“I’m so thankful to (the late) Fritz, who kept the band going even when it dwindled to a small number of musicians. I think Batesville is so fortunate to have a gem like that. Iím so grateful to the folks in it for their dedication and hard work continuing this wonderful community band.”
He encourages young musicians to also become members. Eric Stauffer, Batesville High School band director, “has done a wonderful job getting his students involved in the Eureka Band, and the band has grown.”
The veteran also recalls, “When I started school at UC, my English professor was Bob Terry, Batesville. Bob introduced himself to the class, stating he also played music on the weekends. He and Bill Meyer played with the Terry Meyer Combo out of Batesville. We talked, and he invited me to go along and sit in. I did, and the rest is history.
“We would go on to perform for many years at various events. One of the regular performances would be at the Batesville Eagles, followed by 'Breakfast with Beer' at the Brown Bag Cafe/Restaurant."
The Cincinnati native credits his parents (Al and Loraine Bill) for getting him involved in music. "There was a demonstration at school, and I liked the trumpet the best, and they supported me on that .... My mother used to buy albums by Bobby Hackett and Al Hirt, and I would try to play along with them. As bad as I sounded, my mother would always say how wonderful it was."
The Southeastern Indiana Musicians Hall of Fame member remembers how he used to get discouraged with the instrument because of "playing songs over and over. Dad said, 'Give it a little more time.' Thank God he gave me that piece of advice because music is such a big part of my life today." Other family members are also musically inclined. His brother plays the trumpet, and one of his three sisters plays the guitar. Wife Kris, who is the First Presbyterian Church, Aurora, choir director, ìalso supports me big time."
The Donald A. Bill Agency owner stresses, "It's nice having served in both branches of the service because I can wear both uniforms" as a Navy musician chief and Army sergeant 1st class. In those positions, "I enjoy hopefully bringing to others a sense of solemn patriotism which our country needs, especially today."
Diane Raver can be contacted at 812-934-4343, Ext. 114; or diane.raver@ batesvilleheraldtribune.com.