Maestro Bill Sleeper, a music enthusiast, listener, performer and leader, officially retired as the McKinney Community Band’s founding music director in January 2015. The band presented him with a cake, a plaque and a photo collage celebrating his 8-1/2 years on the podium and announced his new title of Director Emeritus. He will now join the percussion section while staying active with other band duties (possibly some announcing at concerts and taking the podium now and then).
A dedicated promoter of amateur music, Bill co-founded the McKinney Community Band with percussionist Ed Schwarz in 2006. Bill also leads the Lovers Lane Jazz Band, a mission of the Lovers Lane United Methodist Church in Dallas.
Bill first took up drums in grade school and then, after college, found himself in an Army band stationed comfortably adjacent to a beach in Los Angeles County. In the early 1970s he joined the Town North Concert Band in Dallas, where he met Ed, and they became fast friends. He also has played in Dixieland bands, Civil War bands, jazz and dance bands, and other amateur groups in the area.
He resumed his formal education in music after the McKinney Community Band launched, studying conducting with Jack Delaney, SMU’s renowned music director of the Meadows Wind Ensemble. He subsequently enrolled in musicianship, theory and composition classes as a “directed studies” student along with the degree-seeking musicians at the Meadows School at SMU.
Bill recently retired from the commercial insurance brokerage business. During his career he was involved as a leader in numerous trade and professional organizations and served on the board of the Dallas Wind Symphony. Bill’s expressive enthusiasm on stage is a highlight of the band’s performances; the audiences and performers alike enjoy his personable approach during the McKinney Community Band’s popular concerts.