Hall of famer|Former TRM band director to be honored

Published 11:31 am Wednesday, April 15, 2009

By Staff
special to the standard
special to the standard
Former T.R. Miller High School band director Johnny Folsom will be honored as the 34th inductee into the Alabama Bandmasters Hall of Fame April 18 during a ceremony at the annual All-State Band Concert in Auburn.
Folsom said the honor is a humbling experience.
The honor is limited to only a few select directors who have taught for a minimum of 25 years and are nominated by members of the International Bandmasters Fraternity Phi Beta Mu.  After a yearlong review by the nominating committee the director must prove to be above reproach and have had band programs of the highest musical caliber.
Folsom, who taught band at T.R. Miller for 17 years, currently lives in Georgia.
Lynn Smith, superintendent of Brewton City Schools, said Folsom was an asset while involved at T.R. Miller High School and the Brewton City School System music program.
Many children were influenced by Folsom’s direction and some parents believe he taught more than music,
In 1982 the Folsom family moved home to Escambia County where he taught at T.R. Miller High School for 17 years. 
While directing at the school, the bands garnered an unequaled 17 years of state level concert competitions, winning 15 superior ratings.  The band played at the Tri-States Band Clinic at Florida State University, the Southeastern United States Concert Band Clinic at Troy University, and at the AMEA Convention at Auburn University. The Miller Band also performed at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC, and also played with the late country music star Hank Locklin on the steps of the Grand Ole’ Opry in Nashville. 
Folsom’s marching bands played exhibitions at Auburn University football games as well as at Troy University games, in addition to earning top honors at marching competitions.
To further prove his influence on music students, current directors at both T.R. Miller and W.S. Neal are former students of Folsom.
T. R. Miller band director, Lance Gainous, said Folsom was an inspiration during his senior year in school.
Kim Waller-Smith, director at W.S. Neal High School said Folsom is the reason she pursued her career in the music field.
A Troy State University graduate, Folsom began his teaching career in 1974 at Geneva High School where he spent eight years teaching band in grades five through 12.  It was under Folsom that the band won their first superior rating at the Alabama State Band Contest and became a contender at marching contests all across Alabama, Florida, and even into Georgia.  
Mr. Wynnton Melton, retired Superintendent of Geneva City Schools, said Folsom’s direction is legendary.
He is a class person from head to toe. His character, morals, and leadership qualities are impeccable.”
Folsom has been active in music organizations both on the state and national level.  He is currently GMEA district chair, and member of the Georgia Music Selection Committee, is a past-president of the Alabama Bandmasters Association, and was Alabama State Chair for the National Band Association.  He was also selected as Troy State University’s Music Department Alumni of the Year in 1996.
After teaching for 25 years in Alabama, Folsom retired from Alabama and moved to Cairo, Georgia, where he has been teaching band at Cairo High School for the last 10 years. 
At Cairo, Folsom’s bands have continued the streak of over 60 years of superior ratings on the concert stage, and last year the Cairo High Symphony Band performed at the Southeastern United States Concert Band Clinic at Troy University.  The Syrupmaker Marching Band has played at college football games for Notre Dame, Troy University, and Valdosta State University, and will be seen on national television this year at the Florida Citrus Parade in Orlando as part of Capital One Bowl Week.

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