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 - Muriel Nanninga
Both Muriel and her husband Garrett were born and raised in Whittier, CA. In 2000 they decided to leave California and head East, finally deciding on Virginia. “We just decided to try the East Coast.” Having spent nearly twenty years with several community bands in Southern CA, it was a given that she would look for a new community band on the East Coast. To her great pleasure, she found the Prince William Community Band soon after settling down in Nokesville. During the day Muriel is an electrical engineer with one of the major Aerospace companies, but on Monday nights she gets to indulge in her passion for music. Muriel enjoys playing the entire flute family (piccolo, alto, bass, fife, pennywhistle, etc). She and her husband Garrett (a devoted band groupie) live in the Rural Crescent of Western Prince William County with their quarter horse mare Dutch. In addition to music, Muriel also enjoys gardening, knitting, cooking and sometimes “mucking”. (For non-horse people that means cleaning up after the horse.)
Vice President - Carol Ceglar
Carol joined the PWCB 15 years ago as a member of the flute section. She’s served in several positions for the band, including driver of the equipment truck, Treasurer, and Vice President. Her musical interests began early in life, influenced by family members who were band enthusiasts. In her home state of Florida, she attended college on a music scholarship and studied under excellent instructors. She took a break from playing while she accompanied her Air Force husband on assignments across the country. Settling in Prince William County in the 90s, she was pleased to learn of the community band’s existence. She dusted off her flute and enthusiastically joined the band in 2002. She is very proud to be a PWCB member and serve as its Vice President.
Personnel Manager - open
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 - Dean Saridakis
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 - Suzanne Marshall
Suzanne Marshall plays alto sax in the band. She started the Dunbar Sax Quartet (DSQ), in which she plays alto and soprano sax. She graduated from Purdue University with a Masters in Electrical Engineering and worked as an Electrical and Systems Engineer for IBM and Lockheed Martin for 19 years before becoming a full time home & garden manager with time for hobbies. She played alto sax, piano and organ through middle school and high school in Kentucky and was first chair alto sax in the Kentucky All-State Band for two years. She also played in a sax quartet in Charlotte, N.C. before coming to Prince William County in 1987. She substitutes on organ and piano at a local church. Suzanne also likes gardening, landscaping, cooking, hiking, and cross-country skiing.