Ann Elizabeth Alford was born on October 14, 1941 in the Lawrence County Sanitarium. She passed away on June 17, 2019. She was the 4th child and the 3rd daughter of Roy Bob and Birdie Bell Pace Alford. She was the only one of their four children to be born in a hospital.
She grew up as a tomboy riding her bicycle, climbing trees, and playing with the boys in the neighborhood because there were no girls.
In the 7th grade she started playing trombone and by the 9th grade she decided she wanted to be a band director.
Ann graduated from LCHS in 1960. While in high school she was a member of a jazz band known as “George’s Eight.” She went to MTSU in Murfreesboro on a full music scholarship. She received a BS of Music Education Degree in 1964. During her time at MTSU she was elected President of the Band of Blue.
Upon graduation, Ann went to North Georgia and was the band director at North Habersham High School in Clarkesville, Georgia for four years. She built the band from 16 members to 96. She was selected Star Teacher. They were invited to the Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington, D.C. in 1967. They participated in the “Salute to America Parade” in Atlanta in 1966.
Her next stop was Dodge County High School in Eastman, Georgia during 1968-1969. She taught marching and concert bands to grades 6-12th. This was an interesting stop because her mother was born in Eastman.
Her next job was at Cherokee High School in Canton, Georgia as band director from 1969 until 1977. While there, Alford taught marching band, concert band, pep band and jazz band. This is where she really learned to be a band director. Her bands received a superior rating in both marching and concert band. She was Musical Director for four musicals during that time.
During her tenure at Cherokee County High, her band increased from 80 to 150 members and gained two assistant directors who cultivated band interest in the elementary and middle schools. Ann was chosen Cherokee High Scholl Teacher of the Year in 1974 and in 1976. She was chosen Cherokee County System Wide Star Teacher of the Year in 1976.
She was also selected as an adjudicator for the state and served many capacities with the Georgia Music Educators. Her highest honor came when she was selected as the first woman in Georgia to be named to “Phi Beta Mu" an international band masters fraternity.
In 1972 she went on a band tour of Europe with composer J. Clifton Williams as Associate Director of the American Youth Abroad Europe. She spent two weeks in Europe during the trip.
While at Cherokee she was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, but that didn’t stop her. She kept working.
After Cherokee, Ann left the teaching profession for seven years and operated “Laurel Lodge.” It was a specialty camp that catered to large groups such as football teams, bands, color guards, and church groups. She sold Laurel Lodge to return to teaching.
Ann served as choir director at the First United Methodist Church in Clayton, Georgia during the years 1978-1983. Ann directed adult and junior hand bell choirs while there. She directed many musicals during this period and lists this time as one of her favorites.
At Rabun County High School, Ann took over a very large program which had never won any superior ratings. Her first year there, she started a tradition which continues until today winning superior ratings for her band.
She became BDOW - band director on wheels. She traveled to three small colleges and started band programs in each.
Rabun Gap - Nacoochee School, a small private college prep school, in Rabun Gap, Georgia was the next stop from 1988-1998. She built a band program from 5 to 80 students, with a student enrollment of 200 total students. She was Musical Director for five musicals and was the Fine Arts Chairman for two years. She was named Star teacher not only for the school but for the county as well.
After Rabun Gap-Nacoochee School, Ann spent five years at Rabun County Middle School from 2005-2010, her bands had superior ratings. In addition, she was Musical Director. Next, she was a band director teaching beginning band in four elementary schools in Savannah, Georgia area.
On March 28, 1998, Ann received a Masters of Music Education at Troy University in Troy, Alabama. Ann was Chairman of the Georgia Music Educators Association Band Clinic. Ann attended the International French Horn Workshop in Montreal in 1974.
Throughout her career, Ann worked with several bands for pre-festivals. She and the Habersham Central Symphonic Band went to a Southeastern Conference in 2004. She has served as guest conductor for many bands over the years and was the Guest Conductor at the Southern band Clinic at Troy, Alabama twice and is considered an authority on both marching and concert bands.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Roy Bob and Birdie Bell Pace Alford; and two sisters, Jane Marie Alford Howard and Barbara Jean Alford Brown.
She is survived by one brother, Bobby Alford (Martha Ann) of Lawrenceburg, TN; several nieces and nephews.
Arrangements are being handled by Neal Funeral Home, 231 N. Military Avenue, Lawrenceburg, Tennessee. The family will receive friends from 4:00 PM to 8:00 PM Wednesday, June 19, 2019 at Neal Funeral Home and from 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM Thursday, June 20, 2019 at First Baptist Church of Lawrenceburg. Funeral services will be conducted at First Baptist Church of Lawrenceburg at 1:00 PM Thursday, June 20, 2019, with Rev. Noel F. Burt, Ph.D. officiating. Interment will follow at Mimosa Cemetery in Lawrenceburg, TN. Family suggests memorials be made to Ann Alford Scholarship Fund, Rabun County Band Boosters c/o Rabun County High School 230 Wild Cat Hill Drive Tiger, Georgia 30576.
Courtesy of Beck Funeral Home.