A longtime community advocate will serve as the grand marshal of this year’s New Albany Christmas parade.
Phil Nanney, who is the executive director of the Union County Development Association, was the “perfect choice” for grand marshal, said Billye Jean Stroud, director of New Albany Main Street.
This is a way to thank him for his years of service to the community, Stroud said. Nanney has been very dedicated to the UCDA, the Magnolia Civic Center and the arts in general, Stroud added.
Nanney said he has been so involved in the community over the years because, “I just love New Albany. We’ve raised our children here. New Albany’s a great place to live and to work.”
He has been the executive director of the UCDA for nearly 11 years and will retire from that position at the end of the year.
Nanney also served on the Magnolia Civic Center Board of Directors for more than 20 years before retiring from that board in August.
New Albany is his “second home,” he said, noting that he grew up in Baldwyn.
The people make New Albany a great place, Nanney said, adding, “It’s the people that make the community.”
The people of New Albany “cherish home, hearth and tradition but are not afraid to look forward to what’s next,” Nanney said.
He said he has “loved every minute” of his service to the community.
He is also a past member of the Rotary Club and was instrumental in bringing the early childhood education program Excel by 5 to the community.
Nanney also chairs the board for the New Haven Center for Special Needs Adults.
For more than 20 years, Nanney has been assistant director of the New Albany High School musical. His late wife, Sylvia, was the director of the musical for 20 years.
Now his daughter, Mary Beth Muncie, is the director of the New Albany High School musical, and his son, Phillip is the music director, while Nanney serves as the technical director.
He said they are a musical family.
“We’ve been involved in the musical life of this community for years,” Nanney said.
He is a former minister of music at First Baptist Church in New Albany and was the band director at the high school for several years. Currently, he is the minister of music at Ingomar Baptist Church.
Nanney serves on the Baptist Memorial Hospital-Union County Community Advisory Board. With the UCDA he has also worked closely with vocational training and workforce development.
Nanney along with Joanne Lesley, executive assistant at the UCDA, organized Riverfest for several years, including bringing in musical acts.
Nanney has five grandchildren, and they all live in New Albany.
The Christmas parade will be Dec. 2 at 6 p.m. in downtown New Albany.