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William T. Kerr

William T. Kerr is our conductor, after playing in the Clarinet section since November 2016. Mr. Kerr graduated from Westminster College, New Wilmington, PA with a Bachelor of Music Education degree. His Master of Science in Education was received at Long Island University, NY.  He began his career teaching and directing the Choir and Band program at Mullens High School in West Virginia. Then he returned to his home state and taught band for 32 years at Valley Stream North High School, New York.  The band program grew from 30 students to over 175 when he retired in 2015; that growth created an additional full-time band director position and a new band facility.  Over those years his band was invited to play at many events around New York City, including: a West Point Football game, the annual Newsday Marching Band Festival, a Disney theatre opening, welcome for returning Gulf War troops and a cameo appearance in the Nickelodeon TV show The Naked Brothers Band.

Bill Kerr May 2020.jpg

Mr. Kerr had wonderful opportunities to work with great conductor/teachers over the years including:  Howard Rockwin (Mepham HS); Barry Beeber and Dr. Janita Byars (Kennedy HS); Drs. Grover Pittman and Clarence Martin (Westminster), Dr. Anthony Maiello (George Mason University) and Dr. Peter Boonshaft (Hofstra University).  Communities all around Long Island benefited from Mr. Kerr as conductor or clarinetist for over 50 musicals, so he knows the scores for great shows like Anything Goes, Fiddler on the Roof, Oklahoma!, The King and I, My Fair Lady, Evita, Guys and Dolls, West Side Story, Man of La Mancha, Hello Dolly and Show Boat.

Mr. Kerr was privileged to have a variety of clarinet instructors: Vincent Heikler, Dr. Janita Byars, Ann Hetrick, Louis Coletta, and Vincent (Jimmy) Abato (New York Metropolitan Opera). Mr. Kerr maintained a clarinet, flute and saxophone studio for 15 years, developing the talents of music students and guiding them thru the NY School Music Association Spring Festivals. Every year, Mr. Kerr’s students were accepted into either the All-State, All-Eastern or All-County (Nassau) Music Festivals.

Mr. Kerr and his family moved to Crossville in 2016 after years of planning for the move.  Just before the move, Grace, his wife, was diagnosed with metastatic lung cancer and two strokes, but they were committed to the move.  She died in Crossville in 2018, but her love for music, family, and life live on in all who knew her.  Their son, Timothy, recently graduated (summa cum laude) from the University of Tennessee majoring in Sports Management. He is working at Wake Forest University in North Carolina.

When Bill is not playing with the CCCB, you can see him playing in the Cookeville Clarinet Choir, Cookeville Community Band, The Enchanted Winds, and the Jazz band Cumberland Swing Experience or singing with the Christ Lutheran Church choir. He enjoys playing tennis, vegetable gardening and travelling (when his musical commitments allow).

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