A little about Ms. Murray…
J. Christine (Bowie) Murray was born in West Palm Beach and is a graduate of the outstanding band program at Jupiter Middle School under the direction of Randy Sonntag, as well as a graduate of Jupiter High School’s band and choral programs. She was selected for the All-State Bands four times on the clarinet, participated in Solo and Ensemble Festival at the District and State levels routinely, was the student conductor at JHS, and received the Outstanding Musician Award for band. She went on to receive a full tuition scholarship at the University of Florida where she also received the Outstanding Musician Award for Symphonic Band, was principal clarinet, section leader in the Gator Band, was selected as a Concerto Competition Winner and performed with the University of Florida Orchestra. Mrs. Murray graduated from The University of Florida in 1987 with a Bachelor of Music Education degree with High Honors, and a Performance Certificate on Clarinet.
Mrs. Murray began her teaching career at Southwest Jr. High School (7-9th grades) in 1987 in Lakeland, Florida, as Choral Director and Associate Band Director. The band program, under the direction of Frank Howes (former FBA President), had won the esteemed “Sudler Cup” in 1986, denoting the most outstanding Jr. High Band Program in the country. In 1989, Mrs. Murray assumed the Director of Bands position of this exceptional program. Under her direction at Southwest Jr. High, the bands consistently received Superior ratings, the top band played music of level IV-VI, they performed at the USF Festival of Winds, and many of her students participated in All-District Honor Bands, All-State Bands and Solo/Ensemble Festivals. The various bands Mrs. Murray was responsible for were the Symphonic, Concert, Advanced Beginning, Beginning, and Jazz Bands as well as a 160-member Marching Band which performed at numerous football games and parades including the Magic Kingdom’s 3:00 parade and the parade at MGM Studios. In 1992, Mrs. Murray married Jim Murray whom she had met in the UF Gator Band. Jim is a percussionist and loves to help drummers! Mr. and Mrs. Murray moved to Broward County where Mrs. Murray was the band director at Attucks Middle School from 1992-93, and then the band director at Nova Middle School from 1993-96. Mrs. Murray’s bands at Nova were very active in FBA events, received consistent Superior ratings, and grew for three years until June of 1996 when their son, Shaun was born and the family moved back to Palm Beach County. Mrs. Murray has been happy to have had the opportunity to assist the middle and lower school bands and teach lower school music at The Benjamin School during the time when her children were young. Shaun has 2 sisters; Shannon(19) and Lindsey(15).
Mrs. Murray took over as Band Director at Independence Middle School in 2010, when Randy Sonntag retired. Since then, the bands under her direction have consistently earned superior ratings at the District Music Performance Assessments. In addition, in 2015, the Wind Ensemble earned the Grand National Adjudicator’s Invitational Championship for middle school bands.
Mrs. Murray is excited and proud to be the band director at Independence Middle School for her 8th year and is very much looking forward to continuing to share music with our students here at IMS for years to come.