Long honored at community concert

Published 9:43 pm Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Standing ovations are nothing new to nationally acclaimed band conductor Dr. Johnny M. Long.

However, Long appeared to be moved by the standing ovation from the large audience at the Southeast Alabama Community Band Concert at the Claudia Crosby Theater Monday night.

Troy Mayor Jimmy Lunsford proclaimed May 2, 2011, “Dr. Johnny Long Day” in Troy and the audience showed its appreciation to Long with an extended ovation.

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Shelia Jackson, director of tourism for the city, presented the proclamation award to Long and expressed appreciation for what he has meant to the community as well as to band music throughout the country.

“You can’t talk about band music without mentioning Dr. Johnny Long,” Jackson said. “We love him and appreciate him.”

Lunsford said that one day is not sufficient to honor Long but declaring a day in his honor was just a small token of appreciation to him.

“Dr. Johnny Long is a celebrity,” Lunsford said. “As I travel throughout the country and especially in the Southeast, I venture to say that people ask me if I know Dr. Johnny Long more than anyone else. He has influenced many lives and there are so many band directors throughout the country who are products of his teaching.”

Lunsford’s association with Long goes back to his high school days when his brother-in- law was principal of Lanier High School in Montgomery.

“Dr. Long was the band director at Lee High School and Lee and Lanier one of Troy’s greatest cheerleaders were fierce rivals,” Lunsford said. “That’s the only time I haven’t cheered for him. Dr. Long is one of Troy greatest cheerleaders. I’ve never known a time when he didn’t cheer for Troy. He made a comment at a Rotary meeting once that if you don’t think Troy is the best place to live, then leave. I’ll never forget that.”

Long was not the only honoree at the Southeast Alabama Community Band Concert, the sponsoring Troy Arts Council honored three Trojans who have made outstanding contributions to the arts.

Ralph Ford received the 2011 Professional Art Award. Glenda Fayson was the recipient of the 2011 Community Service Award and Lisa Patterson received the 2011 Professional Art Award.

Ford is the director of bands, professor of music and coordinator of winds and percussion at Troy University. He has served on the university and faculty in many areas of expertise for the past 25 years.

His compositions and arrangements for bands have been commissioned and performed by middle school, high school, university, military and professional bands worldwide.

Ford has served as an exclusive composer-arranger for Alfred Publications for more than 10 years. He has more than 200 publications for concert band, orchestra, jazz ensembles and marching bands available and performed worldwide.

Fayson was honored for her many contributions to the community.

In addition to her job as office manager at the Colley Senior Complex, Fayson spends many hours assisting people of all ages in the community with needs ranging from food, clothing, shelter to emergency needs.

She coordinates the Meals on Wheels program, secures the meals from a local restaurant, manages the list of recipients and coordinates the efforts of volunteers who deliver the meals and delivers meals herself.

Fayson also promotes cultural events and coordinates trips for seniors to a variety of events throughout the year.

Starting with only a cart of art supplies that she pushed from classroom to classroom, Patterson soon was able to update and expand the art program at Troy Elementary School.

She devoted herself to teaching a comprehensive art education program that incorporates lessons on art history and techniques, which included teaching about the lives of the great artists as well as how they used all of the elements of art.

Patterson retired for the classroom in 2006 but many people have a better understanding of art and appreciation for it because of her.