Educator, Professional Musician
love of music as a child led to his life-long career --
teaching, and his avocation -- playing trombone. The two
will be forever intertwined. After graduating from Carrollton
High School, Bill earned his BA and MFA degrees in music
from Ohio University. He served as high school band director
at McConnelsville, Sandy Valley, Wellington and Wooster,
producing outstanding concert bands which were consistently
received superior ratings in Ohio Music Educators competitions.
His high school marching bands were featured at many college
football games and presented special half-time programs
at professional football games of the Cleveland Browns,
Buffalo Bills, and Pittsburgh Steelers.
teaching music in Ohio’s public schools, Bill was
elected Ohio State Chairman of the American Band Directors
Association and served on that group’s national executive
board. He is a member of Phi Beta Mu, Phi Mu Alpha, Kappa
Kappa Psi, Phi Kappa Lamda, International Trombone Association
and other professional organizations affiliated with his
was Director of Bands at Findlay College, Findlay, Ohio, from
1969 to 1976. In 1970, he was selected as one of the top
ten music educators in the United States and Canada by The
School Musician, a professional music education publication.
next year, he was one of the ten college band directors
chosen by the College Band Directors National Association
to conduct The United States Air Force Band at a conducting
symposium in Ithaca, New York. In 1976, he was a featured
soloist at the Music Educators National Conference in Atlantic
City, New Jersey and the Kennedy Center for the Performing
Arts, Washington, D.C. Bill was selected to play in an All
American Band Masters presentation at the International
Mid West Band Clinic with Arthur Fiedler, then the Boston
Pops Orchestra director.
Findlay, he moved to Cedar Falls, Iowa, to direct the marching
and symphonic band programs at the University of Northern
Iowa (UNI), 1976-1991. He continues to teach in the School
of Music at UNI, where he chairs the General Studies area.
In addition to evaluating student teachers, he teaches such
classes as Our Musical Heritage, Conducting, and Music Administration.
2000, Bill was instrumental in starting the local New Horizons
Band, a group of men and woman ranging in age from 50 to
80+, who want to start or continue playing a music instrument
in a band. Under Bill’s leadership, the group has
more than doubled in size since its beginning and has developed
a broad repertoire of band music. The group presents several
free concerts per year and numerous musical programs for
2001, Bill put his years of experience as a band conductor
to good use by writing A Conducting Workbook, a textbook
for teaching college students the techniques of conducting.
The book was published by Wadsworth Publishing and is being
considered for use in university music programs across the
U.S. and abroad.
Big Band Leader
Bill started playing trombone
in Carrollton Junior High School and by the time he entered
Ohio University, he knew music would be his career. During
college, he played with several popular musical groups.
In 1958-59, he and his trombone spent a year “on the
road” with the Tommy Dorsey/Warren Covington Orchestra,
touring the U.S. and recording with the band in New York
City. He left the touring group to return to his teaching
job in the Ohio public school system. However, his love
of Big Band music has remained with him. He played in the
Chuck Bisgrove and Jack Runyan band for many years throughout
Ohio and adjacent areas.
he moved to Iowa, where there was a lack of groups playing
big band music, he started the Bill Shepherd Big Band in
1979. Since then, the band has become the premier Big Band
throughout Northeast Iowa, noted for the quality of the
musicians and the authenticity of the musical charts. The
Bill Shepherd Big Band recorded an LP, “Big Band Sounds,”
in 1981 and “Ballroom Memories,” a CD which
was released in March 2003.
Bill Shepherd Combo and Bill Shepherd’s “Red
Hots” Dixieland Band, two groups that grew out of
the Big Band, frequently perform at both public and private
events, in addition to being featured at several Dixieland
church services every year. Bill also shares his musical
talents at church, playing solos and in brass groups for
special music programs throughout the year.
the past twenty years, he has conducted the Waterloo Community
Concert Band, a 40-plus member group that presents weekly
concerts during June and July. He co-founded and conducts
the Iowa Trombones, a group of trombone players from throughout
Iowa and beyond that has gathered annually for the past
fifteen years to play ensembles and give a public performance.
music is also a part of Bill’s life. He has played
in the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Symphony Orchestra since 1976.
Prior to this, he played with the Canton Lima Symphony (Ohio),
with which he recorded a full-length solo LP of classical
trombone solos. For many years, he was the symphony players’
representative on the board of directors and has served
on two of the last three committees to select a new symphony
an educator, he has influenced thousands of young lives,
and as a performer, he has entertained thousands of people
of all ages. He has served as a role model for many teachers
and professional performers who still keep in touch with
textbook "A Conducting Workbook" was recently
released by Wadsworth Publishing with an interactive learning
CD-ROM. For more information, please click on the link at
the top left of this page.
text can be used in a variety of learning situations, from
one-on-one teaching (where a student would conduct while
a teacher plays the exercises) to large classes (where a
student would conduct a class performing as an ensemble).
This text provides step-by-step coverage of all aspects
of conducting, and contains exercises that require each
student to practice with a metronome. (text taken from Wadsworth
Publishing web site)
More Information and to purchase A Conducting Workbook
by Bill Shepherd,, please click here.