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Bill Hayes - of "The Greatest Generation"

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The great Bill Hayes has passed. After serving as an Air Corps turret gunner in WWII and earning 4 bronze stars, he completed his music degree, became the first "Cherry Pink" soloist in the Caballeros, and taught both music and drill to dozens of the finest drum corps in the country.

If you ever marched in this activity, you either learned from him, someone else who had, or one of their students. We all carry Bill's Drum Corps DNA to some degree.

He was the personification of "The Greatest Generation", in every sense of the word.



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Bill Hayes was one of the superstar teachers in the fifties. Known for his demand for doing things the correct way at all times, I witnessed him at the start of a St. Catherine's drill rehearsal, with the corps on the starting line (remember that one?), he had the hornline bring their horns up 32 times in a row before ever taking their first step. There was no howling or screaming just "do it again" instructions- lesson learned.

Depending on your perspective Bill was many things to many different people but his contributions to the drum community far outlasted his time here. Bill along so many returning World War ll veterans made modern day drum corps come to be. Today Bill Hayes is just another name few of today's designers, instructors and marching members have any knowledge of but he was a giant.


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