Assistant Arts & Entertainment Editor
The Sound of The South opened the ceremony with Troy University’s “Fanfare,” blaring throughout the Claudia Crosby Theatre to welcome John Long.
Mayor Jason Reeves announced that the Troy City Council would pass a resolution to rename Collegedale St. to “Dr. John M. Long Ave.,” in his honor.
Long became the director of Troy University’s bands in 1965. He pioneered the music program and bolstered the Sound of the South Marching Band until his retirement in 1995.
He started his career in Montgomery at Robert E. Lee High School, where he took that band to win four national band championships.
Under his direction, the Sound of the South played at many conventions around the nation, and he became the first active bandmaster elected to the Alabama Bandmaster Hall of Fame.
Long was also elected into the Hall of Fame for Distinguished Band Conductors in 1995 for training numerous high school band directors.
In 1996, he was inducted into the National Band Association’s Hall of Fame of Distinguished Band Conductors, and in 1998 he was awarded the Sudler Gold Medal of Honor.
Long’s list of awards continues on, but his legacy lies in the people he’s taught over the years.
Among the speakers at the event, Phil Wilson, music teacher at Ogletree Elementary School, spoke about his time with Long at Troy University.
“In the story of my life, there has been one common thread: Dr. John Long,” Wilson said.
Robert Smith, another alumnus of Troy University and composer, was the band director of the Sound of The South after Long’s retirement.
“We share a legacy of learning that has been passed on from generation to generation,” Smith said.
Smith said that Long represented opportunity at the university, and that he is a “giant among men.”
Chancellor Jack Hawkins spoke about the building itself and the state-of-the-art facilities. The new hall accommodates the entirety of the music and dance programs offered at Troy, and has space for growth of the programs.
It hosts new offices, a new library, band rehearsal hall, dance hall, choral rehearsal room and practice rooms. The new building has been recognized by the American Association of Schools of Music, thanks to the new facilities.
Diane Orlofsky, professor of music, said that she wasn’t prepared for the grandeur of the new facilities.
“I’ve been here for 28 years, and I’ve seen the university go from a very small regional institution to a nationally recognized powerhouse,” Orlofsky said.
“There’s a level of commitment to the arts, and the chancellor and his wife are the champions of that.”
Orlofsky also said that the performance was one of the best performances they had ever done.
“It was great to be able to be a part of something so fantastic,” said 2013 head drum major Rad Bolt, a junior from Panama City, Fla. “It really meant a lot to Dr. Long, and it means a lot to me to know I am part of his legacy.”
Joshua Harrison, a senior Spanish major from Prattville, said that seeing Long’s face light up as they performed for him was the highlight of the event.
“There were several pieces that were written specifically to honor certain aspects of Dr. Long’s career,” Harrison said. “There was a piece performed by the symphony band in 13/8 time signature, representing the 13 original members of the Sound Of The South.”