ForeverMissed
This memorial website was created in memory of our loved one, Bob Nicholson . We will remember him forever.
Posted by Pam Dodd on October 6, 2020
Mr. Nicholson, thank you so very much for 8 years of beautiful shows for us to watch our boys perform in. Your work made a huge positive impact in our sons’ lives and gave us all so much to be proud of. The Dodd family will never forget your talent and support you so lovingly shared with us. The experiences you created allowed our sons to follow their passion and happily enjoy success in so many aspects of their lives. We will miss you and could never thank you enough.
Posted by Drew Ross on October 5, 2020
Bob - It is so hard to imagine a world without you in it. I always respected the work you did as a designer, instructor, and administrator with AIA. It was so fun to cap off my last three years at Chantilly with you running our guard program. Between the rehearsals, competitions and trips, you were always "on" and made everyone better. In between, you always told hilarious stories and kept me laughing!

There is no doubt that you played a giant role in our competitive success. Your input made a world of difference and I am so thankful that you were a part of the program. You made a huge impact on every student you taught and because of that your legacy will live on!
Posted by Liz Calvert on October 2, 2020
Bob — I always enjoyed our conversations about band, music and specifically DCI. Your company, humor, honesty, straightforwardness and passion will always be things I remember when I think of you. Rest In Peace dear man. May you find the Corp of your dreams!
Posted by Hilary Kurland on October 2, 2020
Thank you Bob for recruiting me for one of my first teaching jobs after college and keeping me a part of the colorguard community in a time when I had resolved to leave it. I wouldn’t be where am I now if I had left the performance world back then. You taught me a great deal about show design and I was always amazed at how easily you could layer choreography into something spectacular. You made an impact on my life that won’t be forgotten.
Posted by Brandy Carter on October 2, 2020
Thank you for always being so kind, our students loved you!
Posted by Briana Frasnelli on October 2, 2020
Thank you for being able to take me out of a moment, to step outside the day's toils and find something to smile about. Your quick wit and poignant commentary was always something reliable on the days when I couldn't get out of my own head. You lit this world brightly and your light will continue to glow in all of the paths that you have contributed to. Rest easy.
Posted by Stephen Mark on October 2, 2020
Bob was one of those people you meet that has the ability to leave a mark on your life.

Working with him at JMHS was truly an honor. His creativity and enthusiasm for the pageantry arts was completely unparalleled and I am so happy that I was able to call him my friend. 

I will forever miss his quick humor and loving sassiness.
Posted by Friderike Butler on October 2, 2020
Bob - We miss you and your beloved pugs so much. The house feels hollow. Looking at our competing tomato plants makes me sad and it also makes me smile. You didn't tell me that tomato plants want to be the only plant in planter until there was not catching up with your gardening skills. :)
I will miss the miles of colorful fabric turning into stunning flags in your apartment. Our conversations on the patio. Gracie Lou's antics.
We are grateful for amazing memories with JMHS Band for 4 years. You were a one-of-a-kind human being and I still can quite process that you are gone.
We will cherish you and what you have given our family forever.
Your pugs are well-taken care of - we made sure of that. Love and light to you, Bob!
Posted by Sue Colwell on October 2, 2020
A world without Bob is a less colorful place.
For eleven years I would brainstorm with Bob to create color guard costumes for JMHS. It was an honor to be a part of the magic Bob created with his guard teams.
I enjoyed Bob's wicked sense of humor and his wonderful laughter. He will be sincerely missed.
Rest in peace Bob
Posted by Eric Dowty on October 2, 2020
I met Bob Nicholson in 1999 when he was my colorguard instructor in high school. After graduating I went on to teach with him for many years and I learned so much from him during our time together. We spent many a long night sewing flags, building props, designing shows, or just watching old WGI videos while eating pizza. We always ordered two separate ones because Bob LOVED anchovies on his pizza. He was always super encouraging in my endeavors and I do not know where I would be without him today.

Bob became a major mentor to me when I began teaching colorguard on my own, even as our schools competed against each other. I cannot express the impact this man has had on my life and now he is gone. 

Rest in peace Mr. Bob.
Posted by Clara Luckett on October 2, 2020
As a Guard parent, I had the pleasure of watching Bob and the Color Guard in action, both at practices and at competitions. As a full-time Instructional Assistant, it must not have been easy for Bob, juggling his school and coaching duties. Yet his vision and coaching contributed to performances that were always stellar. My sister (from San Francisco) saw a Madison Marching Band/ Color Guard show and asked who were the professionals that Madison hired to choreograph the show; well, Bob was responsible for choreographing the Color Guard, including their many accessories (flags, etc). Also, she commented about the Band music and Guard performances meshing well together; she said in San Francisco, the audience in the bleachers sometimes don't pay attention to the half-time shows. However, she couldn't take her eyes off the Madison Marching Band/Guard show due to the exciting sights & sounds!  Finally, Bob frequently "told it like it is". Although many a student didn't want to hear his constructive criticism, later I frequently overheard students say that Bob was right, i.e., his pushing resulted in many students giving amazing performances that they previously thought they couldn't do. So underneath his sometimes-gruff exterior, he really cared about the students. Bob, you are already deeply missed. May you know how much you mean to all of us. RIP.
Posted by David Wolf on September 30, 2020
For the 10 years I was at Madison, Bob was always supportive and a wonderful colleague. The more I got to know Bob, the more I enjoyed working with him. He always told it like it was, whether you wanted to hear it or not. His standards were high and his outstanding color guard program at JMHS is a reflection of that. It’s hard to imagine Bob not being part of the Madison Band program. It was an honor to work with you, Bob. Rest easy.
Posted by John Kenny on September 30, 2020
Bob - You certainly made an indelible mark on Madison! By day, you showed an unwavering level of compassion and patience with your students and by night, you were the mastermind behind the creative performances the color guard performed year after year. Your commitment to the Color guard was evident in the number of hours you devoted to them for practice, competitions and performances. Your impact on Madison will continue for many years to come.
Posted by Ann-Marie Johnson on September 30, 2020
Bob's artistic vision for the marching ensemble program amazed me year after year. As a parent of a band kid, I know that Bob touched many hundreds of young lives in a meaningful way. He leaves a legacy in each of those students that will grow over the coming decades. Bob will be deeply missed and leaves a hole in our hearts and in our community. 
Posted by James Hagen on September 30, 2020
I got to know him when I was in school it was a great pleasure knowing him I'm sorry for your loss James Hagen
Posted by Tom Shrump on September 29, 2020
I had the pleasure getting to know Bob at many BOA and WGI Pittsburgh regionals he attended with his guards. Enjoyed getting to see him at the events and having a chance to chat with him. Great guy who had great passion for the marching arts activity and the impact it (as well as himself) had on his students.  Truly enjoyed our conversations and will miss him dearly. Until we meet again!

Tom Shrump
(Norwin High School)
Posted by Sylvia Martin on September 29, 2020
I had the great pleasure of knowing and working with Bob for the four years I served on the executive committee of the Madison band booster. We shared a love of high fashion and liked many of the same high fashion designers and haute couture. He liked to watch "Absolutely Fabulous," which is a British show about the London fashion scene. We had frequent conversations about special fabrics and heavily beaded and gilded haute couture pieces that we both admired. His interest in high fashion certainly informed his vision of the bullfighter costume for the "Bullero" marching show. Bob had probably memorized the entire Pantone palette, and for him, blue was not just blue but rather was cornflower or periwinkle. Bob, we will miss your creativity, vision, and the color you added to our lives. I will miss our discussions of Christian Lacroix and Karl Lagerfeld. May you rest in peace.
Posted by Mohamad Rashid on September 29, 2020
I could talk to him
Posted by Patrick Massey on September 29, 2020
Bob- I still cannot believe you are not with us anymore! You were always very nice to everyone you came in contact with, and I will never forget the joy you would bring everyday. It was easy to see how much of an impact you made on all the students and colleagues around you on a daily basis. You also made such a large impact on the color guard team as well! Madison will truly not be the same when we get back into the building. Rest easy Bob!
Posted by Carol Dembicki on September 28, 2020
My heart is so heavy. Bob, you were always a light of laughter and warmth at Madison for so many people.

Bob loved his Colorguard. He was tough on the Colorguard because he respected and cherished the young men and women who rose to the level. Parents of the marching band from other schools always asked me about Madison’s marching band secret. My response – two things, the combo of Bob and Len H. plus a dedicated group of MAD students who spent countless hours practicing all year.

I realized how truly amazing the MAD Colorguard was when my friend from South Lakes, whose daughter plays trumpet in their band, described a marching competition last fall. She said that people came running back to the bleachers when the announcer asked Madison to take the field. Everyone was excited to see the MAD band. I asked her what she thought about our crew, and she could only talk about the Colorguard.

You will forever be missed and always loved.
Posted by Susan Petrovich on September 28, 2020
I worked with Bob as a parent volunteer, helping with uniforms for guard and band. Bob always had a strong vision which would usually turn into a sewing challenge for me and the uniform crew - whether it was drapes lined in red fabric that seemed to melt when you touched it, to shiney black stretch vinyl to bug antennae. Bob - thank you for trusting me to help make your vision come true.
Posted by Dan Blanchet on September 28, 2020
Bob - we weren't very close, but I always enjoyed seeing you and appreciated that you took the time to say hello in the hallways, or chat briefly when we were both hanging around in 143. I know you had a big impact on many students at Madison over the years and your presence will be missed. May your spirit continue to stay with us at JMHS to guide us and inspire us.

Leave a Tribute

 
Recent Tributes
Posted by Pam Dodd on October 6, 2020
Mr. Nicholson, thank you so very much for 8 years of beautiful shows for us to watch our boys perform in. Your work made a huge positive impact in our sons’ lives and gave us all so much to be proud of. The Dodd family will never forget your talent and support you so lovingly shared with us. The experiences you created allowed our sons to follow their passion and happily enjoy success in so many aspects of their lives. We will miss you and could never thank you enough.
Posted by Drew Ross on October 5, 2020
Bob - It is so hard to imagine a world without you in it. I always respected the work you did as a designer, instructor, and administrator with AIA. It was so fun to cap off my last three years at Chantilly with you running our guard program. Between the rehearsals, competitions and trips, you were always "on" and made everyone better. In between, you always told hilarious stories and kept me laughing!

There is no doubt that you played a giant role in our competitive success. Your input made a world of difference and I am so thankful that you were a part of the program. You made a huge impact on every student you taught and because of that your legacy will live on!
Posted by Liz Calvert on October 2, 2020
Bob — I always enjoyed our conversations about band, music and specifically DCI. Your company, humor, honesty, straightforwardness and passion will always be things I remember when I think of you. Rest In Peace dear man. May you find the Corp of your dreams!
his Life

His Creative and Imaginative Design

Bob's creativity, imagination, and personality were ever present in his visual design in the pageantry arts.  This was evident in both the Marching Ensemble Productions in which he was driving visual force and in his Winter Guard productions.  Each show was an encapsulation of Bob and his ability to create a fascinating music/visual story and to teach and inspire students to make them come to life.

The videos of Bob's career at James Madison High School can be viewed at the following links - please do not post this link in any other social location.  (We are missing 2007 and 2010 Winter Guard shows at the moment)

Bob's Influence and Successes

Bob Nicholson was the beloved guard director of the nationally-ranked JMHS band and guard program and instructor at James Madison High School. Bob was with the JMHS band/guard program for 17 years and was an instructional assistant at Madison for over 10 years. He supported many students in a variety of ways, including academic support during the school day and creative and artistic expression with the guard program.

Bob was highly regarded and well respected on a national level in the sport of guard. Since 1995, he was actively involved with the Atlantic Indoor Association which is a non-profit organization designed to support and encourage growth of students in the performing arts, including guard, percussion, and winds. Bob was inducted into the AIA Hall of Fame in March 2016. He was AIA President for six years and 1st Vice President for the AIA North Region. Bob was also actively involved with Winter Guard International which is a premier non-profit organization that produces indoor guard, percussion and winds competitions. WGI is like the BOA of indoor guard, percussion, and winds competitions. Bob taught at AIA and WGI clinics over the years and adjudicated many competitions.

Bob’s success in guard was evident at JMHS. Under his direction, the fall color guard and winter guard racked up awards and accolades every year. At fall marching competitions, the color guard consistently won the caption award for “Best Color Guard.” During the indoor season, JMHS Winter Guard won the Virginia state championship in 2014, 2015, 2016 and second place in 2017. In 2018, Mad Guard placed 4th at the Winter Guard International Regional Competition. The Guard won first place in their division at the 2019 AIA Regional Championship.

Bob’s vision and ingenuity will be sorely missed. He helped create much of the visual aspect of both the fall marching and winter indoor shows. He designed much of the color and movement of the marching shows and sewed many of the flags used by the color guard on the field. He understood the mechanics of dance, movement, and the skills necessary for a successful color guard and at the same time encouraged and guided his students to achieve their best.

Bob was an integral member of the JMHS band and guard family. He was kind, loyal to the program and his students, and a good friend to many. His absence will be keenly felt for years to come, and we will greatly miss him. Rest in peace, dear friend.

Gracie Lou and Angus

Bob's beloved pugs, Angus and Gracie Lou, have a new forever home!  Thanks to the efforts of Lori Baker (Kent's wife) and Bob's and the Baker's veterinarian, a family in Nokesville has adopted Bob's dogs!  Gracie Lou and Angus will be living on a 7-acre farm with a mom and dad, 2 human sisters, a pug sister, a German shepherd, two goats, and a bunch of chickens.  The dad is a dog trainer and vet tech, and the mom and girls immediately fell in love with Angus and Gracie Lou.  They will be well loved and cared for and have the opportunity for plenty of new adventures!
Recent stories

27 years of Joy!!!

Shared by Craig Byrnes on October 3, 2020
I met Bob and he became my family of choice in the fall of 1994.
My high school (Princess Anne) was a powerhouse marching band in the 70’s.
After watching a band tape, I started to go with him to competitions on the weekend because of my connection to the sport of the art!
Schools from Pennsylvania, to Maryland, and finally Virginia, I watched him improve his craft year after year. Every school he touched turned to gold!
He did this for 37 years, and I was blessed to have watched 27 of them.
I’m remembering the nights I couldn’t sleep because he was up all night sewing flags on his machine!
Dut tu du duttt di da dut.... 
I could not spin a flag or a rifle, but he taught me how to watch... timing, movement, what the ensemble was doing, and the general effect through design, color and music.
Many a night I walked away breathless, seeing his creations come to life! His house was filled with medals, photos, and videos of performances from 1980 to 2019!
Bolts of lame filled the living room and his bedroom!
I asked Bob, since he sewed his own flags, if he would help me create a gay bear flag for a research project I was doing when I first met him,
Now, that flag is known all over the world as the gay bear flag.  I call Bob “Bearetsy Ross”, and you know Bob’s sarcasm.  He’d reach over to smack me!   
During our history, I came to know the Pug world, and Bob and I hosted a number of pugs who were family:
Bob bought me Eddie Bob for Christmas because I had two pugs in my life previously.. Milly and Mona.
Then I got Peanut Butter as a rescue pug. 
Bob brought Patsy Lou, and I bought him Peaches. Then came Angus, and finally Gracie Lou. Pugs came to the rehearsals! Peaches loved lame!!!
I couldn’t watch the shows live, later on, so life with Bob became dinner, in front of the TV, score sheets and judges tapes in hand, while I watched the band or the Colorguard perform.
We discussed! I marveled!
Bob kept growing, and the magic got bigger!!! I was his biggest fan!
I’ve been blessed 4 times by Bob!
Life and love with the pugs, a history of gay bear culture, a lifelong friendship with amazing food that he prepared, and the wizardry he created on the field and the floor mat!
In the band and Colorguard world, this stands out to me:
if y’all did an amazing job, and a judge didn’t recognize and reward the excellence, he gave that judge a whoopin’!  Needless to say, they fell in line at their next judging performance! Now if a performer didn’t come up to what he believed was possible, he took that student out and gave them a verbal whoopin’!  He didn’t mince words, and many a tear was shed!
But, when it was time, all that hard discipline paid off, and the medals went around the neck, making the discipline worth it!
Mr. B, I’m so proud of you! You made my life so joyful! And to you guys at Madison, when you were regional champions and 2nd in your class at the BOA Grand Nationals, I was so proud of you too!  Together, you made the National stage, and Bob and your organization went out with a bang!
Rest in peace my dear friend, and my family of choice!
Life without you will be more black and white! You made it colorful