News from the Tennessee Valley Opinion


Paul Stroud brought pleasure to many in area

Live music brings disparate people together in a way that perhaps no other performing art can.

Whether soft and smooth or rocking and raucous, live music has the ability to create a sense of companionship among those who share in its enjoyment, even when audience members are from different parts of the world or from different generations.

Paul Stroud of Somerville recognized this and worked to share his love of music with everyone in the Decatur area.

A saxophonist, Mr. Stroud loved music and he wanted to share that love. Influenced early on by the jazz and big-band sounds out of New Orleans he heard on the radio, Mr. Stroud wanted this community to be associated with live music in the way Memphis, St. Louis, Chicago and New Orleans are.

To that end, Mr. Stroud founded the Big Band Bash and, later, the Concerts in the Park series at Rhodes Ferry. He also helped other musicians find work and encouraged youngsters to take up the art.

Lindy Ashwander, director of the Princess Theatre Center for the Performing Arts, home of the Big Band Bash, said Mr. Stroud's enthusiasm was infectious: "He was a kind person and easy to work with. And I think that made it possible for him to get people excited and want to be involved in the projects he wanted to do."

Mr. Stroud's contributions to the community were not limited to music. He was an active volunteer, including at the Decatur Public Library, and served on the board of directors for the Volunteer Center of Morgan County.

Mr. Stroud died Tuesday at age 83. But he will not soon be forgotten. He left a legacy of music and culture that will continue to please community residents for generations.

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