2007-03-15 / Personalities

Joe David III honored with induction into Hall of Fame

JOE DAVID III JOE DAVID III The Georgia Music Education Association (GMEA) and the Georgia Chapter of the International Honorary Bandmasters Fraternity (Phi Beta Mu), honored former Cairo High School Band Director Joe A. David III last weekend for his outstanding service to the music education profession and its students.

David was officially inducted into the Georgia Bandmaster's Hall of Fame and the following day was presented the GMEA Distinguished Career Award at the Savannah International Trade and Convention Center. These two most coveted awards honoring Georgia's music education teachers are very rarely presented in conjunction with one another, but David was no ordinary band director.

It was David who initiated the induction of Cairo High School's first band director and his mentor, Major William T. Verran, as the first member of the Georgia Bandmasters Hall of Fame. David now joins Verran as one of only 20 Georgia band directors in the organization's history to be elected to the hall of fame.

David's career began in Savannah, Ga., as a member of the Savannah Symphony Orchestra. In his spare time he played drums on River Street, and on weekdays he commuted across the bridge into South Carolina to teach music at a K-12 school for six years. After his South Carolina stint, he directed the Albany High School band for one year before coming to CHS in 1972. With the exception of a four year move to conduct the Valdosta High School Band in the early 1980s, he taught at CHS for 20 years and considers his time in Cairo as the highlight of his career.

After retiring from the Grady County Public School System in 1996, David has spent the last 11 years (four years at Georgia Southern and seven years at Columbus State College) teaching music methods courses, supervising student teachers and directing bands at the college level. He is now completing his 42nd year as a music teacher. Known for his years of superior ratings at band festivals and his incomparable marching and concert bands at CHS, the maestro's focus was on building character, responsibility and improving self-esteem in his students. Students and colleagues fondly refer to his words of advice as "Joe Davidism's."

An attorney and former band major under David at CHS, Dene Perusse Peak, spoke of the profound influence David had and still exerts on her life and the lives of others. "Band, for his students, was so much more than just learning notes on a page or individuals playing musical instruments. It was about camaraderie and friendship, about self-respect and dignity. Mr. David inspired us with a sense of community, a respect for tradition and the pride in ourselves and our tradition to achieve great things," says Peak.

She recalls the band had over 250 members during David's tenure, which was well over a quarter of the entire high school population. "Mr. David managed to bring us all together as one big family, transcending all the normal high school cliques." Peak added, "Music lifts the soul, and that is truly the legacy that Mr. David bestowed upon us all."

David offered his thoughts about life as a bandmaster, teacher, and father. "I thank God first for music and my career in music and my family."

David's sons have all followed their father's path to postsecondary music education. Andy, (Joe A. David IV) is a college professor and director of bands at North Georgia College; John is finishing his doctoral degree in music at the University of Miami; and Jim, his youngest son, received his doctorate in music at Florida State University and is an adjunct professor at Columbus State University.

David's final words were directed toward his students of past and present, "I thank my students. That's all any of us can do, for success in teaching is thanks to our students. They tried to do what I asked them to do and forgave me when I asked them to do the wrong thing, and gave me another chance to straighten it out. We're there for the students; that's what teaching's all about."

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