Glenville Resident Honored by GSC Alumni Association
Glenville State College alums gathered on campus for the 2012 GSC Alumni Day on Saturday, April 28th. The GSC Annual Alumni Day Banquet held in the Mollohan Campus Community Center Ballroom capped off a day full of activities as alumni, family, and friends enjoyed a buffet dinner and the presentation of the 2012 GSC Alumni Association Awards.
Gregory Clark James of Glenville received the Outstanding Teacher Award. James is a third generation Glenville State College graduate following the footsteps of his mother and grandfather. They all became school teachers. He graduated from GSC in 1976 and has taught in the public schools of West Virginia for 36 years.
Year after year, he continually engages his Richwood High School Band students, i.e. the Lumberjack Express, in performances throughout the United States and Canada where they perform for millions of people at prestigious events. Many of these trips have been ‘once in a lifetime opportunities’ for his students. These performances have given his Richwood band the opportunity for appearances on international, national, and regional television.
Since coming under his direction in 1984, the Richwood Lumberjack Express has performed at the Gator Bowl Parade and Half-Time Spectacular in Jacksonville, Florida; Macy’s Christmas Parade; the Indianapolis 500 Festival Parade; enjoyed three appearances at the Kentucky Derby Festival Parade; performed at the Cincinnati Reds Pre-Game Show; Preakness Parade in Baltimore, Maryland; Festival of Lights Parade in Gatlinburg, Tennessee; a pre-game show for the Pittsburgh Pirates; the Blossom Festival in Niagara Falls, Canada; Knoxville Tennessee’s Santa Claus Parade; a Washington Nationals Pre-Game Show, the Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival Parade in Winchester, Virginia; a pre-game concert and show for the Atlanta Braves; the Autumn Glory Festival Parade, in Oakland, Maryland; ‘Lights, Camera! Music!‘ Series at Universal Studios, Florida; a Philadelphia Phillies pre-game show; ‘Sounds of Harmony’ series at Six Flags Great Adventure Land in New Jersey; a Mother’s Day Concert at Paramount’s Carowinds near Charlotte, North Carolina; paraded through Six Flags Mid-America in St. Louis, Missouri and Six Flags Over Georgia in Atlanta; and led the Disney Parade at Walt Disney World, and the NASCAR Coco-Cola 600 Parade in Charlotte, North Carolina. Additionally his band presented a concert at historic Rodney Square in Wilmington, Delaware, performed for the opening ceremonies of the Illinois Special Olympics, and has been selected by three different governors of the State of West Virginia to perform at the annual holiday tree lighting ceremony at the capitol building in Charleston.
Locally, the Lumberjack Express has been the recipient of consistent superior ratings at the West Virginia Regional Band Festival. The band has also received numerous awards and commendations at several of the following festivals throughout the State of West Virginia: WVU Band Spectacular; Marshall University Tri-State Marching Festival; Concord State College Marching Band Festival; Raleigh County Marching Festival; Covington, Virginia’s Cavalcade of Bands; West Virginia Black Walnut Festival; Greenbrier Marching Classic; Parkersburg Tournament of Champions; Mountain State Forest Festival; Nicholas County Potato Festival; and the Cherry River Festival. His Richwood band also performs at school-sponsored events such as football games, ceremonies, programs, and concerts. Each December, a holiday concert is given to benefit the local food pantry. This national exposure has not gone unnoticed. In 2000, Greg was featured in SBO, a National School Band and Orchestra Magazine, as West Virginia’s high school band director who makes a difference.
Gregory James was unable to attend the Banquet to receive his Award.
His mother, Helen Radcliff James (center) accepted the Award from
GSC Alumni Association President Dr. William S. Deel and Presenter Ruth Creasy Chisler.
He enjoys much community support and accommodating administrators who go out of their way to make sure that band doesn’t conflict with other classes. The community is so supportive that there is levy money provided for students who cannot afford horns so any student can be in the band and won’t be turned away because of lack of money. As one of the oldest high school band programs in the state, the Lumberjack Band boasts a proud history of musical excellence that is unparalleled among small rural schools. The band’s reputation for high-energy entertainment coupled with a repertoire of rock, pop, and show tunes under the direction of Mr. James is what has earned the Richwood ensemble repeat invitations from some of the most prestigious venues along the eastern seaboard.
A vast number of students in his band have gone on to perform music at the college level and at many colleges and universities across the country. Many of them have received music degrees and four of them currently teach in Nicholas County schools.
James was unable to attend the Alumni Banquet to accept his award because he was with the Lumberjack Express performing at Disney World in Florida.
“Gregory James has brought honor and fame to Glenville State College, Nicholas County, and West Virginia through his amazing teaching career,“ said Ruth Creasy Chisler (GSC ‘59) who presented James for his award. In his absence, his mother Helen Radcliff James (GSC ‘44) accepted his award.
James has been a member of the National Association for Music Educators for 40 years and is a member of the West Virginia Music Education Association; the West Virginia Bandmasters Association, West Virginia Education Association, Nicholas County Education Association, and the American Federation of Teachers. He sits on the Richwood Chamber of Commerce and is on the Board of Directors of Gilmer County Parks and Recreation. James is the choir director at Richwood Jr. High School and band director at both Richwood Junior High School and Richwood High School.
Other awards presented at the banquet included: Alumna of the Year to Ann Starcher Green ‘72 of Hilton Head, South Carolina; Outstanding Young Alumnus to Elizabeth ‘Lizzy’ Long ‘04 of Nashville, Tennessee; Alumni Achievement Award to Mark Romano ‘92 of Cowen, West Virginia; Community Service Award to Jack Tanner ‘64 of Fayetteville, West Virginia; and Posthumous Award to Elizabeth ‘Libby” Deitz ‘35 and ‘52 from Richwood, West Virginia.
For more information about the GSC Alumni Association, contact Debbie Nagy, Director of Alumni Affairs, at “email@example.com” or 304.462.4122.