North Alabama Historical Society to remember prominent Church Musician

9/13/2012

At its meeting on Saturday, October 13,2012, the North Alabama Conference Historical Society will honor the memory of Dr. John Dressler, a prominent secular and church musician who for a time served in the North Alabama Conference. The meeting will be held at Sylacauga First United Methodist Church from 9: 30 AM through lunch that day. Reservations for lunch at the church should be made in advance.

Dressler lived in Vienna when the Nazis annexed Austria in 1938. In 1941, he was drafted into the German military where he became a part of the German Army Band. After the war, he made his way back to Vienna and started a band which made several albums. He composed dance songs, some of which made the top 10 on the radio “Hit Parade.” Soon he graduated from the world renowned Vienna Academy of Music as an expert in piano, French horn, and cello.

In 1954, Dressler was hired as Minister of Music at Sylacauga First United Methodist Church by Dr. Dan Whitsett. While there, he also taught concert band at Sylacauga High School. He remained there until 1961.

Then Peachtree Road United Methodist Church in Atalanta, GA, benefitted from his services until 1976. There he taught a children’s choir, a youth choir, the Chancel Choir, the Bell Choir, and a Barber Shop Quartet. He taught music lessons and published many compositions as well, many still in print today.

In 1976, Dressler moved to First United Methodist Church in Montgomery, where he also started and conducted the Montgomery Symphony Orchestra.

After three years,  he moved to Milford Delaware, where he finished his outstanding career by retiring in 1997.

Dr. Dressler’s story will be told by his son Theo, now living in Jacksonville, FL. Some of his music will be presented by the Sylacauga First United Methodist Church Choir under the direction of Chris Phillips. The history of that local church will be told by Bettye Lessley.

Luncheon reservations may be made by sending a check for $10 per reservation to Karen Brewer, Sylacauga First United Methodist Church, 105 E. Spring Street, Sylacauga, AL 35150. Deadlines for reservations are Monday, October 8. For additional information contact Pete West (256) 404-5547 or pwest1031@charter.net. To get directions to the church call (256) 249-0362.
 


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