Troy’s school of music moves into new facility (PHOTOS)
Published 7:00 pm Friday, January 3, 2014
The Sound of the South moved into its new home Friday morning. For the first time band, choir and dance will be located under one roof. The 30,500 square-foot facility also has room for the School of Music’s administrative offices.
“That’s nice because it’s a comprehensive building,” said Larry Blocher, director of the John M. Long School of Music.
The $9 million John Maloy Long Hall will house Troy University’s band, dance and choir programs.
Blocher said the band program needed to update its facility in order to maintain accreditation with the National Association of Schools of Music. The university went above and beyond the accreditation requirements.
The new building addressed a number of the school’s concerns and will be a showpiece when Troy hosts the Southeastern United States Honor Band and Clinic in the coming weeks.
Thousands of high school band students, parents and faculty will tour the campus and participate in the clinic. Blocher said the building would be an excellent recruitment tool.
“This is sexy,” said Matthew Dunne, an undergraduate assistant, as he scoped out the band room’s sound system.
The system will allow the band to access, camera photographs, videos and listen to music via iPhones, USB connections and DVDs. The system also included a wireless lapel microphone for band director Mark Walker.
But the sound system was not Walker’s favorite feature of the new and improved Long Hall.
“My favorite feature, in general, is the entire building,” he said. “My personal favorite is the band room and storage room. We can finally keep all of our stuff in one place.”
That one place is a 3,053 square-foot space that includes storage for band uniforms and instruments. Sheet music will be filed away in its own library, too.
Lining the main corridor are 10 soundproof practice rooms.
Porcelain tile lines the vestibule and mahogany-lined Hall of Honor.
Tim Franklin, project superintendent for the S.W. Whaley Construction Company, said the university chose the Centiva flooring for the band, choir and dance halls because it was the same flooring used in the Empire State Building.
“They chose it for its durability, being under the foot traffic of the Empire State Building proved it would last,” he said.
For the first time in ages, the entire band will be able to practice indoors together. The 5,526 square-foot room can hold more than 400 people.
The new dance hall is 3,927 square feet and choir will practice in a 2,589 square-foot space.
“This is like Christmas,” said Raymond Smith, a music professor at Troy, as he toured the facility with his granddaughter, Mary Grace. “I’m so excited I just can’t stand it.”
Smith came to Troy in 1968, as a student and member of the marching band. He said the small band practiced in a small room it quickly outgrew. The original Long Hall lasted the band 50 years, before being torn down to build a new facility that would accommodate the current music program.
“The good news is we keep growing,” Smith said. “From 17 or so people to 100s now, this is the legacy of (director emeritus) John M. Long.”