BATESVILLE — When he started playing the trumpet in fifth grade, Don Bill never imagined it would lead to what he does today, playing for military, church and other events.
The Dover resident joined the Navy and started playing in its band program in 1969. “We were stationed out of the Virginia Beach area .... Our Navy show band toured Europe, mainly in the Mediterranean. We did cruises and were always entertaining the troops.”
After being in the service for four years, he started school at the University of Cincinnati under the GI Bill. “My father asked me what I was going to do for money, and said, ‘I want you to check out the Navy Reserves.’ I didn’t do it until I received a phone call from the chief of the Naval Reserve unit. He asked me to be the bugler for the military ceremonies and playing of “Taps” for the deceased veterans. I started that and stayed with it for two years.
“Later I found out about an Army Reserve band stationed in Fort Thomas, Ky. .... (and) went over and literally jumped ship. I went from the Navy to the Army. It was just a wonderful time. I met a great bunch of guys. From that band, we started our own band (Marksberry Big Band) commercially, and we would play at wedding receptions. We also have a trio.”
The St. Joseph American Legion Post 464 lifetime member has performed at events “primarily around the greater Cincinnati area. Most of the funerals are around here locally. In Cincinnati, it’s mainly ceremonies which would involve the military, like Veterans Day. I was at a Sept. 11 ceremony at La Salle High School, my alma mater .... I play at the First Presbyterian Church, Aurora, and St. John’s Catholic Church, Dover.”
Bill has also been a member of a local band for many years. “The Eureka Band was introduced to me by Fritz Turner, who was a dear friend. He invited me one Friday evening out to Liberty Park, just to sit and sight-read a few marches. Boy, did I get my eyes opened.