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Spann honored for arts commitment

When Jerry Spann announced his retirement from the Troy Arts Council recently, he thought all had been said and done.

But to his surprise and honor, the TAC didn’t let him go without expressing the council’s appreciation for his dedication, commitment and tireless efforts during more than three decades of service.

The TAC took the opportunity to recognize Spann and thank him for all that he has done to further the cultural arts in Troy during a presentation of the American Spiritual Ensemble at the Claudia Crosby Theater on Jan. 30

“Jerry is one of the founding members of the Troy Arts Council, which was founded in 1972,” said Kristi Drinkwater, TAC president. “He has served the TAC for many years and in different leadership positions, including our presenter chair, which is a position of great responsibility. Jerry has done an excellent job in bringing outstanding arts programs to Troy. He has spent countless hours putting these programs together and putting his best foot forward in representing the TAC.”

Drinkwater said that, not only has Spann been actively involved in the TAC, he has promoted the arts in other ways.

“Jerry was a music teacher in the Troy City Schools for many years,” she said. “He has touched countless lives through his music classes and the Troy Arts Council. We wanted to recognize and honor him for his many contributions.”

The TAC presented Spann with a gold ticket which will admit him to all future presentations of the council.

“We want Jerry to know that we still want him to be a part of all that we do,” Drinkwater said.

Spann said he is appreciative of the recognition and hopes that he has made a contribution to the mission of the TAC. He pledged his continued support – just on a different level.

As a charter member of the organization, Spann pointed to the work done on a federal project as the foundation of the arts council.

“Several of us were working with the state arts council on a federal project,” he said. “Betty Wagoner and Olivia Rainer were two. The project was designed to bring art, music, dance and drama into the classroom by training teachers to use the arts. Only five sites in the nation were selected for the project, which included workshops and residencies. It was a wonderful program.” When the two-year project ended, Spann said there was a movement under way to keep the arts alive in Troy and the TAC was born. “The purpose of the TAC was to improve the culture of the community by bringing different arts programs to town,” Spann said. “As presenter chair, I had opportunities to attend annual meetings throughout the Southeastern district and see a lot of shows that are available and to be a part of choosing the shows that we offered here.”

Spann, laughingly, said he learned to bargain with agents in order to get the best shows at the best prices.

“There’s a lot more involved than you would think in producing these performances,” he said. “There are bookings and scheduling and the telephone is ringing all the time and there are e-mails to answer. It takes a lot of time and effort to put on a show. There are so many little things that have to be done and it had just gotten to be a little much for me. I decided that it was time for me to let someone else take over.” Spann said he will continue to direct the choir at First United Methodist Church in Troy and he keeps his gold ticket in his pocket at all times because he doesn’t want to miss any of the fantastic programs that the TAC offers. “John Jinright will do a great job as presenter chair and I’m looking forward to using my gold ticket but I will still be a patron of the arts because the arts play such a significant role in our community,” Spann said.