Director James Kirchenbauer brings not only a passion for playing and teaching, but an impressive career of experience to the Arlington Concert Band. A native of Toledo, Ohio, he received a Bachelor of Music in trumpet performance and a Master of Music Teaching from Oberlin College. Since then, he has been bringing his talents to the Washington, DC region, teaching at Crossland High School and Taney Junior High School in Prince George’s County, Maryland.
Most notably, Kirchenbauer has spent the past three decades growing and maturing McLean High School’s music program from a small program of just 33 students, to one of the most respected in the nation. During his tenure, McLean’s music programs won many accolades. McLean’s Marching Highlanders were recognized as one of Fairfax’s top marching programs and their appearances in the United States Scholastic Band Association’s finals competition at Giants Stadium earned them numerous top six finishes as well as a Class 4 Open Championship. The jazz ensemble, re-instituted under Kirchenbauer’s leadership in 1982, was selected in 1997 as one of 12 finalist bands from the eastern half of the US for Jazz At Lincoln Center’s Essentially Ellington Competition. In 2000, the John Philip Sousa Foundation awarded the McLean Symphonic Band the Sudler Flag of Honor, the most prestigious recognition a high school concert band can receive, and 2002, their first-place finish at the North American Music Festival in Toronto made them the top scoring concert band in all of North American’s 15 festivals that year. Under his direction, the McLean Symphonic Band was the featured performing group at the Virginia Music Educators Association Conference in 2002, appearing with the Boston Brass. In 2006, the band was invited for a second VMEA appearance and also performed at the Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic.
An accomplished musician himself, Kirchenbauer has performed as a member of the trumpet section of the Capital Wind Symphony, the Fairfax Wind Symphony and the Virginia Grand Military Band. His solo experience includes appearances with the McLean Symphony and the Virginia Grand Military Band. An avid vocalist as well, he sang for six years in the 13-member professional choir at St. John’s Church, Lafayette Square in Washington, DC.
Mr. Kirchenbauer is a member of the Music Educators National Conference, the American School Band Director’s Association, National Band Association and the Virginia Band and Orchestra Directors Association. He served as the Performing Arts Department Chairman at McLean High School for 20 years and was selected as McLean’s 1996-97 Teacher of the Year. Mr. Kirchenbauer enjoys skiing, scuba diving and cooking in his spare time. He resides in Arlington, Virginia with his wife, Lisa, and their three sons, John and twins, David and Robert.