Bill Nemoyten has educated and entertained thousands of people all over the U.S. for over seventy years. And how did it all start? With a beat up loaner trombone and free lessons from his Cleveland public school. That one opportunity started him down a road he is still on at age eighty-four. Along the way, he spread his love of music to generations as a music teacher, arts advocate and administrator and as a performer in Ohio, Illinois and the San Francisco Bay Area.
In “retirement,” Bill created The Hornman Show, an educational and entertaining extravaganza involving sixteen horns from around the world, jokes, funny hats, fake noses and, of course, music. He also started writing his memoirs which became this book.
Many stories like “Trombone” and “Learning to Teach” are about the experience of being a music lover and teacher back when arts programs were fully funded and valued, giving a rare historical perspective on the decline of arts education and its ramifications. But there are also stories about being a twelve-year-old soda jerk, being the father of rebellious teenagers in the 1960’s, visiting a Bay Area clothing-optional retreat, spending a memorable weekend with Victor Borge (and encounters with many other famous folks) and finding out when he was sixty-two that his father wasn’t really his father!
The book is enhanced by more than one hundred photographs, newspaper clippings and other memorabilia from Bill’s family, friends and former students.
One thing is certain. The Hornman’s life continues to be full of surprises. As Bill’s friend and colleague, the multiple award-winning composer and conductor, Dr. Thom Ritter George points out in his Introduction, “Unlike many who desperately cling to the known fixtures of their lives, Bill embraces change and is open to following new developments when they arise.” This openness to life’s adventures and joy in new experiences is what makes Bill Nemoyten’s life stories not only entertaining and educational, but a rich source of wisdom and historical perspective for generations to come.