September 28th, 2021

Letter: Thanks, Maestro!

By Letter to the Editor on September 10, 2021.

Dear editor,

Your article about Bill Wahl was much appreciated.

Bill has contributed so much to the life of this community and the lives of people who live here and away. The musicians and others associated with the Medicine Hat Concert Band Society will miss having Bill as our director more than people can know.

Besides the opportunity to play music collectively, we also came together because Bill made the experience of rehearsing and preparing for performances such an enjoyable activity.

It was mentioned that Bill began his band teaching career in 1971 at Crescent Heights High School. That was the year I began Grade 7 and enrolled in the band program just as my two older brothers had.

This fall marks 50 years since Bill became my band director and, other than seven or eight years after I graduated and the six years I lived in Winnipeg, Bill has been my band director that whole time and I treasure this.

Bill’s accomplishments as a band director are legendary but this is only part of the man. He has always been caring, humble and genuine in all he does and his wonderful, often corny sense of humour delights everyone.

Bill was a big inspiration to my brother Richard, who also went on to a career as a band teacher. But I also remember that year of 1971, when my oldest brother Andy was quite ill and missed most of the first semester of his Grade 12, Bill visited the house and brought music and some small percussion instruments for Andy.

At his retirement concert organized by his daughters and Beth, many of the people he had touched with his musical and life inspiration were able to play together in a mass band in tribute. Well known musicians such as Gordie Johnson and Terri Clark acknowledged Bill’s inspiration.

I’m just one of so many to be lucky to have Bill as part of my life. We all look forward to Bill playing with us and conducting us on occasion.

Thanks, Maestro!

David Condon

Medicine Hat

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