T.K. Adams will conduct his next to last concert on April 28 when he leads the Newton Community Band at Eastside High School in its Spring Concert. (File Photo)
T.K. Adams, who for nearly 50 years has defined music and music education in Newton County, will soon put down his baton and finally venture into the retirement realm. But east metro music lovers will have two more chances to see the maestro do what he does best.
Adams, who taught at Cousins High School (and Cousins Middle School) for 37 years before retiring, has for the last 21 years served as the heart and soul — and musical director — of the Newton County Community Band, which has given many a former band student the opportunity to dust off his or her instrument and create music again.
“We’ve been in operation for 21 years and we’ve always had good support and love from our community,” said Adams, whose wife, Louise, is also a longtime educator in Newton County. “We’ve had excellent financial support from the Arnold Fund and the Porter Fund — they’ve been with us from the beginning, and have made it possible not to charge a fee to play with the band. It’s been a blessing.”
The veteran educator and musician will lead the Community Band in its annual Spring Concert at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, April 28, at Eastside High School. It will be Adams’ next-to-last date as the Community Band’s leader; he’ll close out his remarkable musical career at the ensemble’s July 4 performance on the downtown Square in Covington.
The 48-member band will present what Adams refers to as a “balanced musical meal” at the Spring Concert.
“That’s us — we play music from people from all walks of life,” he said. “I think that’s the thing that has made this band so unique through the years — we’ve got a little something for everybody.”
Adams has always been partial to marches and sacred music and this recital will be no different. The 70-minute program will also include an overture of classical music themes, waltzes and folk songs. Adams added that the program notes will be a helpful complement to the music the audience is hearing.
“We’ve got entertainment and education going on at the same time,” he said.
While the Community Band is filled with folks who studied under Adams at Cousins and has through the years featured the musical contributions of nearly a dozen high school band directors, the ensemble’s membership stretches far beyond Newton and Rockdale counties as residents of Macon, Athens, Gwinnett, Morgan, Walton, Henry and DeKalb counties are also among the instrumentalists.
Adams, who said that he established the Community Band more than two decades ago at the urging of former Covington Mayor William Dobbs, added that he’ll be handing his baton over to a more-than-capable successor, Eastside High band director Alan Fowler after the July 4 performance.
“(Fowler) is someone who is talented, dependable and helpful,” said Adams, who gave the keynote address in 2012 at the graduation ceremony for students at UGA’s Hodgson School of Music, where his son Timothy heads the percussion department. “And we’ve been rehearsing at his school for many years. The band will be in capable hands.”
The formation and development of a community band had long been one of Adams’ dreams, and it’s not surprising that players look at the group as an extended family.
“This is what I’ve always wanted — a community band,” he said. “We’ve had a few family members — mothers and fathers and daughters and sons and cousins — play together in the band. But it is a family band, which is what I reached out to do.”
Chris Starrs is a freelance writer based in Athens. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.