A beloved figure in Covington will soon step down from the position he created, transitioning from entertainer to life-long audience. And he plans to enjoy his newly found free time.
Timothy K. Adams Sr. recently announced his retirement from the Newton County Community Band, marking the first change in direction since Adams founded the band in 1993.
“It’s time to give somebody else a chance,” Adams said. “Young people are still looking for jobs out there. If you do so much, you share it with someone else.”
Adams, who lives with his wife, Louise, retired principal of Ficquett Elementary School, has been enveloped in music most of his life. A native of Waycross, Ga., he earned his Bachelor of Science in public school music from Morris Brown College and his masters in music education from VanderCook College of Music in Chicago, Ill.
He worked at then-combined R.L. Cousins elementary and high school for 36 years, teaching band and instrumental music, where he was recognized as teacher of the year four times. According to his bio, he was spotlighted in 1966 when 10 of his students were awarded a tour of Europe with the School Band and Chorus of America.
His best memories, he said, are when students call and write him after leaving school or the band, some who are now in their 70s, and are able to keep up with their music and just want to let him know and thank him. They come back to see a concert or even play along.
“To make me happy,” Adams said, “continue playing as long as you feel good doing it.”
And that’s what he wants for himself, too.
“I’m not gonna wait to get tired of it. The job has been good,” Adams said of the band. “It’s a wonderful group of players from all walks of life.”
Even though he won’t be conducting or teaching after the July 4 concert on the Covington square, Adams has no intention of turning away from possibly the only thing that has been with him longer than his loving wife. He wants to go to New York with her for a week and see a different type of show every night, each with a music connection. He wants to write articles about bands. He wants to continue loving music.
“I don’t know anything else to do,” Adams said. “I’ve been playing music all my life.
“I’m gonna miss it. I’m not gonna sit here and tell you I’m not gonna miss it. It’s just time. My wife has attended every concert since the beginning. Every single one. And she’s smiled every time, and that’s the way I want to feel when I go.”
His family has been his rock, Adams said, and he is not shy to gush about them.
“Some people say they have 50 percent of family support, but I’ve had 110 percent during the cold days and hot days,” Adams said.
His and Louise’s son, Timothy K. Adams Jr., is a tenured music professor at the University of Georgia. As The News has reported previously, Adams Sr. was denied admittance in 1960 because he was black. He said his son, no matter what state or country he was orchestrating in, has called every rehearsal to ask his father how it went.
The new community band director, a 15-year member, found out about Adams’ retirement two weeks before the rest of the band.
Adams called Alan Fowler, the Eastside High School band director, out in the hall before a recent rehearsal, according to Fowler.
“He said, ‘I got something to talk to you about,’ and he had this big smile on his face,” Fowler said. “Maybe a minute later, I said I’m not totally surprised because you’re doing a song (for the last concert) called ‘Bon Voyage.’
“’Well, you’re pretty smart.’”
Fowler said the tune in Adams’ final concert, “Bon Voyage,” opens up majestically, moves to a waltz in the middle and ends with a peppy note, almost like a march.
“It’s clear he programmed everything to be special,” Fowler said. “Every time I have a rehearsal with him, I leave having learned something. It used to be only about music, but now it’s about people and life. He’s a very wise man.
“Some people say I have big shoes to fill, but it’s gonna have to be a different pair of shoes.”