Earl E. Shaffer, Jr. is in his 44th year as a music educator. He retired from public school music teaching after a 35 years in June 2015. An Arlington, Virginia native, he attended Indiana University of Pennsylvania and graduated from James Madison University in 1980 with a Bachelors of Music in Education degree. An avid lifelong learner, Mr. Shaffer earned a Masters of Music in Music Education degree from Anderson University, South Carolina in May 2018, 61 days prior to his 61st birthday.
He joined the Richmond Pops in December 2015 just in time to play the Christmas Concert. He has been a regular in the band ever since and loves being a part of this great organization. He was appointed conductor in April 2022, shortly after the sudden and unexpected passing of the bands longtime director Joseph Simpkins.
He was the director of the Covington (Va.) High School Band for nine years prior to moving to Chesterfield County in August 1989 where he began a seventeen-year tenure as the director of bands at Lloyd C. Bird High School. He was appointed to develop the band program when the new Cosby High School opened in 2006.
Mr. Shaffer’s bands earned SUPERIOR ratings for 26 consecutive years at VBODA concert festivals beginning in 1990 and continuing to 2015 making this one of the longest streaks of its kind in the history of the Commonwealth. Mr. Shaffer’s bands have also earned Commonwealth of Virginia Honor Band titles 17 times as well during his career. Mr. Shaffer is a class of 2011 inductee in the High School Band Directors National Association (HSBDNA) Hall of Fame in Columbus Georgia and a recipient of the John Long Award for National Excellence in Music Education.
In retirement, Mr. Shaffer is currently serving as a professor in the department of music at Longwood University where he served as the director of bands for the 2021-2022 academic year and conducted the LU Wind Symphony. He continues to teach music education classes, supervise music student teachers, and direct “Stampede”, the LU basketball pep band.
Mr. Shaffer was inducted into the Virginia Band and Orchestra Association (VBODA) Hall of Fame in November 2022 as one of the leading high school band directors in the state’s history.
He is an active adjudicator and clinician for scholastic marching and concert band rehearsals and festivals in the mid-Atlantic region. He is a regular guest conductor of area and district honor bands as well.
Mr. Shaffer was one of the conductors of the Virginia Ambassadors of Music (VAM) Summer 2018 two-week European Concert Tour and did the same in the summer of 2016. He is also the Associate Conductor of the Greater Richmond Youth Wind Ensemble (GRYWE) which is an auditioned Richmond-area honor band that rehearses weekly in the spring at Virginia Commonwealth University.
Away from teaching, Mr. Shaffer is the very proud grandfather of three, is an avid N-Scale and O-Gauge model railroad operator and collector, a pilot of radio-controlled aircraft, is a clarinetist who currently performs with the Commonwealth Winds of Richmond Virginia and the Richmond Clarinet Choir, and is an avid distance bicyclist.