2016 FMA Solo Winner

FMA Solo Logo

We are proud to announce the 2016 FMA SOLO Winner… Sarah Coffelt, a junior from Tullahoma, Tennessee. 

“Ms. Coffelt is a vital and an extremely visible member of our band program at Tullahoma. This year, she served in the role of field commander. Sarah’s leadership skills go well beyond her years and her peers hold her in the highest respect. Her musical skills have been proven throughout her school career by making numerous superior rankings at solo and ensemble festival. Sarah has also made our regional honor band for a number of years and this year was no different when she made the Gold Band at All Mid-State. She puts her all into everything and does so without asking for anything in return. In addition to music, her passion for aviation is an integral part of her daily life. Even more appropriate for this award, aviation will be Ms. Coffelt’s future career. I can think of no student who this award would better fit and you would be remiss to not consider her.” – Martin D. McFarlane Band Director Tullahoma Band

Hi! My name is Sarah Coffelt, and I am a junior at Tullahoma High School. At THS, I am involved with many programs including National Honor Society, NationalEnglish Honor Society, Mu Alpha Theta, the Green Team, Spanish Club, and the Tullahoma Band. In the band, I have achieved the highest placement of leadership both teaching and setting an example for younger and potential members of the band. I am also the Field Commander. As the Field Commander I have been exposed to unique opportunities and challenges such as leading a 150 member ensemble and becoming a band “mom.” Outside of school, I am employed at Tullahoma’s Regional Airport (KTHA). There, I work as a Service Specialist fueling, parking, and storing aircraft as well as personally assisting pilots. Working at KTHA has allowed me to gain experience around aircraft which I will take with me as I begin my flight lessons. I cannot wait to begin training and sharing my experiences with you all. Again, thank you for this amazing opportunity and I hope you all will follow me as I begin this journey.

“We have found that, perhaps more than any other teachers, band directors get to know their students’ dreams. With these scholarships, they can help select students achieve them.” — Tim Kern, CAM, B.Mus, MBA, founding member and Board Member of FMA, and aviation journalist.

Read the article posted in the Tullahoma News!

Follow Sarah as she documents her progress.


FMA applauds all of the finalists. They are outstanding individuals who deserve our support. FMA will continue to seek opportunities, lend support and encouragement. We encourage all nominees and finalists to stay in touch as they actively pursue academics, music, and aviation.



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15 thoughts on “2016 FMA Solo Winner”

  1. Greetings!

    Congrats again, Sarah! I hope everything is going well so far!

    I wanted to say hello as a fellow French horn player and a flight instructor! I’m from New York originally, and I currently live and work in Minnesota. Both are a little cold for intensive Marching Band, but great for short-field takeoffs! Anyways, I’m currently serving as the FMA Ambassador for Minnesota, and I wanted to reach out to you and see how things are going. Feel free to e-mail me at chris@flyingmusicians.org .

    Happy marching and happy flying!


  2. Congrats to Sarah Coffelt on winning the FMA Solo Scholarship!

    ~Ramona Banks
    FMA Member and Flute Player!

  3. Sarah, congratulations on your scholarship!! I am honored that you have chosen me to be your flight instructor. Our aviation community in Tullahoma Tn. is unique with folks in many walks of life and I believe that with your background and ambition you will be a great influence in aviation.

    So far Sarah has accomplished three 1hours lessons. Our focus is starting to shift to ground reference maneuvers and airport patterns. I have found it interesting watching how Sarah adjusts to the plane in regards to instrumentation and hand eye coordination. Sarah does a great job talking her way through procedures and working with the skills she has learnt during prior lessons. I’d say she is a natural pilot!!

  4. Congrats Sarah! Best of luck in your flying future! Keep us posted on your updates, especially when you solo!!! Take pictures!!!

  5. SUPER MEGA congratulations Sarah!!!! It’s been so great competing against your band during the fall. Tennessee represent! If you decide to peruse aviation, you should totally hit me up at UND when you start getting serious about looking for colleges next year. Have a GREAT season this fall! Tullahoma has been a great program to watch get better and better every year and they are lucky to have such a great drum major. Know that you have a friend in me and in the Franklin Band! Well done!

  6. I am so ecstatic and honored to have been selected for this scholarship. I know the competition was very tough and all finalists were worthy. This program, along with its sponsors, is making my dreams come true, and I would like to thank everyone who has had a hand in making this opportunity available. I would also like to thank one of my band directors, Mr. Martin McFarlane, for nominating me for this award. I am very excited and look forward to begin training and sharing my experience with everyone as I progress. Again, I would like to thank everyone, especially Flying Musicians Association, for this amazing opportunity.

    1. Hi Sarah, congratulations on your scholarship, and best of luck with your flight training. I have played the horn professionally for 30 years. When you get your PPL, and are looking for a cross country flight with a purpose, I will give you a free ticket to come hear me play.

  7. Congrats Sarah! I am excited to see your progress in the near future. Enjoy the experience and I wish you best of luck in the skies as well as in life!

  8. Congratulations to Sarah Coffelt! This is a very special opportunity that you have been given. I look forward to following your blog as you become a student pilot, and ultimately take your first solo flight,a day I’m sure you will remember for the rest of your life. Congratulations again, and good luck on your journey!

  9. I was one of the judges for this year’s nomination process. I just want to say that it was a tough choice and all the finalists had excellent credentials. I hope all of you continue your pursuits of music, of aviation and -of course- of mixing the two together FMA-style. Congratulations all!

  10. Congratulations to all those nominated for this outstanding program. I am grateful to the Flying Musicians Association for selecting me as a finalist for this year’s Solo Program. Thank you for enabling this tremendous opportunity; if selected, I look forward to being an active ambassador for the program.

    1. I am truly ecstatic and thankful for the Flying Musicians Association choice to nominate me as a finalist for the 2016 Solo Program. Upon discovering that your association coincided two passions: music and flying together, I really became excited about the possibility of becoming a part of it. I am grateful to be a nominee and I appreciate the opportunity that you plan to offer myself or one of the five other nominee. Thank you.

  11. I would like to thank the Flying Musicians Association for nominating me as a finalist! Using this as a tool to reach out to others, I look forward to representing this program as I head to UND in the fall.

  12. My name is Owen Scholz, and I would like to thank the Flying Musicians Association for their consideration of me as a finalist for the 2016 Solo Program. I hope that I will be conversing with all of the current as well as future members soon!

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