Overheard, out and about, Mrs. Grundy sees all, tells all

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 26, 2010

Peeping through my Venetian blind, I saw Miss Flora, coming over from Covington Hall to share a bouquet of summer phlox with me. We sat on my porch and had some lemonade that Gertrude Nelson had made for me – she makes the best in town! The ceiling fan made the heat bearable. We talked about summer’s getting here this past Monday, June 21. Of course, it already felt like summer long before June 21.

Today and tomorrow, by the way, are your last chances to see Jasmine Hill Gardens this season. The gardens are located above Montgomery and below Wetumpka and are open in the afternoons.

The late James “Jim” Arthur Nettles, once the bandmaster at the Andalusia High School, was remembered Sat., June 2, at 2 p.m. with a memorial concert, played by Rebecca Taylor, organist; Dale Riegle, trumpeter; and Steve Hubbard, pianist and regular organist for the First Presbyterian Church on South Three-Notch Street, the site of the concert.

Jim’s ashes had been placed in the columbary next to the Presbyterian Church the morning of the concert in a private ceremony. The dates of his life were placed on the marker, April 29, l935 – March 29, 2010.

Ten pieces were played by Mrs. Taylor, including Rimsky-Korsakov’s “Procession of the Nobles,” Hovhaness’s “Prayer of St. Gregory,” Haan’s arrangement of “My Lord, What a Morning,” Mussorgsky’s “Pictures at an Exhibition,” Barber’s “Adagio for Strings,” Greene’s “Trumpet Voluntary,” Copland’s “Variations on a Shaker Melody,” Bernstein’s “Make Our Garden Grow,” Williams’s “Basin Street Blues,” and Widor’s “Toccata,” probably the most popular piece of organ music now known. Widor’s masterpiece drew the angels, who were caught, peeping over the gilded edges of Paradise, to see what was going on!

The trumpeter, Riegle, was featured in half the pieces; and Hubbard played with Taylor on Copland’s number.

The trumpet was Jim’s preferred, solo instrument.

The three were given a standing ovation at the conclusion.

Attending were Jim’s family, Arlene, his wife and long-time director of the Arlene Nettles School of Dancing; Scott McBride Nettles of Austin, Texas, his son; and Janis “Ginger” Knox (Nettles) Taylor of Panama City, Fla., his daughter, with her husband, Tony Lamar Taylor, and their two daughters, Susan Arlene, 13, and Holly Ann, 9. The Taylors plan to move to Andalusia.

The guest organist, Rebecca Barrineau Taylor, is the director of music ministries, organist, and choirmaster at the Church of the Ascension in Montgomery, as well as the artistic director and conductor of the Montgomery Chorale. From 1972-1975, Mrs. Taylor lived in Andalusia, where she was organist at First United Methodist and taught at the Andalusia middle and high schools. She is married to Bill Taylor and has a son, Patrick Padgett.

Dale Riegle is the principal trumpet player with the Pensacola Symphony.

The ageless beauty of the Presbyterian sanctuary, lighted with the sun, filtered through the stained-glass windows, and cooled by the wooden interior, was the setting for the concert.

Blue, white, and lace-cap hydrangeas decorated the hall.

A reception followed in the new fellowship hall of First Presbyterian. The Presbyterian ladies, who do all things properly, welcomed guests to a beautifully appointed room with purple and blue hydrangeas on each table, an assortment of delicate, finger foods, and punch, silver-ladeled from a silver bowl. A grand arrangement of spring flowers centered the refreshment table.

“Jim” Nettles, 74, died March 29 at the M. D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas.

He was born to the former Frances Inez McBride and Dennis D. Nettles on April 29, 1935, in Linden and grew up in Demopolis. He was graduated from Demopolis High School in 1953, where he was president of the band, chorus and his senior class. While in high school, Jim was a trumpet player and vocalist with the Bigbee Barons, a famous Demopolis dance band. He then attended Livingston State University until his transfer to Auburn University in 1954, where he played in the Auburn marching and concert bands and the Auburn Knights, as well as various combos around the campus. Jim was graduated from Auburn in 1957 with a bachelor of science in music education. Immediately following graduation, Jim directed the Auburn High School Band before serving in the U.S. Army at Fort Jackson, S.C., until 1958. Later he received a master of science in education at Troy State University in 1972.

Jim began his teaching career at Theodore High School in Mobile, where he was their band and choral director from 1958-1959. He then directed the Henderson High School Band in Troy from 1959-1961. Jim moved to Andalusia in l961 and served as the Andalusia High School Band director for the next 28 years, retiring in 1989. During those years, his marching band almost always played music, which Jim had arranged especially for the group. Throughout retirement Jim served as business manager for his wife’s dancing school and continued to write band arrangements for bands in Alabama, Georgia and Mississippi. Jim wrote an original march, “The USS John C. Stennis March,” which was performed by the Starkville High School Band at the commissioning of the aircraft carrier, USS John C. Stennis, Dec. 9, 1995.

Jim was married to the former Emma Arlene Knox of Albertville on Aug. 16, 1958.

Jim is survived by his brothers, Jerre McBride Nettles of Graceville, Fla., and Michael Edward Nettles of Panama City, Fla., and his sister and brother-in-law, Rosslyn Ann and Jerry Max Anderson of Austell, Ga.

The family requests any memorials to be made to the Andalusia Public Library for the purchase of books about music in general or musical instruments, especially for children and jazz, one of Jim’s passions, or to the Organ Fund at the First Presbyterian Church.

Jimmy Conway, a member of the First Baptist Church in Evergreen, spoke as a Gideon June 13 at First Baptist Church, Andalusia, encouraging the congregation to donate money for Bibles. Mr. Conway runs a truck repair and wrecker service. He was introduced by Glenn Cook, a fellow Gideon and a member of First Baptist, Andalusia.

The week of May 24-28, the senior class of the Andalusia High School spent a good deal of time at the river, tubing, boating and skiing. Several members went camping at the Paul Place, compliments of the Evan Brooks family. “A good time was had by all,” except for the mosquitoes. On the day of graduation, May 28, 2010, the seniors spent the day at the river at a party, honoring Evan Brooks and Tally Morrow. Seniors swam and tubed, ate and laughed. The party was hosted by Bob and Denise Brooks and Kay Hugghins. After graduation that night, most graduates spent time with family members. The next morning Melissa Riley, daughter of Dodd and Jan Riley, offered her beach home to seniors for the weekend. Seniors shopped and played putt-putt golf and enjoyed their last weekend together.

Gentle reader, let me encourage each of us to be in his place or worship this weekend. Fare thee well.