Mary Munsey, from Abingdon VA, received her BA in music ed from Emory & Henry and her Masters in Music from James Madison University. She has been an elementary, middle & high school choral director for 18 years & is currently in her 12th year as director of the music department at VHCC (Virginia Highlands Community College).
She’s had a wide & varied career in music performance, teaching, piano accompanying for church and school choirs, bassoonist in symphonies, bass, mandolin & guitar playing in acoustic groups, and singing, and playing saxophone and keyboard in many bands.
She’s been writing & performing music for many years locally and nationally including multiple performances at the Bluebird Café in Nashville, TN, Carter Fold, Rhythm and Roots and Bluegrass Festivals including Ralph Stanley’s Festival in Coeburn VA.
Her song “Nine Days Old” won the 2010 Woody Guthrie International Folk Songwriting Contest and she performed a set of her originals at Woody Fest in Okemah OK July 15th, 2010. She placed 2nd in the IBMA’s (International Bluegrass Music Association) lesson plan contests in Nashville for both 2009 and 2010 and presented her elementary bluegrass plans at the IBMA Conference in October 2010.
In 2011 she had songs place in the Dallas TX, Wisconsin & Connecticut songwriter’s competitions. She performed in East Hartford CT in Aug 2011 at the Podunk Bluegrass Festival where she placed 2nd in the songwriting contest with her song This Side of The Wall. She presented a songwriting workshop in 2011 for the Virginia Highlands Festival and performed a solo concert at Heartwood opening for Jim Lauderdale. In the summer of 2012, she placed third with her song Nothin’ New in the International Woody Guthrie Songwriting Competition in Oklahoma. She won 1st in the Neuse River Songwriting Contest in February 2013 with This Side of the Wall and performed at the festival near Wilmington NC. Her song Eight Lives to Spare was a winner in the Smokey Mountain Songwriting Competition in 2019 and has placed twice in the Gathering in the Gap festival.
Her CD Nine Days Old includes some heartfelt material, but also includes songs that display her off-beat sense of humor. Reflections, released in 2013 includes instrumentals, country, bluegrass, and bluesy pop. Shades of Refinements released in 2015 features original jazz and blues. This recording displays her joy of playing saxophone and keyboard as well as songwriting. She is currently working on another CD of originals. Her recent song To Save a Few is a video tribute to area veterans and is dedicated to all who serve or have served in our military. You can find it on youtube at mary munsey To Save a Few. All profits from this project are given to Tunnel to Towers organization.
Recently, she has helped facilitate the Virginia Highlands region songwriters’ group which meets monthly at VHCC and is open to all interested songwriters. Contact her for more information. Check out marymunsey.com for more information.