Bands, buildings; the legacy of Long



Victoria Bailey



In honor of Director of Bands emeritus John M. Long, Troy University is expecting the arrival of the new $7.5 million. state-of-the-art band facility in the spring of 2014. Long Hall, which housed the Sound of the South marching band since 1976, was torn down Wednesday, July 25, 2012.

Long has contributed to Troy University as the dean of the School of Fine Arts, director of bands and distinguished professor of music. Long has several other accomplishments in the field of music and band over the course of his life.

“I didn’t want to take the band director’s position at first, but I just had two kids and needed the money,” Long said. “I had a couple conditions: one, I need complete control of the band, and I need new equipment.”

Long became the band director of Troy State University in 1965, but before accepting that role he was the band director for Robert E. Lee High school in Montgomery, Long is a member of the National Band Association’s Hall of Fame of Distinguished Conductors and the Alabama Bandmasters Hall of Fame.

Long was the first of few to be selected as the Outstanding Music Educator of the year in 1984 by the Alabama Music Educator Association. He received the National Kappa Kappa Psi Distinguished Service to Music Award in 1979. He received the Sudler Gold Medal of Honor, which was presented by the John Philip Sousa Foundation.  Dr. Long has two buildings that bear his name.

Dance team member Sierra Terrell, a sophomore psychology major from Baltimore Maryland, shared her feelings about the new facility: “It is going to be such a relief to have the new band hall in the spring,” she said. “As a dancer, practicing on the field is good, but we need a studio with mirrors and, fortunately, the new band hall will have everything we need.”

Long, before beginning his career with Troy as director of bands, started with his first step in music at the age of six. Long’s mother, a graduate of Athens College, taught him how to play the piano.

Long grew more mature, and so did his musical talents.  He became a very gifted musician. When Dr. Long reached high school, he attended Marshall County High School; he joined the band, playing the trumpet.

“The band director my senior year was drafted to the Navy. The principal came to me and asked if I would take over the band till they received a replacement,” Long said “The only thing is, they never found a replacement.”

Long continued to develop in the music world. The years went on his accomplishments grew tremendously. In 1965, the same year he joined the Troy State team, Long established a high school summer camp that ran throughout most of his tenure at the university and also worked as a recruiting tool for the “Sound of the South.” Long continues to this day to work with the “Sound of the South” Summer/Leadership Camp.

In 1973 Dr. Long established the Southeastern United State Concert Band Clinic, which has grown and continues to thrive. The clinic drew so many band students, directors and parents to Troy State campus.

In the honor of the many accomplishments of  Long, Troy University decided to build another building fully equipped with storage areas for the instruments, new dance studio and a band and choir hall. The new building is going to be approximately 3,300 ft. and the building will still have Long’s name on it.

“I am very excited about the new Long Hall building,” said Tyler Logan, a senior music major from Mobile. “I am a senior, so I won’t be able to enjoy the building but for one semester, but for the students coming behind me this is a wonderful experience for them. What better place to do something you love, with people that you care about, than in a new facility?”

The new building has been under construction since July 25, 2012. Cinnamon Wilson, a junior nursing major from Troy, said, “The old band hall served its purpose, but, due to the wonderful reputation the band gained over the years with the help of Long, the band hall was beginning to feel too snug.”

The band students are not the only ones who feel the benefits of Long’s success. Director of bands Mark Walker explained that the larger space is much needed.

“The building was old,” Walker said. “We’ve outgrown it. It’s time to do something new.”

The band is ready for “something new,” but a few band members come up with the idea of taking a little piece of the old building with them.

“Many people are asking about acquiring a brick from the old Long Hall.” said Amanda Taylor, the band secretary. “These bricks will be available in the coming weeks.” The plans are to offer them in return for donation to benefit the students in the Sound of the South or in the School of Music.

Rad Bolt, a senior music education major from Panama City Fla., said, “I think allowing the bricks from the old building to be sold is a great idea and a great way for every band member, that purchases one, to say they have a special part of the new Long Hall. I know when I played the saxophone the last three years in the band, the old Long Hall building is very close to my heart. I definitely want to take home a small piece of a big part of my college years.”

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