In Memoriam: Foster Edward “Ed” Jones, 1938–2019 Conductor Emeritus, The Prince William Community Band
Foster Edward “Ed” Jones was a founding conductor of the Prince William Community Band, leading the group in its first rehearsal in 1996. He served as PWCB’s principal conductor until 2016, and was named Conductor Emeritus in 2017. He died on July 30, 2019, at the age of 81.
A native of New Bern, North Carolina, Ed earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in music education from East Carolina University in Greenville. As an undergraduate, he was a member and leader of The Collegians, a 17-piece dance band that emulated sounds of the big band era. He was honored as a Distinguished Alumnus by the ECU School of Music in 1993.
Ed was a prominent music educator in Prince William County from 1970 until his retirement in 1999, teaching band at Gar-Field and Woodbridge high schools, and serving as the county music supervisor for six years. He was a member of the Music Educators National Conference, the Virginia Band and Orchestra Directors Association, the Virginia Education Association, the Prince William Education Association, the National Association of Jazz Educators, the National School Orchestra Association, and the Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia music fraternity.
Ed remained active in retirement as a guest conductor, adjudicator, and home-school band director—and as the leader of the Prince William Community Band. Ed was constantly on the hunt for new members, or encouraging former members to return. It didn’t matter where he saw you: in church, at a restaurant, at the supermarket—if he knew you played an instrument, or if you even looked like you played an instrument, he had a seat with your name on it, each and every Monday night. Ed worked tirelessly to expand the Band’s reach and reputation, and his vision helped drive the growth of PWCB over its first 20 years and beyond.
His long-time ambition was for the Band to perform at the annual national convention of the Association of Concert Bands. Shortly before he passed away, he helped prepare the Band’s ultimately successful application to perform at the ACB Convention in Virginia Beach in March 2020. It was always a delight to have Ed on the podium with the Prince William Community Band, and we treasure those moments—his warmth, his humor, his love of good music, and his passion for getting the most out of his ensembles. Ed left a rich legacy of contributions to the musical arts, as well as to thousands of skilled musicians, both professional and recreational, who flourished under his guiding hand.