Trombonist William Shepherd, Jr has died at 89

William Shepherd, Jr. died on August 29th, he was 89. He toured with the Tommy Dorsey/Warren Covington Orchestra in the late 50s before turning to a career of teaching. He was a band director for various Ohio High Schools in the 60s and 70s. He was Ohio State Chairman of the American Band Directors Association and served on the organizations’ national executive board. His High School Marching bands performed at the games for the professional sports franchises in the state. Concurrently, he was Director of Bands at Findlay College. In 1970 he was selected as one of the top ten music educators in the country by The School Musician. He received numerous other honors. In 2001 he published a text book for college music students called A Conducting Workbook.

From 1976-1991 he directed the marching and symphonic band programs at the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls, and continued teaching select classes for many years after. He started the Bill Shepherd Big Band in 1979 which became the premiere big band in the area and recorded several albums. Smaller units from the big band performed as the Bill Shepherd Combo and Bill Shepherd’s “Red Hots” Dixieland Band. In 2001 he started the New Horizons Band, a community band for musicians over 50 to continue to enjoy their instrument. He also led the  Waterloo Community Concert Band, a 40 member group, and organized numerous community concerts and events. He organized the Iowa Trombones, a band of area trombonists. In classical music, he played with the  Waterloo-Cedar Falls Symphony Orchestra from 1976 on. Bill Shepherd touched the lives of hundreds if not thousands of people for whom learning to play an instrument with him was a formative experience.

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Joe Bebco is the Associate Editor of The Syncopated Times and Webmaster of

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