Mary Lynn Long remembers early days of TROY’s Sound of the South

Mary Lynn Long is known by many as the mother of Troy University's band program. The rotunda in Long Hall was named in her honor last fall.

Mary Lynn Long is known by many as the mother of Troy University's band program. The rotunda in Long Hall was named in her honor last fall.

Mary Lynn Long flashes a proud smile when she describes her family.

“We have always been a band family,” she said.

Two buildings and one street on the Troy Campus bear the name of Long’s husband, TROY’s Director of Bands Emeritus Dr. John M. Long, who is responsible for adopting the Sound of the South name for the band and building the program to national acclaim.

Dr. Long’s list of accolades and his dedication to his students as he worked to build the TROY band program to national acclaim has earned him a special place in the hearts of thousands of Sound of the South alumni. And, there by his side all along the way was Mrs. Long.

“I have always considered myself a helper,” she said. “I like to help in any way that is needed. When we first came to Troy in 1965, the band was rather small, so we had to do a lot of things to recruit students. That is where I felt I could help. We entertained band directors from throughout the country, and, in turn, they would send us students.”

Her support of the band program didn’t end there, however.

“I always enjoyed helping with the students,” Mrs. Long said. “They visited in our home, and we traveled with them all over the country to inaugural parades and pro ball games. I always traveled with them as a chaperone and helped with any problems they might have encountered.”

In addition to her support of The Sound of the South, Mrs. Long also spent 19 years teaching local third grade students.

Her son, John Long, Jr., said his mother provided a motherly figure for TROY band students.

“She has always been the mother of the band,” he said. “My parents were always like the mom and dad to all of the kids in the band and they loved us all.”

Last fall, Mrs. Long’s service and the role she played in helping to grow the band program were recognized with the naming of the rotunda in John M. Long Hall, which houses the University’s music and dance programs, as the Mary Lynn Long Rotunda. The recognition was made possible through a gift from the Adams Foundation.
Mrs. Long said the recognition was both humbling and a tremendous honor. It was an honor that was very deserving and overdue, according to Sam Adams, son of former TROY Chancellor Dr. Ralph Adams.

“Mary Lynn has stood with Dr. Long and guided him and given him strength, but in her own right, she has helped the University grow and prosper,” Adams said. “She is very deserving of this honor.”

For Adams, as with countless members of the Sound of the South through the years, Dr. and Mrs. Long were like a second set of parents.

“Dr. and Mrs. Long were my parents’ best friends,” Adams said. “I think beside every good man is a wonderful woman and Mary Lynn is the quintessential great woman. If I could describe her in only one word that word would be service.”