Like so many others, William R. Welch, III (Bill) began his musical career in elementary school where he learned to play the trumpet. He played his way through Tonawanda High School, participating in concert band, jazz band, musicals, and marching band (a challenge because he was also on the football team). This is also when he started playing in his first Drum and Bugle Corps, the Lockport Blazers. He also played in the Suburban Knights, Royal Coachman, and Etobicoke-Oakland Crusaders Drum and Bugle Corps from Toronto, Canada.
While in high school, Bill also participated in sports, lettering in Swimming, Track, Football, Basketball, and Baseball. He graduated from Niagara County Community College with an Associate Degree in Music Performance in 1977. In 1983, he received his Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Music Performance and Music Education from the University at Buffalo, where he also received his Master’s Degree in Interdisciplinary Studies.
Bill was a member of several community and professional organizations. A few were the Bill Bailey Band, Alex Rene Big Band, German-American Konzert Kappelle (he was also Director), and the Parkside Avenue Brass Quintet, which he founded and which continues to play today. He was in the American Legion Band from Post 264, the Sikora Post American Legion Band, and, of course, the Buffalo Niagara Concert Band from American Legion Post 1041.
Bill taught instrumental music in the Buffalo Public Schools for his entire teaching career. He loved teaching elementary school with beginner instrumental students, stating that it’s better to teach good habits right away before bad habits can develop.
Bill’s wife, Jeannette, his son, Billy, and his daughter, Katie continue as members of the Buffalo Niagara Concert Band. His legacy lives on. “Music is what feelings sound like.”