Brookhaven’s music men Shaw Furlow and Tyler Bridge celebrated by Co-Lin
Published 10:12 am Thursday, October 13, 2016
Tyler Bridge bought his first guitar soon after visiting the home of the King.
Shaw Furlow was the first male drum major in the marching band at Delta State University.
Both Brookhaven men have made music their life’s work and on Oct. 22, they’ll be honored for those efforts.
The band and Colette chapter of the Copiah-Lincoln Community College Alumni Association will induct Furlow into its Hall of Fame and will honor Bridge as the Stanley Stewart Outstanding Young Alumni recipient.
The ceremony will take place during the college’s homecoming festivities.
From student to teacher to Hall of Fame
Furlow, 65, is a 1971 graduate of Co-Lin where he was a member of the Co-Lin Show Band and the first group of Sojourners on campus. After Co-Lin, he attended Delta State University, where he was the first male drum major in the marching band and received bachelor’s and master’s degrees in music education.
He also has hours in administration and guidance counseling on his transcript.
He served as director of bands at Co-Lin and as an instructor in the fine arts division for 16 years. He was director of the Sojourners for four years and was responsible for the revamping of the group from a show choir back to the rock band that it was when originally formed.
Sojourners was originally a folk group. Then they switched to canned music. Furlow put instruments in their hands and turned them into a decent rock band, he said.
While at Co-Lin, he served as president of the Mississippi Community and Junior Colleges Band Directors Association before his retirement in 2015.
He currently serves as band representative for Brookhaven Music and Sound and is active in the local music scene, both as a performer and promoter.
He is the host and producer of the internet series “Music from the Shady Side,” and helps organize Brookhaven’s annual music festival, Brookstock. He released an album of original songs in 2013 and produced the full-length movie, “Brookstock: The Documentary” in 2015.
Furlow has directed plays with Brookhaven Little Theater, and writes a monthly arts column.
He didn’t start out with plans to be a musician. His parents weren’t musical, though his uncle was. He remembers his uncle writing the alma mater for Brookhaven High back in 1951.
“My father had visions of all his boys being great athletes,” Furlow said.
But that wasn’t the direction he was headed. When he was 11 years old he started playing in the junior high band at Lipsey School. When it came time to declare a major in school, he couldn’t decide. His mother asked him what made him happiest. Music was the obvious choice.
Furlow passed on his love for music to his son Cole, who is also a musician and producer.
Being inducted into the Hall of Fame at Co-Lin is an honor Furlow didn’t expect.
“When they called me and told me I’d gotten this, I had no idea,” he said.
‘The Godfather of Music’
Bridge, who will be 39 Monday, is a 1998 graduate of Co-Lin where he was a member of the jazz band and guitar ensemble, and participated in various other music ensembles.
He started his musical career on the drums, which he was playing by the time he could walk. But when he discovered Elvis at 5 years old, he was hooked on guitar. “A trip to Graceland when I was about 5 made me realize I needed a guitar,” he said.
He played in the junior high band at Lipsey School, but his first musical gig was actually at a PTA meeting when he was in the fourth or fifth grade. At the urging of Ella Henderson, “a sweet music teacher” who encouraged him to play, Bridges sang a song he wrote about the school and played guitar. “We have it on video. It’s hilarious,” he said.
He played bass with a southern gospel group for a while and now has the Tyler Bridge Band, which plays at festivals and churches.
Bridge and music have always seemed to go together. “I’ve always been playing music in some form or fashion around here,” he said.
He has worked in radio as an announcer and producer for WBKN and WCHJ in Brookhaven and is owner of Brookhaven Music and Sound.
He has a recording studio in the store and works with other artists.
He also works with band programs in the area to provide affordable beginner band instruments for students.
The store offers private music lessons for all ages as well as a Kindermusic program for pre-school children. The store also holds a Rock Academy for school-age students during the summer.
Bridge helps organize and also performs in music events around the area like the Ole Brook Festival. He books all the entertainment and manages the stage for that yearly downtown party.
“He’s the godfather of music,” Furlow joked about his boss. “No one plays around here without going through him.”
Bridge just rolled his eyes.
He performs at churches, fundraisers, festivals, and events all around the state and has also assisted many local songwriters in writing lyrics and music for their own personal works. He serves as associate pastor of First United Methodist Church of Brookhaven and is a member of the Brookhaven Tourism Council. He and his wife, Kristi have one daughter, Lillie.
He said it’s an honor to receive the award named for his former band director.
Stewart taught both men at different times in his 41 year career at Co-Lin.
“Stanley Stewart is the guru of community college bands in Mississippi,” Furlow said.
Furlow and Bridge will be honored at the Band and Colette Chapter’s annual meeting at 9:30 a.m. in the Taylor Chapel on the Wesson campus, and again at the Alumni Association’s awards luncheon at11 a.m. in the Henley Cafeteria. For more information on homecoming events and activities, visit www.colin.edu/alumni/homecoming or call 601-643-8498.