The Other Side of the Bell – A Trumpet Podcast; Episode #15: Bill Adam Tribute

Episode #15 – A Tribute to William “Bill” Adam

The Other Side of the Bell Episode #15 - A Tribute William "Bill" Adam

Welcome to the show notes for Episode #15 of The Other Side of the Bell – A Trumpet Podcast. This episode features a tribute to William “Bill” Adam, or Mr. Adam as he is more commonly referred to by his students. Some of Mr. Adam’s L.A. students — Chris Botti, Charley Davis, Larry Hall, Jerry Hey, and Robert Slack — got together one morning to share stories about their mentor. Also included are stories contributed by some of Mr. Adam’s students from around the country: John Harbaugh, John Head, Mark Minasian, Jim O’Banion, Dr. Karl Sievers, Greg Wing, Phil May, David Roth, and Dr. George Tsoutsouris.

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If you have stories you would like to add to this tribute, please feel free to leave them in the comments section below. Also, consider adding your comments to the public memorial on the Indiana University blog .

About William Adam

William Adam (photo courtesy of Indiana University)
William Adam (photo courtesy of Indiana University)


Bill was born on October 21, 1917 in Kansas City, Kansas to Andrew Walker Adam and Wilda Blose Adam.  He grew up in Fort Collins, Colorado graduating from Fort Collins High School at the age of16.  Bill began taking trumpet lessons at the age of 7 from Ben Foltz (third cornetist with the John Philip Sousa Band).  When he was 11 years old he hitchhiked from Fort Collins to Denver twice a week to study trumpet with John S. Leick who was the 1st trumpet player in the Denver Symphony Orchestra. Bill left home at the age of 16 to play professional trumpet in California in the Hal Kemp orchestra with Skinny Innis; he also played for the Lucky Strike Hit Parade, the Los Angeles Civic Orchestra and played numerous radio shows.  During the years he was in California he attended Pasadena Jr. College and the University of California in Los Angeles.  In the summers he played at the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco with Skinny Innis and played with the Joseph Serpico band at the Yellowstone Grand Canyon Hotel. He returned to Ft. Collins to join the army at Ft. Logan during World War II.  Due to a previous injury he was unable to pass the physical for active duty, but worked at the Remington Arms Munitions Factory for 6 months. Bill then attended both the University of Colorado at Denver and Colorado State College in Ft. Collins earning his Bachelor’s degree in Trumpet Performance.

His first teaching job was Band Director at Rifle High School in Rifle, Colorado in l940.  He was there for one year and then took a job as Band Director at Englewood High School just outside Denver so he could play professionally.  On the weekends he played at the Brown Palace Hotel; he was 1st trumpet for the KOA(radio) orchestra and played with the Denver Symphony Orchestra.  During the summers he attended Eastman School of music earning Masters Degrees in Music Theory and Composition froml947-1948.  He taught at Englewood High School for three years where he met the love of his life, Dorothy Tiemann.  They were married in February of l945.

Bill took a job at the Indiana University School of Music (now the Jacobs School of Music) in the fall of 1946.  He taught trumpet at I.U. for 42 years,retiring in l988.  After his retirement he continued to teach trumpet privately at his home through  October 14th, 2013.  Throughout his career he earned numerous awards including: the Robert A. Phillips Service to Music Award:  2002: Mentor of Trumpet Players World Wide; the James B. Calvert Outstanding Music Educator Award:  2004 from the Indiana Wind Symphony; and received the Lifetime Trumpet Teaching Award from the International Trumpet Guild in June of 2004.

Contributors To This Episode

Recording the tribute to Mr. Adam, from left to right: Bob Reeves, Larry Hall, Charley Davis, Jerry Hey, Robert Slack, Chris Botti, John Snell, Preston Shepard.
Recording the tribute to Mr. Adam, from left to right: Bob Reeves, Larry Hall, Charley Davis, Jerry Hey, Robert Slack, Chris Botti, John Snell, Preston Shepard.

In alphabetical order:

*Trumpet players participating in the L.A. interview.

Bill Adam Trumpet Links

Trumpet Podcast Credits

Previous Trumpet Podcast Episodes:

  • Hi John-I’m sure I’m not alone when I say I’d love to hear an interview with Jerry Hey by himself at some point.

  • Mike Gillespie

    Thanks guys… Enjoyable listen. Heavy stuff that I hope to remember and implement daily.