GUS MOODY MEMORIAL TOURNAMENT
OCTOBER 7, 2023
THE PANEL for 2023
The James A. Moody Memorial Tournament of Bands is proudly named for the long-time band director of Summerville High School and director of the band program at Dorchester School District Two. James Augustus “Gus” Moody served as the band director at Summerville High School from 1960 to 1986.
Moody met his wife, had two daughters – Jan and Julie – and went on to become the band director at Summerville High School, a decision he was glad he stuck with because, he would say, he would never have gotten to know all his children. By “children” he did not mean Jan (Moody Reeves) and Julie (Moody Mise) alone, but the thousands of students he taught in his 26 years at Summerville High.
Moody came from Allendale, S.C. He was a lover of jazz music and a skilled saxophonist. He had his first paying job as a jazz player at 13 years old. He attended Furman University and, somewhere along the line, decided to join the army. During that time in the army he got to be stationed at the Navy School of Music in Washington, D.C., which had a big effect on his musical life, Reeves said.
Moody was known for pushing his students to do the right thing, look their best and always be on time – people, to this day, refer to Moody’s clock as “Eastern standard Moody time.” Reeves said summer band practices started at 8 a.m., and students were required to be there five minutes early. If even one person was late, then the next day band practice started at five minutes until 8 (which was really 10 till 8). “He just had his standards, and they better be met,” Reeves said. “And I think that’s why so many people will say that’s why he impacted them in such a great way.
Even after he retired in 1986 Moody was a very active man who loved to golf, fish and be involved in his church. He had a great love for his grandchildren – Reeves’s children Grace and James, and Mise’s daughter Hayden. The family has a house at Edisto Beach, filled with great memories of going to the beach, fishing and water skiing. He still played his saxophone and enjoyed playing with some of his former students. He would play for different benefits or events such as weddings, funerals or at church.
He was inducted into the South Carolina Band Directors Hall of Fame and the South Carolina Music Educators Hall of Fame. He was the recipient of numerous awards. His bands won three State Championships and many other awards.
The well-respected former band director passed away in 2015 at the age of 82. (Fittingly, Summerville High School was the sitting State Champion.)
Credits to Monica Kreber of The Summerville Journal Scene; Apr 30, 2015 (excepts)
Photo Courtesy of The Summerville Journal Scene