commitment to enrich the lives of valley students by initiating a music scholarship.

Avery writes,”It is my goal to reach out in every way that I can to continue to promote musical talent throughout the Valley and am ecstatic to be moving back to the area full time.”

“I moved back to Harrisonburg a few months after graduation to pursue volunteer opportunities with the nearby town of Bridgewater. During this time, I actively served as alumnus to the JMU chapter of Kappa Kappa Psi, a music fraternity. I worked closely with their executive board promoting the Aspiring Musicians Scholarship to professors and students as well as other musical organizations on campus. The JMU chapter of Kappa Kappa Psi unanimously decided to adopt the AMS and oversee fund raising and distribution of funds. The fraternity decided to annually award deserving recipients in the Shenandoah Valley.”

Good news about Avery — and good news for music students in the Shenandoah Valley. If music is wealth, we in the valley are extraordinarily blessed by JMU.

To learn more about Kappa Kappa Psi, check out their website:

To read Avery’s Be the Change profile, visit:

And to learn more about JMU School of Music, visit:


About James Madison University
This blog is about the people of James Madison University — a caring, committed and engaged community spread all over the world, making lives better and brighter, healthier and safer, kinder and bolder. As Gandhi suggested, we are taking steps to BE the CHANGE we wish to see in the world. And these are our stories....

2 Responses to The soundtrack of life

  1. Allen Derina says:

    Yet another reminder that music is essential to society and part of the cultural spine of everyone everywhere!

    Eta Omicron, the JMU chapter of Kappa Kappa Psi, has a new website! You can learn more about the organization here:


    • grahammb says:

      You’re right, Allen. I can add that music is also the only universal language. Thanks for the updated link!


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