Though Lois Brown’s years of playing violin in the Newton County Community Band may be coming to an end, her passion for music is as strong as ever.
The 85-year-old, a charter member of the community band, played for 20 years under the leadership of band director T.K. Adams Sr. And she has played the same violin for 78 years.
Brown said that she began playing in the second or third grade, around 1935, and played in the orchestra at Decatur Girls High, where she graduated in the 1940s.
According to family, after Brown graduated, she married the late Tom Brown Sr. While she was raising her family, her violin was put aside.
However, in the 1980s, as a member of Macedonia Baptist Church just north of Oxford, Brown was invited by her friend Jean Jakes to join with other musicians at the church.
She said, "I just wanted to do it for the Lord’s work."
Brown explained that when she learned about plans for the Newton County Community Band, she was eager to take part.
"Mr. Adams … I happened to meet him and found out that there was a chance that he would start this band. To me, that was a blessing … someplace that I could go and interest myself in the music and the band," she said.
"You get to know people. It’s something that you enjoying doing; it’s not just to go in there and leave; you enjoy it."
And enjoyed it she has, though now, arthritis has forced Brown to slow down.
"It was a case of my health, and I was just getting where … in my hands and all … I just thought maybe it (would) be better if I just took off," she said.
A special program recognizing Brown and her contributions to the community band was held recently.
And though she won’t be playing frequently with the band in future concerts, Brown will continue to play at her church from time to time.
Brown lives in Oxford near her children, Linda Whitley and Tom Brown, Jr. She is the grandmother of six and the great-grandmother of 12.