Troy’s Mr. Music Herman Moll came to town in 1919

Published 8:08 pm Tuesday, November 22, 2022

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“Do you remember 1919 Herman Moll?” rolled from the public address system last night in Montgomery’s Cramton Bowl at the half time of the Troy High-Lee football game.

A slightly stooped figure standing alone on the turf of the Bowl raised up as the word bounced around the stadium.

Dianne Smith

Dianne Smith

Then Lee High’s band broke into ‘Mr. Wonderful’ and Troy fans rose to their feet yelling approval.

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It was “This is Your Life, Hermon Moll.”

Down on the field the Lee band formed the numerals ‘1919’ and then followed in succession with formations of ‘1929’ ‘MOLL’ and finally outlined a stage.

These were the dates Herman Moll well remembers.  It was in 1919 that Moll came to Troy.  And in 1929 Troy’s first marching band was organized.

The huge block letters ‘Moll’ stood for many years devoted to music in Troy and the State of Alabama.  It was the years rolled back.  There were the tender moments of striving and attaining the perfect note.  There were the sudden outbreaks of temper when some bright student failed to heed.

These and many more memories passed through Herman Moll’s mind last night as his life with music unfolded before more than 6,000 fans.

The program caught the Troy bandmaster with his guard down.  Tears trickled down the cheeks of the man who has meant so much to music in Troy.

The idea was born last summer at a music retreat at Auburn by Johnny Long, Lee High band director and was staged with the assistance of Lewis Simpkins, bandmaster at Sylacauga High School.

While the Lee band formed the stage outline, Simpkins, as a representative of the Alabama Bandmasters Association, presented Moll with a gold watch.  Bandmasters from throughout the state along with many former students came by shaking hands and congratulating Troy’s Mr. Music.

Simpkins told the crowd, “I have been associated with Herman Moll for over 20 years.  I have always admired him for his great ability to teach.  Second for his high ideals in the development of music in the schools of Alabama.”  Mr. Moll has been a key figure in the organization of the Alabama Bandmasters Association.

“He has been a leader in the development of the State Band contests and festivals.  For his outstanding work and loyalty to music education in Alabama, his friends in the A. B. A. would like to present him this watch in appreciation of his friendship and loyalty to this organization.

We sincerely hope its ticks away many, many happy years for him.”

As for the man that has  taught music in public schools longer than any other man in Alabama, there was a feeling of humbleness and deep appreciation

“I was never more surprised and pleased with anything in my life.  It’s a wonder I didn’t have a heart attack,” Moll said.

Lee High’s entire portion of the half time show was devoted to Moll’s story and at its conclusion 6,000 people roared approval.

All of these articles can be found in previous editions of The Troy Messenger.  Stay tuned for more.  Dianne Smith is the President of the Pike County Historical, Genealogical and Preservation Society.