We are thrilled to have Manuel A. Camacho II and J. Christine Murray as our Conductor and Assistant Conductor, respectively.
Manuel “Manny” A. Camacho II earned his Bachelors of Music degree in Music Education from the University of Miami. He studied euphonium with the late John Olah, studied tenor trombone with Tim Connor, and performed in all of the major ensembles at UM. After graduating, he was offered a Graduate Assistantship in Instrumental Conducting at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque under the tutelage of Eric Rombach-Kendall. He continued his euphonium studies with Dr. Karl Hinterbichler. Once he earned his Master of Music Degree, he moved back to Miami.
Manny taught for eight years in Miami-Dade County public schools. As the Director of Bands at Miami Coral Park Senior High School, his program received Superior ratings in Concert Band, Jazz Band and Marching Band. They were also awarded many accolades, including the Grammy Signature Schools Enterprise Award and the Otto Kraushaar Award. During his Miami-Dade teaching years, he was twice awarded the College Band Directors National Association Conducting Fellowship Grant, which took him to the Hartt Conservatory to study conducting with Robert H. Reynolds and Glen Adsitt. The second time he was awarded this fellowship, he had the opportunity to study conducting with Michael Haithcock and Rodney Dorsey at the University of Michigan.
After Miami, Manny moved to Palm Beach county where he taught at Santaluces High School for three years and later became the Assistant Band Director at Independence Middle School, teaching alongside Julie “Chris” Murray. He became the Director of Bands at Jupiter Middle School in September 2020.
Manny is also a current member of the Orchid City Brass Band. He plays euphonium and baritone, and has also been their guest conductor. During the summers, he has taught at the Palm Beach County Band Camp and First Presbyterian Church of North Palm Beach Music Conservatory.
Manny was brought on as the Assistant Conductor of the Palm Beach Gardens Concert Band in the winter of 2018. After the beloved Randy Sonntag retired as Music Director at the end of the regular season of 2020, Manny was appointed to the post.
Manny has a wonderful family with his wife Josephine and their children, Giacomo, Annabella, and Marina.
Mrs. J. “Chris” Murray is a product of the Palm Beach County School District. She a graduate of the outstanding band program at Jupiter Middle School (under the direction of former Palm Beach Gardens Concert Band Conductor Randy Sonntag), as well as a graduate of Jupiter High School’s band and choral programs. Mrs. Murray graduated from The University of Florida with a Bachelor of Music Education degree with High Honors and earned an additional Performance Certificate on Clarinet. She served as President of the Collegiate Music Educators National Conference for the University of Florida, won the UF Concerto Competition, and was chosen as Outstanding Musician in the UF Bands her senior year.
Mrs. Murray has served as Director of Bands at Southwest Jr. High in Lakeland and Attucks Middle School and Nova Middle School in Broward County. She was fortunate to have the opportunity to work at The Benjamin School while she and her husband Jim raised their three artistic children, Shaun, Shannon, and Lindsey. In 2010, she was handpicked by Randy Sonntag upon his retirement to replace him as Director of Bands at Independence Middle School. The bands at Independence have consistently earned Superior and GOLD ratings at numerous music festivals in the Southeastern United States.
Mrs. Murray has earned three FBA Five-Year Superior Awards for Middle School Bands, and she is also a certified and active FBA Solo and Ensemble and Concert Band Adjudicator. Mrs. Murray has enjoyed teaching at the First Presbyterian Church of North Palm Beach Summer Music Conservatory and the Palm Beach County Band Camp for numerous summers. She actively performs on clarinet in the band and orchestra at First Presbyterian Church in North Palm Beach, and in the community, and has been a long-time member of the Symphonic Band of the Palm Beaches.