William Robert Long, 73, of Lee’s Summit, formerly of Sedalia, died Friday, July 16, 2021. He was raised and educated in Sedalia. Bill graduated from UMKC in 1970 where he was a member of the Swinging Choraliers, a performance group that made frequent USO tours abroad. He taught in Kansas and Missouri for many years until his retirement. He served as organist and choir director at several churches throughout his career.
Bill was devoted to the Scott Joplin Ragtime Foundation and especially to the Festival itself.
In the early 1980s, the Festival was ONE HUGE TENT at the actual Maple Leaf Club site. He and Frank Mehl were at The Big Tent all day, every day of the Festival. The ragtime performers would pick the time slot they wanted to play and Frank would keep track of this list. Bill Long was the MC every day. He was funny, witty, and had a unique sense of humor!
He served on the Foundation’s Board of Directors for many years and as President in 2000 and 2002. We are saddened to know of his passing.