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Inspirational music instructor dies
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Jimmy Cutrell enjoys the music at the concert held in his honor Feb. 22 at Brenau University's Pearce Auditorium. - photo by Tom Reed

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Michelle Roueche, director of choral activities in the Brenau University Music Department, talks about Jimmy Cutrell, a beloved voice instructor who died Wednesday.
Jimmy Cutrell, a beloved instructor who had struggled with a disabling spinal condition since 2008, died Wednesday. He was 66.

“I always felt like Jimmy had a really special gift with children,” Michelle Roueche, director of choral activities in the Brenau University Music Department, said on Thursday.

“More than any person I’ve ever met, he had an ability to make children fall in love with music and that’s something they never forget — they carry that with them their entire lives.”

Other details concerning his death weren’t available Thursday. Little & Davenport Funeral Home in Gainesville is handling arrangements.

Cutrell had spinal stenosis, or narrowing of the spine, a condition that was diagnosed after he fell in 2008, resulting in paralysis from just below the neck down.

Friends and supporters threw a benefit concert for him in February at Brenau’s Pearce Auditorium.

“We are here ... to give back to an individual who has given so much to this community,” said emcee Vanessa Hyatt-Fugate at the event.

Cutrell watched from his wheelchair as performers, many of whom were his students, took the stage.

During the performance, Hyatt-Fugate also told the audience that Cutrell “has inspired, has motivated, educated and certainly aided in ... many lives of people in this community, especially the young people.”

Cutrell taught voice as part of Preparatory Music Inc. at Brenau.

A Web site that profiled him states that Cutrell, among other accomplishments, had a long church music career, serving as minister of music in Baptist churches in Mississippi and Georgia.

He served at the First Baptist Church of Gainesville for 11 years and later as music assistant at the First United Methodist Church of Gainesville.
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