Neighbor: Clashing cymbals

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 13, 2000

changed Tucker’s life


Features Editor

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Oct. 12, 2000 10 PM

Had Terry Tucker never picked up a pair of cymbals and struck them together, he would not be where he is today.

Tucker, owner and CEO of Legacy Pictures, has stretched his roots far from their foundation in Goshen, but that is where his passion took hold and gave direction to his life’s work.

Tucker, 25, was a member of the Goshen High School Marching Eagles for three years. He played trumpet, too, but percussion was his passion.

"In band, I found a place for myself," he said. "In music I found purpose."

When Tucker enrolled at Troy State University, he had his eye on corporate America and dreamed the American dream – big car, big house, big bucks. But a man, Dr. Johnny Long, and a band, the Sound of the South, stirred a passion within him that promised greater satisfaction than all the "big" things of his dreams.

Tucker didn’t realize for several years what a deep impact Long and his music had on him.

He went about the business of becoming Mr. Corporate America. He graduated from Troy State University and was accepted into Duke University’s graduate program. He receive his master’s degree in business administration and was honored to be the youngest person accepted into the program..

Tucker carried high credentials with him into corporate America and quickly made his way up the ladder at Ernst & Young.

Living the "good" life in Atlanta, Tucker began to realize that his calling in life might not be at the top of the corporate ladder. It might be that he was to march to the beat of a different drummer. It might be that, through music, he had unleashed the creative "juices" inside him that caused him to feel a tightening around his neck in "corporate America."

Today, Tucker is a manger for Ernst & Young. His future there is bright but his eyes and his heart are looking in a different direction. Soon, Tucker will loosen himself from the corporate world and go the way of the beat of the different drum.

"Working for Ernest & Young has been an amazing experience," Tucker said. "Having the opportunity to manage a project involving 1,700 employees is an awesome responsibility for a man my age. It has been exciting, challenging and rewarding in many ways, especially financially. But something was missing. I just didn’t know what."

One night as Tucker was returning to Atlanta from a business trip, his plane was hit by lightning. The terrifying experience caused him to wonder, "What am I doing up here!" But not just up there 33,000 feet in the air, but caught up there in the world of big business.

Tucker wanted more and he was willing to do it for less. What he once consider "big" in his dreams had diminished and other dreams of heart had taken its place.

Tucker’s interest in music, in storytelling, in documenting history and in entertainment, in general, prompted him to get involved in the film industry.

He founded a small film company called Legacy Pictures and began to gather those around him who had similar interests and a passion for the arts.

His company began with a few small projects which allowed him to do a little moonlighting away from the world of big business. He gained great satisfaction from being able to explore the creative side of Terry Tucker.

However, in the back of his mind, he was thinking big again, but not big cars, big houses and big bucks, but big impact.

"I realized there are stories out there that need to be told because of the potential they have to motivate, inspire and change lives," Tucker said. "The one that kept tumbling around in my mind was the story of Dr. Johnny Long and the impact that he has had on so many people and the impact that music has on so many lives. It was a story that needed to be told."

To tell the story the of legacy of Dr. Johnny Long and his music, Tucker wanted the "biggest and baddest" film makers he could find. And, fate played its hand.

While attending the Sundance Film Festival, Tucker met film makers and brothers, Roko and Adrian Belic, who had received an Academy Award nomination for Best Documentary Feature, Genghis Blues. The three quickly discovered they had like minds and a similar purpose in bringing high quality stories to the silver screen. They became good friends and linked together as business partners.

Tucker shared his desire to document Dr. Johnny Long’s story on film and the independent film makers agreed it was the kind of story they liked to tell.

Last week, they trio was in Troy to begin filming of A Music Legacy, the Dr. Johnny Long Story.

"It is more than the life story of Dr. Long," Tucker said. "It is the story of the legacy of music in life and it’s a story that needs to be told. We are excited about it. We are honored to do it and we thank Dr. Long and Troy State University for giving us this opportunity."

In the summer, Tucker will bid farewell to Ernst & Young with great appreciation for the experiences he has had there. He will enter Duke once again to pursue a doctorate degree in psychology. While there, he and the Benic brothers will produce a "reality" film that follows seven students through the rigors of law school.

"There is a lot of personal stuff that goes on in law schools like Duke and no one can do through it without experiencing a transformation in their lives," Tucker said. "People need to see what they go through in order to appreciate what they have accomplished."

Tucker said he will use the film for his purpose, too.

"As a psychologist, I have to know and accept that we all have different neurological makeups and we do not process information in the same way," he said. "We each have to find what we are good at and what we are not good at and celebrate the good and not punish ourselves for what we are not good at."

Tucker has realized his passion and he’s good at it and that’s the path he will follow and learn from what is past.

Editor’s note: An account of the filming of Dr. Johnny Long’s documentary will be the feature of Sunday’s County Roads.