Simpson, Larsen, Judd Band Scholarship
The Simpson, Larsen, Judd Band Scholarship was created to recognize 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 three educators who created a music environment at W.F. West that 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 death in 1982. Dan Judd took over for the next 24 years until 2006. During most of this period, Tom Larsen taught beginning students and assisted at the high school level. The time and energy these three men gave outside normal school hours is a tribute to the success of the music program in Chehalis schools.
Ron Simpson attended Western Washington College of Education on the GI Bill and 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 temporary head of their Music Department. Ron and his family moved to Chehalis, he made the administration happy, and 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 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 taught his whole 30-year career in the Chehalis School District. He worked primarily with middle school bands, but also with high school and elementary bands and general music. He served as district music coordinator for 18 years. During this time, Tom taught close to 9,000 students and, as a leader, made a big impact music offerings for every fifth grade student in the district. Tom was the organizing chair for the 1986 All-State Band in Wenatchee, was one of the first recipients of the Christa McAuliffe Washington State “Teacher of the Year” award, and in 2008, was inducted into the Washington Music Education Association “Hall of Fame”. He co-founded the Northwest Symphony, which he performed with for 20 years. Following his retirement in 1997, Tom began a musical instrument repair business, which became “Larsen Music”, serving all Lewis County, and remains involved in music in the community.
Dan Judd served as Director of Bands at W.F. West High School from 1982-2006. Under his leadership, the W.F. West. bands earned many honors in Concert, Jazz and Marching performances. Twice, the W.F. West Wind Ensemble was selected as featured performance ensemble at the WA All-State Music Education convention. The Bearcat Jazz Band earned 1st place honors at the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival in Moscow, ID. Mr. Judd provided hundreds of W. F. West musicians the opportunity to tour and perform in some of the most exciting venues possible with six “Washington-To-Washington” music tours to the east coast, In 2008, he was inducted into Washington Music Education Association “Hall of Fame”. Upon his retirement, Mr. Judd moved to Bend, OR. His Summit High School band earned the Oregon State 5A Band Championship seven times in his final eight years. Mr. Judd went on to serve as band contest adjudicator and clinician throughout Washington and Oregon..