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News from the Virginia Beach Chorale

Lou Sawyer Memorial Scholarship in Music

The Virginia Beach Chorale is pleased to present the annual Lou Sawyer Memorial Scholarship. Mr. Sawyer was our director for many years and this scholarship has been made available by the many friends he made through his musical contributions to the community of Hampton Roads. The scholarship is awarded each year to a graduating senior who has been accepted by a college or university and plans to major in music.

Madison Michelle Bunch

2016 Winner: Ayush Joshi

Ayush Joshi is a graduate of Great Bridge High School. Ayush Joshi is an accomplished pianist, bassoonist, and percussionist. He performs with the Bay Youth Symphony Orchestra, the Great Bridge High School Wind Ensemble, and the Great Bridge High School Marching Band. He has demonstrated his leadership skills as front ensemble section leader and principal bassoonist. He was selected as a Chesapeake City Music Scholar and has been selected to the Senior Regional Orchestra and District Band. Ayush will be attending the College of William and Mary in the fall.

Madison Michelle Bunch

2011 Winner: Madison Michelle Bunch

Madison attended Kellam High School where she was an honor roll student that graduated in the top 15 percent of her class and was a member of the National Spanish Honors Society. She was in the Governor's School for the Arts Orchestra, served as President of the GSA Flute Choir, and played with her church's praise band. She has been selected to the All Virginia Band and the Regional Orchestra, and is the principal flutist with the Bay Youth Symphony Orchestra as well as a BYO Concerto Competition winner. Madison will be attending Virginia Commonwealth University in the fall where she will study Music Performance.

David Thom, Jr.

2010 Winner: David Thom, Jr.

David attended Tallwood High School and the Governor's School for the Arts. His activities included the track team and the diving team in addition to his instrumental and vocal talents. He is currently attending James Madison University, where he is majoring in viola performance.

Partners In Education

The Virginia Beach Chorale

The Chorale is very pleased to be participating in Virginia Beach City Public School's Partners In Education. This program supports collaborative efforts between schools and partnering organizations to foster a better understanding of public education and to provide additional resources intended to benefit students. Research supports a link between community engagement and student achievement, making the school division's 1,400 educational partnerships invaluable. Working together with our schools, partners support activities that are aligned with specific goals and provide expanded material, financial, and/or human resources to enhance and enrich teaching and learning. Each partnership is unique and individually planned between the school and the partner, allowing for unlimited opportunities to help promote students' academic and personal growth and success. The Chorale is partnering with the Visual & Performing Arts Academy at Salem High School to:

  • participate in music sharing
  • provide internships to Academy students
  • provide opportunities for Academy students to perform in Chorale concerts
  • provide ushers for Academy performances.

Everyone benefits from helping support the academic, social and emotional growth of our children.

In Memoriam: Lou Sawyer

Lou Sawyer conducts the Virginia Beach Chorale

On August 7, 2008, we lost Lou Sawyer, our director, teacher, mentor, inspiration, and beloved friend. The legacy he leaves behind cannot be measured and will have an effect on the music community of Hampton Roads for years to come.

Previous Chorale Biography of Lou Sawyer

Lou Sawyer is an outstanding director and musician with a strong background in teaching. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in Music Education from Old Dominion University and a Master of Music Education from Virginia Commonwealth University. Among those he has studied with in clinics and workshops with Fred Waring, Robert Shaw, Aaron Copland, and Randall Thompson.

Mr. Sawyer retired as Music Coordinator for the City of Virginia Beach Public Schools and is currently teaching and coordinating student teachers in Music Education for Old Dominion University. He is also currently teaching at Tidewater Community College. He is a past president of the Virginia Association of Music Education Administrators.

His teaching and conducting experience with performing groups includes local and statewide workshops, vocal clinics, radio, and television. Being a professional vocalist and director with appearances in operas, musicals, and numerous choral groups, plus instrumental guest appearances, adds a special dimension to this multi-talented man.