AMEA: Lacey Powell – A Teacher for all Seasons

Susan Smith

Lives of great men all remind us, we can make our lives sublime, and, departing, leave behind us, footprints on the sands of time. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

When discussing leadership with my students – I always try to impress on them that there are multiple ways to lead. Some emerge as outgoing, first-to-the-top type of leaders and others lead through quiet example. While some leaders do what others can’t or won’t and others lead by going to work everyday making things better for all. Lacey Powell was a servant leader for our state in multiple facets.

Dr. Powell was the first band director at the University of South Alabama and served as President of Alabama Music Educators Association. He was the President of Phi Beta Mu and served as the state chairman of College Band Directors National Association as well as the American School Band Directors Association. He served as the Executive Director of AMEA and during his career as Director of Bands at Georgiana High School, Andalusia High School and Davidson High School, his bands were awarded only superior ratings.

The Alabama Music Educators Association named him Outstanding Music Educator and awarded him the AMEA Barbara Odom Leadership Service Award. He was inducted in the Alabama Bandmasters Hall of Fame and the Alabama Music Educators Association Hall of Fame. We have recently renamed an annual award in his honor, the Lacey Powell Outstanding Music Educator Award, highlighting the best of our teachers in music education.

After I was elected President of the AMEA, the first congratulatory letter came from Lacey Powell. His kind words were so genuine and heartfelt. He was never too busy to make others feel good and was always interested in bettering himself and those around him.

After his passing his students said about Dr. Powell;

“Mr. Powell was one of the most important teachers in my life. He made an impression on me to always keep trying, and endure to meet goal. He taught honor. “

“The best band director ever.”

“I was extremely privileged to have known Lacey through his and my love of music.What a joy to have worked under his tutelage while a member of the Marching 200 band.”

“I can still remember so very well as a Freshman when Dr. Powell ran over to me while in the 1st halftime DHS marching band practice exchanging my 3rd Trumpet music for 1st Trumpet saying, “You’re a 1st Trumpet player now”.”

As we make our way each day the best we know how, we hope to leave some legacy or have made some meaningful impact on our students and our profession. Lacey Powell did just that. While we will all miss his smile and giving heart, Lacey’s leadership will forever impact and guide music education for our state.