The Alabama Bandmasters Association recently honored Cairo (GA) High School Band Director Johnny Folsom by inducting him into the State Bandmasters’ Hall of Fame.
The honor is limited to only a few select directors who have taught for a minimum of 25 years and are nominated by members of the International Bandmasters Fraternity Phi Beta Mu. After a year-long review by the nominating committee, the director must prove to be above reproach and have had band programs of the highest musical caliber.
After graduating from Troy University, Folsom began his teaching career in 1974 at Geneva High School, where he spent eight years teaching band in grades five through 12.
While in Geneva, Folsom and his wife Betty Ann welcomed to their family two daughters, Amy and Kelly.
In 1982, Folsom moved to T.R. Miller High School in Brewton, where he served as band director for 17 years. Folsom’s bands garnered an unequaled 17 years of state level concert competitions, winning 15 superior ratings, including a stretch of 13 in a row — a record that has held to this day.
The T.R. Miller Band also performed at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC, and played with country music star Hank Locklin on the steps of the Grand Ole’ Opry in Nashville.
Folsom has been active in music organizations both on the state and national level. He is currently Georgia Music Education Association district chair and a member of the Georgia Music Selection Committee. He is a past-president of the Alabama Bandmasters Association and served as Alabama state chair for the National Band Association.
Folsom was also selected as Troy University’s Music Department Alumni of the Year in 1996.
After teaching for 25 years in Alabama, Folsom retired and moved to Cairo, GA, where he has been teaching band at Cairo High School for the last 10 years.
At Cairo, Folsom’s bands have continued the streak of more than 60 years of superior ratings on the concert stage. The Syrupmaker Marching Band has played at college football games for Notre Dame, Troy University and Valdosta State University.
“I’ve been so blessed,” Folsom said. “I grew up with loving, supportive parents who were great educators themselves. Working with young people and helping them learn about life through music is what I look forward to doing every day.”