Lynch times 2 inducted to Hall of Fame
SHENANDOAH JUNCTION – As Jefferson High School’s Cougar Marching Band took the field to compete at the West Virginia Marching Invitational in Charleston last Saturday, the group was excited to once again be in the competition format. Over the past several years the band has been exhibition rather than competition because there are often not comparable bands against which to compete. The group earned second place from the 39 band competing.
But, even more exciting was the opportunity the band to stand strong as their director, JP Lynch, Jr., was inducted into the West Virginia Band Director Hall of Fame. The band proudly played the Jefferson Cougar fight song in his honor.
The band also played the Martinsburg Bulldog fight song – something unheard of in high school band performances – but they did so to pay homage not JP Lynch, Jr., but John P. Lynch, Sr., who was also inducted into the Hall of Fame.
Lynch, Sr. served for 32 years as a high school band director, fostering a love of music and enthusiasm for band. He served as director at Martinsburg High School from 1971 until his retirement in 2005. In that time, the band grew from 60 students to 125 students. Since his retirement, “Papa Lynch,” as students affectionately call him, has worked with local middle and high school students to improve their playing. His dedication to band performances, long after he left the school system, shows his love of not only the music, but more so of the students.
Mr. Lynch is past president of the West Virginia Bandmasters, Phi Beta Mu National Band Directors Fraternity, Region IX Bandmasters Association, and has served as Chairman of the West Virginia All-State band as well as the WV Region IX Eastern Regional Jazz and Concert Festivals. He also served on the National Federation of Interscholastic Music Committee from 1989-92 in Kansas City, Missouri.
Besides his full time involvement with RS Tours & Travel, Mr. Lynch is still very active as a guest conductor and adjudicator in concert, jazz and marching bands.
Following in his father’s footsteps, JP Lynch, Jr., has instilled a love of music into the bands he has directed and students he has taught. Serving as the director at Jefferson High, he has increased the marching band to 200 strong while also developing talented musicians in the symphonic, concert and jazz ensembles at the school.
“His zeal, his abilities to ignite creativity and his humility as he uplifts the people that surround him make JP Lynch a deserving candidate for the West Virginia March Band Hall of Fame,” said one person who nominated Lynch, Jr. for the Hall of Fame
In true humility, Lynch, Jr. downplays the selection into the Hall saying that all he does is about the kids. They have the talent to perform and are an inspiration to him.
“Everything we do with the J-High band is a team effort,” he said. “So, it was extra special for me that we were all on the field together with our students playing the JHS fight song in the background.”
Joined on the field for the induction recognition were Lynch, Jr., his wife and daughters, one who plays in the band and one who serves in the color guard of Jefferson’s band. They joined Lynch, Sr. and his wife as the honors were given to both father and son.
“I was very honored to be recognized, surrounded by my family and colleagues,” Lynch, Jr., shared. “To be inducted alongside my father and mentor is something that I will never forget.”
Many parents were on hand at the competition in Charleston to see their students take second place and to witness the father/son induction ceremony. Many recognized the dedication of both men to their children’s music experience.
Teri Biebel, who has had two children go through the Jefferson band program under Lynch’s direction, shared, “J.P Lynch, is, in my opinion, the best thing about Jefferson High School.” She went on to say, “He shows kindness, encouragement, and leadership and in turn, those kids then exhibit those characteristics. J.P. brings out the best in his students time and time again.”
She added, “Papa Lynch has been a leader and a role model for the kids in his son’s band for at least as long as I’ve had children in the program. He cares for each and every one of them and truly makes the time, especially at band camp, to foster great relationships with them and act as a mentor to them.”
LaChelle Rick, mom of a senior band student, concurred.
“My thoughts on the Lynch legacy is just that! They are each legends in the music educators world,” she said.
“Their dedication to the music, the arts, the students and their associates goes above and beyond what a normal teach of the same stature would be. ‘Papa Lynch’ showed his love and dedication to his students and J.P. followed in his footsteps with that same love and dedication.”
Holly Morgan-Frye added, “Anyone who witnesses the Jefferson High School bands can see the high level of respect the students have for J.P. Lynch, Jr. He leads by example, he demonstrates civility and understanding of others and he expects a strong work ethic from each of his students – something they do because they witness his strong work ethic every day.”
Frye went on to add, “And then, J.P. brings his father into the group to work with the band students. It’s brilliant. Lovingly called “Papa Lynch,” this man brings a level of expertise and experience from his many years as a band director to share with our students. Collectively, these two men have had an enormous impact the lives of thousands of our children … and it only begins with the music.”
The consensus is that the students, the school, the community are the benefactors of the Lynch’s service to the community.
“We as parents are lucky to have him (J.P) in charge of our children in the band program,” Biebel said.
Rick agreed saying, “Our community, schools, students and the Eastern Panhandle are lucky to have both of them teaching our students.”