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T.J. Byrnes Music Scholarship

"In life you will meet a lot of different people. If you are fortunate enough, you will meet someone who will have a major impact upon your life.
T.J. Byrnes was that person for me."
- William T. “Bill” McDonald

tj-1.jpgT.J. established the music department at Gainesville, Jr. College, Oakwood, GA in 1967. I was very fortunate to have T.J. as a band director in high school and in college. This endowment is established in his memory and to honor his life in music. His daughter commented he never talked about his life in music, but what he talked about, and was most important to him, was his students. T.J. had been in the Harry James and Tommy Dorsey Bands, which is no small accomplishment. T.J. had an open door policy. If you had a problem, you could always go and talk with him. He would always take the time to listen, and if you were smart, you would take his advice.

T.J. once told Bill McDonald: He said “Billy, if you will give music a chance you will fall in love with music, and whether music is a big or small part of your life, it will be so much more enjoyable if music is a part of your life.” It was not what he said it was the way he said it. He said it as if he genuinely cared about me...and he did. T.J. cared about every student he ever taught.

He had two separate goals in his teachings; first to make you a good musician and second to make you a good person.

T.J. Byrnes was more than a talented musician. He was more than a teacher. For many he was an inspiration. He inspired his students to make music a part of their lives, and by doing so gave them more than a skill. He gave them a source of direction, confidence and purpose. Because of T.J., you knew you could succeed in any challenge you undertook.

If you are interested in donating to this scholarship, you can give to this fund on this UNG Foundation page.


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