TROY — For she is a “Jolly” good fellow, and nobody can deny it after 25 years.
On Aug. 14, Linda Lee Jolly will be with the Troy-Hayner Cultural Center 25 years after being hired as the director in 1990.
Jolly came from a music education background, having taught music for three years in Kentucky.
After that she worked with the Buckeye Trails Girl Scout Council in Dayton for nine years. She was living in Miami County and going to work in Dayton everyday, which she eventually grew tired of, and wanted to work in Troy.
“I was standing at my kitchen counter all by myself, nobody else around, and just kind of put it out to the universe that there must be a job somewhere for me, here in Miami County where I could spend more time at home and take advantage of what this area has to offer and to go to things at the Troy-Hayner Cultural Center,” she said. “That’s a true story, my exact words, that I was the only one to hear.”
Three weeks later, her friend contacted her with an advertisement for the job opening of director for the Troy-Hayner Cultural Center. The rest, as Jolly said, was history.
Her role now is more administrative, although when she first started her job was focused on programming. The board who hired her gave her the task of opening the doors of the cultural center to the community, to raise awareness among community members of the treasure that is the center.
“They felt there was a lot going on at the center such as performances, classes, and exhibits and were very happy with that,” she said. “However, they felt the center was Troy’s best-kept secret, so my job was to do whatever it takes to make it well-known in the community.”
Some of Jolly’s favorite programs include the unique musicians, such as a classically-trained performer who came and played the Chinese erhu, a one-stringed folk instrument famous in China’s national orchestra.
“We had a Russian group come in that was called The Crystal Trio,” she said. “They played classical music that is known all over the world on glass instruments. I just thought that was amazing.”
She also enjoyed the Irish folk group Lone Raven not only for their performance, but for bringing in an audience that filled the ballroom.
Because of her love for Troy and Miami County, many of the exhibits have centered around the county, such as the Eldean Road covered bridge or celebrating the cultures living in Troy.
Today, the center has more than 40,000 visitors a year who participate in the programs, which plays a significant role in the center’s success.
“As the Director it’s my job to coordinate what happens,” she said. “We have a big staff as well as a core of 100 volunteers who help. We have a volunteer committee behind everything we do.”
When she being interviewed by the board of governors who hired her 25 years ago, she said she was impressed by their civic-mindedness. Today, she is still impressed by how supportive Troy as a community has been throughout her time with the center.
“There’s an appreciation in this community for history,” she said. “I think there’s a strong interest in having facilities and opportunities available for all of the citizens, for people with their families, for their children, for seniors. Just the dedication and passion of the people who volunteer in our community — I think that makes it a very special place.”
For more information about the Troy-Hayner Cultural Center, visit www.troyhayner.org.