top of page

About Us

Our program is comprised of orchestras from Albemarle HS and Journey MS and previously included Lakeside MS. Our schools are part of Albemarle County Public Schools in beautiful Charlottesville, Virginia, and have been directed by Carrie Finnegan for 22 years. The orchestras are committed to fostering a supportive and inclusive environment to serve students in playing bowed orchestral instruments and making a variety of music together. Albemarle Orchestras is committed to a high standard of musicianship and a sense of community by its members.


The Albemarle Orchestras are proud to boast the following achievements: 

  • Superior ratings at district assessments since 2007

  • First Place and Superior Ratings at eighteen national competitions

  • 2011 and 2016 Cruise Festival Grand Championships

  • Albemarle High School String Ensemble performance at the 2011 VMEA Conference

  • Albemarle High School music program recognized by VMEA as one of eight schools that has received the Blue Ribbon award for 15+ years

Director of orchestras, Carrie Finnegan, holds a Bachelor of Music in Music Education from James Madison University and a Master of Education in Instructional Technology from the University of Virginia. She studied violin with Dr. Wanchi Huang, violin and conducting with Dr. Robert McCashin, and served as vice president of the JMU ASTA chapter.


Originally from Woodbridge, Virginia, Mrs. Finnegan began playing violin in her middle school orchestra, which instilled her passion for school orchestra and music education. She was a member and vice president of the award-winning orchestras at Woodbridge High School under the tutelage of Mr. Bud Hearne and a member and orchestra librarian of the Youth Orchestras of Prince William.


Mrs. Finnegan began her teaching career with the orchestras here and has grown the program from just 36 students to over 250 students. Outside of the classroom, Mrs. Finnegan has served as the State Orchestra Representative for the Virginia Band & Orchestra Directors Association (VBODA) since 2012 and enjoys serving on numerous committees for the state including the Virginia Music Education Association (VMEA) Conference Planning Committee. One of her passions is serving her alma mater as the Logistics Director for the JMU Spring String Thing Camp. Recent honors include the 2020 JMU Outstanding Music Educator Alumni Award, the 2021 VBODA Philip J. Fuller Service Award, and the 2022 Robert L Canady Fellowship from UVA.  


Mrs. Finnegan also enjoys working on various projects with the Virginia Department of Education in developing and editing resources for educators across the commonwealth. Aside from a busy work and family life, she enjoys adjudication opportunities and guest conducting for regional and county orchestras. 


bottom of page