Ms. Emily Thomas began playing the violin at the age of three, and has enjoyed the stage ever since. Her experience includes solo performances in Italy, with the VCU Symphony and VCU Opera Orchestra, as well as performing at dozens of weddings, fundraising galas, and parties. Ms. Thomas served as the concertmaster for VCU’s Symphony Orchestra from the fall of 2013 through the end the fall 2014 semester. Though she was classically trained, she has played Christmas music for Clay Aiken on his Holiday tour, to klezmer music with Karamazov on an RVA public broadcast, as well as to Beatles, Dave Mathews, and Stevie Wonder for wedding ceremonies.
Although Ms. Thomas loves to perform, her true passion lies in education. She has taught at Cox High School for one year and has taught private string instrument lessons using the Suzuki Method for ten years. In the spring of 2014, Ms. Thomas accepted a position as the Elementary General Music Teacher at the Academy of Academic Excellence. Also in the spring of 2014, she was awarded the Jessica McCain Scholarship for my promise in the field of Music Education. Most recently, Ms. Thomas was nominated for the Virginia Symphony's Outstanding Music Educator award.
Wanting to promulgate her passion for string education, Ms. Thomas founded the American String Teachers Association VCU Collegiate Chapter, and served as president. She was awarded the VCU Department of Music Student Research Grant to travel to the 2015 National ASTA Conference in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Ms. Thomas graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University with a Bachelor of Music Education degree. Check out her website at www.violinbyemily.com.
“Ms. Thomas has created a new atmosphere in the orchestra room since she became our new director this year. In addition to changing the entire orchestra for the better, she also changed me. For years, I felt like I wasn’t improving. Now I feel like I’ve jumped five years ahead. My tone has improved, my technique has improved, and my confidence has improved tremendously. I am now a violinist willing to take on any challenge.”
- Ariana Ahmed, Class of 2016
Cox Pep Strings
This past year, we founded a new ensemble called "Pep Strings," a group that plays pop music and traditional pep band tunes at all of the home basketball games. Pep Strings performed everything from Van Halen to Flo Rida at last year's games, and we plan to come back bigger and better for next season!