Simpson, Larsen, Judd Band Scholarship
The Simpson/Larsen/Judd Scholarship was created to recognize certain individuals who demonstrate not only the utmost musical talent but also attributes such as community service, dedicated work outside the classroom and career skills that will serve them in whatever profession they choose to pursue.
The name of this scholarship was chosen to honor 3 educators who created a music environment at W.F. West which has influenced thousands of students, not only through music education but more importantly, through life skills that aren’t necessarily learned through other academic environments.
Ron Simpson began his teaching at W.F. West in 1956 until his untimely death in 1982. Dan Judd took over the reign for the next 24 years until 2006. Throughout a majority of this period, Tom Larsen taught the beginning students but also assisted at the high school level. The time and energy these 3 men gave outside of normal school hours is a tribute to the success of the music program in the Chehalis schools.
Ron Simpson attended Western Washington College of Education on the GI Bill. He graduated in 1956 with a degree in music education. In the spring of that year Ron was hired by the Chehalis School District
to finish out that year as head of their Music Department. It was to be a temporary job, based on his performance. Ron and his family moved to Chehalis, he made the administration happy, and he signed a contract. Ron never left Chehalis. He not only taught well but he had the ability to listen to and counsel his students when they brought him their problems. Ron was also an arranger and composer for Concert Band and Small Ensembles.
Ron Simpson died July 2, 1982, just after retiring, while traveling in New England with his wife. His death stunned family, friends, and the community. Many colleagues and former students performed at his memorial service as a final tribute to this man who gave so much to his family, friends, students and community.
Tom Larsen received his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from Central Washington University. Tom taught his whole 30-year career in the Chehalis School District, where his primary responsibility was middle school bands. He, also, did considerable work with high school and elementary bands and general music. Tom, also, served as music coordinator for the district for 18 years. During his 30 years, Tom taught approximately 9,000 students. As a leader, Tom created a way to offer a performing musical group (band, strings or choir) to every fifth-grade student in the district, and made music mandator for all fifth-grade students.
Tom was the band organizing chair for the 1986 All-State Band in Wenatchee. He was one of the first recipients of the Chritsa McAliffe Washington State “Teacher of the Year” award. In 2008, Tom, along with his coworker Dan Judd, were inducted into the Washington Music Education Association “Hall of Fame”. Tom co-founded the Northwest Symphony, of which he performed with for 20 years.
Following his retirement in 1997, Tom began a musical instrument repair business out of his home. It eventually evolved into “Larsen Music” which grew to full-service music store, serving all of Lewis County. In February 2008, Tom closed the store to retire again and travel extensively. He has stayed involved in music in the community.
Dan Judd served as Director of Bands at W.F. West High School from 1982-2006. He received his professional training and certification from Whitman College (BA-Music Education) and Central Washington University (MM-Music Ed/Conducting). Under Mr. Judd’s leadership, the W.F. West bands earned many honors and awards in Concert, Jazz and Marching performances. The W.F. West Wind Ensemble was selected as featured performance ensemble at the Washington All-State Music Education convention twice. The Bearcat Jazz Band earned 1st Place honors at the famous Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival in Moscow, Idaho.
Mr. Judd created and led six “Washington-To-Washington” music tours to the east coast USA, providing hundreds of W.F. West musicians the opportunity to tour and perform in some of the most exciting concert and parade venues possible.
In 2008 the Washington Music Education Association inducted Mr. Judd into the WMEA “Hall of Fame”.
Upon his retirement from Washington, Mr. Judd moved to Bend, Oregon. His Summit High School band earned the Oregon State 5A Band Championship seven times in his final eight years.
Dan and wife Lorene currently live in Milton-Freewater, Oregon, and anticipate moving back to the Chehalis area within the next year. In retirement, Mr. Judd serves as band contest adjudicator and clinician throughout Washington and Oregon.