John M. Long, a Troy University icon, passed away Monday night at 94 years old. His health had been in decline for about a year.
Long served as Troy’s band director from 1965-1996 and molded the Sound of the South into the award-winning and show-stopping band it is today.
Johnny M. Long Hall and the Hawkins-Adams-Long Hall of Honor both bear his name, along with John M. Long Avenue, that runs parallel to University Avenue.
Under Long’s leadership, the sound of the south marched in Richard Nixon’s and Ronald Reagan’s inaugural parades.
His 31-year career at Troy included serving as the dean of the School of Fine Arts and the dean of the School of Arts and Sciences.
“His (Long’s) leadership, not only of the Sound of the South Marching Band and the University but also to generations of musicians, conductors and music educators across the globe, has made a significant impact in bringing our world and our cultures closer together,” said Chancellor Dr. Jack Hawkins, Jr. in a statement for Troy Today. “He promoted the very best in his students, in music and in understanding of our world.”
“He was a very, very remarkable man, probably one of the most influential people in the community and the university,” said Troy Mayor Jason Reeves. “I loved him and will truly miss him.
“Our thoughts and prayers certainly go out to his family.”