Robert Thurston is a former high-school band director and the former Chief Arranger-Composer for the United States Air Force Band, Washington, D.C. He joined the Prince William Community Band as a percussionist in 2014 and was named principal conductor in 2016.
Bob has been composing and arranging music professionally since 1980—including a 20-year career with the Air Force's premiere musical organization—and has written for ensembles of all kinds and sizes, in a wide variety of styles and genres. He has several published school-band pieces to his credit, and he has written commissioned works at every level from 6th-grade beginners through professionals. His duet arrangement of “Happy Xmas (War Is Over),” written for cello virtuoso Yo Yo Ma and ukulele master Jake Shimabukuro, appears on Ma’s 2008 CD Songs of Joy and Peace.
A native of Tallahassee, Florida, Bob earned degrees in music education from Florida State University, where he also studied arranging and composition with Charles Carter. He taught high school bands in Florida and Ohio for five years before enlisting in the Air Force in 1994.
Since retiring from the military in 2014, Bob has written and guest-conducted for middle-school, high-school, college, military and community bands throughout the United States.
Bob and Linda Thurston live in Woodbridge VA. They have four kids (including their son-in-law) and three grandkids.
Conductor - Jack Tilbury
Jack Tilbury was a member of The United States Army Band “Pershing’s Own” from 1972 to 2005. During that time he performed with the Army Concert Band, Ceremonial Band, Orchestra, and the Army Brass Quintet. He served as Tuba Section Leader, Band Announcer, Concert Band Group Leader and Unit Sergeant Major/Enlisted Leader. In 1983 he co-founded the annual Army Band Tuba-Euphonium Conference. He was the Editor of the TUBA Journal from 1981-1985 and has also served as a contributing editor for the Instrumentalist magazine. For 15 years he was principal tuba with the Washington Chamber Symphony. He holds a BME Degree from Wichita State University and a MM Degree from Catholic University. In retirement he spends most of his time fishing, but still performs regularly with the Virginia Grand Military Band, Prince William Community Band, Occoquan Heavy Metal Tuba Ensemble, Annandale Brass, Prelude Brass, Dominion Brass and the Classical Brass.
Condutor - John Cznadel
John Cznadel was born in New York City and graduated from the public schools of Passaic, New Jersey. He received his Bachelor's degree from The Yankton College Conservatory of Music and his Master's degree from Western Illinois University. Post graduate studies include The University of Wisconsin (Madison), Northern State University (South Dakota), Virginia Tech, and Villanova University. "Mr. C" was on the band staff of Beloit High School in Wisconsin before coming to PWC to direct bands at Woodbridge Middle and Saunders Middle, where he was the very first band director. He retired from PWC in 2010.
John has been a long time member of Prince William Community Band. He plays with the clarinet section when not conducting the band. During his career he was a member of the following: Va. Band and Orchestra Assoc. ; National Band Assoc. ; National Assoc. for Music Education; Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia; National Education Assoc. ; Marquis Who's Who.
President - Geoff Peterson
Geoffrey Peterson is a local musician, business owner, and a member of the Prince William Community Band since 2007. Geoff attended Osbourn High School in Manassas, where he was principal trumpet for 3 years.
After high school, Geoff pursued a career in radio broadcasting, as an on-air personality at several Washington DC radio stations. His broadcasting career took him to the Tidewater, Virginia area where he played trumpet at Busch Gardens with a variety of bands, but primarily in the Oktoberfest German band in the late 1970s.
In 2006, he and his wife Laura formed Swing Machine Big Band, comprised of many former members of the military service bands such as the Air Force Airmen of Note, Army Blues, and Navy Commodores. Geoff is band leader, and Laura is the band manager. Swing Machine has recorded 2 CDs, and has backed up members of the Temptations, Drifters and Platters, along with 2011 America's Got Talent winner Landau Eugene Murphy.
Geoff toured Europe with the Columbia Jazz Band in 2012, under the direction of retired Airmen of Note band leader Pete BarenBregge. He is also the bandleader and lead trumpet on the Moonlight Jazz Band, an 18-piece jazz band that is part of the Prince William Community Band.
While very involved in music as an avocation, Geoff's vocation is commercial aviation. He holds FAA certification as an Airline Transport Pilot, Certified Flight Instructor, Aircraft Maintenance Technician, and Aircraft Inspector. His aviation business is located at the Manassas Regional Airport. He also teaches aviation subjects part-time at Randolph-Macon Academy in Front Royal, where he is also their Director of Maintenance.
When not playing music, Geoff is active writing arrangements for both jazz bands and concert bands. His arrangements have been played by several local jazz and concert bands.
Geoff and his wife Laura reside in Front Royal. Between them, they have 10 grandchildren and one rabbit!
Vice President - Laura Peterson
This girl rocks! She fights hard for PWCB to make sure we have rehersal and performance locations!
Personnel Manager - Jenifer McDonald
Jenifer has been a supporter and part time volunteer of the PWCB since 1999, and was honored to be asked to fill the Personnel Manager vacancy. Her love of music goes to her childhood when her father would wake her up in the morning by playing Sousa. As a young adult Jenifer played guitar and piano. She often refers to herself as a "Professional Volunteer", having had served in various volunteer and officer capacities with: theNaples Little Theatre; the Washington, Virginia, and Maryland Garden Railway Society; the Naval Reasearch Laboratory Showboaters; Greyhound Rescue, Inc., the Virginia Renaissance Faire, Prince William County Dogs; Mason Neck Horse Coalition; Pet Assistance League, Titanic Productions, Civil War Civilians of Spotsylvania; Sighthound Underground, and the Confederation of Union Generals. In 2002 she co-founded Her Majesty's Hounds, an improvisational troupe who promotes retired racing Greyhound adoption and education through the living history portrayal of Queen Elizabeth I's royal fewterers. Jenifer's career history includes over 20 years as a government civilian and Department of Defense contractor supporting Logistics and C4ISR systems full life cycle management. She now owns her own business providing premium skincare, and creating one of a kind custom embroidered horse and hound accessories and historical costuming. She lives in Woodbridge with PWCB's own Public Relations manager, their rescued horse, rescued cat, rescued Moluccan cockatoo, and three retired racing greyhounds.
Public Relations Manager - Gary Shoemaker
Gary Shoemaker is a founding member of the Prince William Community Band and served as President from October 1999 through June 2008. He currently serves as the Public Relations Manager. Gary was born in Alexandria, Virginia, raised just south in the Wellington area, and attended public schools in Fairfax County. He began playing the trumpet in fifth grade at Hollin Hall Elementary School and continued at Stephen Foster Intermediate School. In September 1973 Gary was one of only five freshmen to audition and make the Fort Hunt High School symphonic band, which had just won the 1972 World Cup competition in Vienna, Austria. Gary was the trumpet soloist during his junior and senior years, was first chair trumpet in the district band, and is a Virginia All-State Band alumni. He continued his music education at James Madison University and participated in the marching, pep, and concert bands. However, after college, the trumpet was put in the case for 15 years waiting for the opportunity to once again be heard. In June 1996, Gary saw a small article announcing the Prince William Community Band’s first rehearsal; so he took his trumpet from its case and became one of the band’s charter members. He also served as the Principle Trumpet for the Manassas Symphony Orchestra for 10 years, and is now a member of the Moonlight Jazz Orchestra and PWCB Brass Ensemble. Gary is a 36-year Federal employee and is a Senior Analyst for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), United States Department of Transportation in Washington, D.C. He is responsible for evaluating the effectiveness and efficiencies of the FMCSA’s programs and grants totaling nearly $660 million. Along with music, Gary’s passion is his volunteer work with Greyhound Rescue, Inc. As part of their Virginia Connection, he, and the love of his live, Jenifer, work to promote greyhound adoption through meet-&-greets, performing during the Virginia Renaissance Faire, and anytime they are out on the town with their “pack”. Together, they have personally adopted 12 retired racers, and fostered and placed many more. They currently live in Dale City, Virginia and currently care for three retired racers, one rescued cat, a rescued Moluccan Cockatoo and a rescued horse. There are times when it is not clear who is in charge!
Treasurer - Vacant
Librarian - Greg Alfonso
Greg Alfonso joined the Prince William Community Band shortly after its inception in 1996, and has served several terms as its Librarian, during which time the music library has grown to include over 330 works for concert band. Mr. Alfonso’s leadership helped to establish the organization’s policies and procedures for acquisition and handling of sheet music, among the Band’s most important assets.
Greg has actively participated in instrumental music since the sixth grade, abandoning trumpet after a year to pursue the euphonium. He was Drum Major of the North Central High School marching band in his hometown of Indianapolis, IN. He was also one of very few students selected into North Central’s Symphonic Wind Ensemble as a sophomore. This band consistently achieved superior ratings in Division I of the Indiana School Music Association’s annual festival competition, and played for visiting President Jimmy Carter. For several years, Mr. Alfonso also studied organ. While earning a degree in Computer Science, he was a member of the Purdue University “All-American” Marching Band, and Purdue’s Concert, Collegiate, and Ceremonial Bands.
Greg is active in his local church, where he coordinates a team of sound technicians to plan and manage sound reinforcement for church and private events. Greg’s other interests include hiking, bicycling, and local history. One day he would like to learn guitar, piano, drum set, orchestration, and trombone. Mr. Alfonso has been a resident of Manassas for the past 25 years, where he works as a software engineer for a large aerospace and electronics technology corporation.
Secretary - Mona Davidson - Tisler
Member of the clarinet section of the band. Graduate of Gar-Field High School many years ago. Studied music and psychology at WVU. Played with WVU Wind Symphony, WVU Marching Band, Cape Cod Concert Band, and Knightwind Ensemble in Milwaukee, WI. After returning to Prince William County I joined the PW Community Band. I enjoy playing music and continue to learn and grow with my mentor John Colbert. I particularly enjoy playing chamber music and playing within an orchestra.