Director of Orchestras, Melissa Sunderland Jones, has had the privilege to work at Atlee High School since the 2002-2003 school year. Since then she has lead the orchestra to many wonderful performances and Superior and Excellent VBODA competition ratings.
Mrs. Jones began playing the violin at the age of 4 (almost 5) with master Suzuki teacher, Suzanne Schreck. Once in Jr. High and High School, Mrs. Jones worked in her school orchestras and consistently sat in 1st chair and concertmaster positions. Her major pre-college accomplishments include: Virginia Beach All City Orchestra 1st chair, Jr. Regional Orchestra Participation 7th-8th grade, Senior Regional Orchestra Participation 9th-12th grade, All State Orchestra Participation 10th-12th grade, and Bay Youth Symphony Orchestra Concerto Compeition Winner in 1995. Durring the summers she attended the following music festivals and camps: Brevard Music Center (1994) and Eastern Music Festival (1995 and 1996).
Mrs. Jones received a bachelor's in music education in 2000 from the Eastman School of Music. From there she traveled to Knoxville, TN to attend the University of Tennessee with a full scholarship for study in a Master's in Violin Performance. In addition, she was the first recipient and participant of a unique teaching assistantship in which the Knoxville Symphony, Knox County Publics Schools, and University partnered together to create new elementary strings programs for 4th and 5th graders. It was here that Mrs. Jones began her public school teaching career. She is especially proud that her experience in the Knox County Public schools allowed her the opportunity to teach at an urban, inner-city magnet program and realize the wonders music study can have for all students.
After receiving her Master's in Violin Performance in 2002, Mrs. Jones traveled back to her home state of Virginia and began teaching at Chickahominy Middle School and Atlee High School. Mrs. Jones has served as a Virginia Band and Orchestra District Festival judge throughout the state and has guest conducted the VCU Violapalooza, Chesterfield All County 7th grade orchestra, 8th grade orchestra, and the Jr. Regional Orchestra within Central Virginia. She is on faculty at the Greater Richmond School of Music with a violin studio and co-directs the Summer String Thing Chamber Orchestra and Small Ensemble Summer Camp.
She has continued to perform on violin by playing with area chamber groups, quartets, The Richmond Philharmonic, and area churches. In 2005, she began to fully explore the arena of rock with the group, A New Dawn Fades. Over the past decade she has be in the studio recording with her band Moruza and as regular violinist for the label, Spacebomb Records. Mrs. Jones can be heard performing with her band, Moruza. Their self-titled CD can be purchased online at Digstation.com, Cdbaby.com, and itunes.
Mrs. Jones enjoys spending time with her husband, Aaron Jones, step-son, Ezekiel Reed, and two year son, Charlie by going to music festivals, listening to current independent music on vinyl records, and making silly jokes about their two pet cats, Moxi and Fruvous.