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Former AAMB Director Bill Moffit dies
Monday, March 17, 2008
Funeral arrangements are as follows
If you would like to share a memory of Bill Moffit, please click here and it will be tagged to the end of this story.
Dr. Moffit was a great inspiration. I learned more from him, than all my other professors, combined. I use his tidbits of wisdom more in my career, than any other class. He had such a large presence, in such a small stature.
Everybody, point to your forearm...Goosebumps!
What I remember most about Bill is his positive energy and attitude. He approached everything with enthusiasm and a smile. My senior year we played and sang "You Gotta Have Heart" - Bill always did and he has a special place in mine.
Pamella Fyffe Strollo
Dr. Moffit was one of a kind. I remember him most for coming up with the Boiler Shuffle, those dance moves on the football field and creating the Fanfare Trumpets. Bill will be missed.
I will always remember Bill as a class act, full of positive energy and enthusiasm. He would always point out when he got goosebumps when he heard us play.
Dan Johnson (Cornet, CFS 85)
Although I'd graduated in '78, I came back for graduate work in '81, and Bill had become band director shortly after the 'Wright years'. The one extremely vivid thing I recall about him was how much he seemed to 'move' as he conducted. It was so amazing, but I had heard about it when I was there. Now, after reading his memorial from the Bands Department, I can see why.
Robin (Klink) McCormack
Bill was truly passionate about music. We always got a chuckle from watching his face explode with excitement when nearly 400 of us stuffed in room 15 would try to send him through the wall with the massive amount of sound we generated. At the end he would point to the goose bumps on his arm and exclaim "You can't fake that!" It's sad to loose such a positive man and pioneer.
Bill Moffit was conductor and music director of the Jacksonville Community band, which he founded in 1999, until he relinquished the podium in 2006. Under his passionate leadership the band evolved from a small group of ten, to it's current roster of 40 ensemble players from all walks of life and ranging in age from early teens to late eighties.
We are all saddened by the loss of our dear friend who will continue to inspire us to serve, entertain and educate our community.
I joined the Hal Leonard Corp. in 1970 and Bill had already been there about 10 years. What a dynmo...His enthusiasm was contagious. He was certainly an instrumental part of the Hal Leonard growth for the nearly 20 years he had spent with the company. Many of his arrangements are still selling so he will continue to touch the music community for a long, long time. He will be missed.
Dr. Moffit was one of those few people you meet in life who are truly special. He was a role model and someone I will always look up to. He made being a member of the all-american marching band something I will always be proud of. He was a true leader and is still an inspiration to what I believe leadership really means. He will be missed and I consider my time spent with him as something that has made me a better person. I also hold him responsible for my 20 year marriage to my fellow AAMB alumni Claudia Mills. He will be missed and remembered by both of us.
At the end of the pre-game show at Slayter Center before the Purdue-Ohio St. game in 1984 Dr. Moffit turned to the crowd and said in his usual cheery voice, "Did you notice that the sun came out when we played Hail Purdue?" We went on to upset Ohio St. that day and it is one of my favorite moments as a member of the AAMB.
Remember how he looked deeply into your eyes as he spoke with you...as if you were the only one around; as if you were THAT important and valuable to him? How about the knack he had for getting us to rehearse..."one more time?" Can you see his beaming face as we prepared for games, exclaiming, "The Band ALWAYS wins?" For this man who had superlatives for US whenever we deserved them but most of all... for when we did NOT...there just are not enough superlatives to do justice to his character, his excitement for life, music and performance, and not nearly the right words to explain the Blessing he has been in our world and our lives; particularly mine. I will miss you, Bill. I know where I will see you again, and I want to be a part of your Heavenly Marching Band! Thank you for your beautiful example of God's love.
Valerie (Ludwick) Willman
My best memories of Purdue are from being in the AAMB. I can remember being in such awe of Dr. Moffit, after seeing his name in the corner of those little slips of music for so many years.
Kathy (Oliverio) Kinsey, 1984-87
All of my memories of Bill and his wife Jeanette are fond ones. I remember taking Bill and his wife out to dinner after he left Purdue to Cracker Barrel. Both of them were such wonderful and kind people. There will never be another William C. Moffit. I love him and his wife dearly. I am so sorry to hear about his passing and my love and prayers go out to his wife, Jeanette.
Dr. Moffit came during my second year at Purdue when the AAMB was in a period of transition with its leadership. Dr. Moffit demonstrated an enthusiasm for the band and a love of its members that made a lasting impression on me and strengthened my life long love of music. He was a great musician, composer, director, and most of all, a great person.
My greatest memory of Dr. Moffit was that he never seemed to ever have a bad day. He was the most optimistic and cheerful band director that I have ever had the pleasure of playing for. I can still remember how hard he laughed when we spelled "PUP DUE" at Delphi High School...he will be missed dearly. I am proud to say that I was part of the "E" of the "PUP DUE" band.
Sam Romeo - PUDL 1987-1989
On one of the first days of marching band practice I ever had I remember him saying something like, "Watch out the one you practice with today might just end up as your spouse." He was right. My husband and I are one of many couples who met in band. I also remember during the only on field practice we had at the Peach Bowl, a fellow band member from the opposing band said "That is Dr. Moffit, I can't believe I am seeing him. His name is on nearly everything we play!". I replied, "Oh, you mean Muffy?" He had a way of making everyone at ease and believe we were the best. Even when we were caught in a terrible rain and the Purdue Exponent called us the "Purdue All-American Lightning-Rod". Does anyone else remember that?
He will be sorely missed.
Janet (Archer) Wright - (1984-1988)
I have many fond memories of Dr. Moffit and his beautiful wife Jeanette. To her I offer my deepest sympathy on his passing. Two of my favorite memories are the "World's Largest Cymbals" which didn't make noise but Dr. Moffit convinced that it was OK as long as a puff of smoke shot up as they were run by each other. Sadly, they were quickly retired. The other memory was his desire to take band music to the Residence Halls. I was a Counselor at Owen and mentioned to Dr. Moffit that our lobby was big enough to hold our Collegiate Band. About two weeks later, we were performing in the lobby of Owen Hall and he even allowed me a brief solo at the end of the performance. Ciao, my friend, until we meet again.
My first memory of Dr. Moffit was when I was in high school. We had a bi-county band and chorus festival each year with a guest conductor. My senior year, Dr. Moffit was that conductor. I can remember how in awe I was of the man being able to conduct this band of over 200 musicians. As I discovered when I came to Purdue, that day was an "easy" day for him! Later that day, I introducted myself to him and told him that I was going to Purdue and that I wanted to be in the AAMB. You could see his eyes light up and he gave me an "ahhh that's great" (can't you hear him say that!!). Being in the AAMB and the Boiler Brass was a great honor, but it was an even greater honor being conducted by Bill Moffit. Thanks for making "lifetime memories" and giving me "goosebumps" everytime we ran on the field for halftime to play the "Ear Poppin' Fanfare."
Oh, how I love those SOUNDPOWER arrangements! I always knew I could buy one and it would work with my band, regardless of what tune it was. Dr. Moffit, I'm sorry I never had the chance to thank you in person for all these wonderful charts, which will live on forever.
My deepest sympathies to the family.
Bill mofitt was Band Director at kenton High School, Kenton, Ohio from 1954 to 1960. I was a member of the KHS Band during that time. He was a great director and all of us had several wonderful years. He brought a whole new era to our high school band. We marched at Cleveland Browns games twice and for a Governor's inaugural parade and many other events in addition to football games and other school events. He always played the bass drum when we marched and wore a regular band uniform like the rest of us, being of small stature, he was often not recognized as the Director.
Dr. Moffit was director of bands at Kenton High School in Ohio from 1953 until 1960. During that period, he had almost one-fifth of the students in the marching band. He marched and played basedrum during football season and was as energetic as any of hus students. His concert bands received superior rating each year he was there. Wes till have some of the detailed game plans he developed for football halftime show to move to the various formations and we did a different show each week. He was one of the hardest working, inspirational leaders I have known.
The Radioactive Band? The big cymbals? The Boiler Shuffle? Yes... he was corny. But he was _genuinely_ corny, and genuinely sincere in his belief that music can make a difference in the lives of people around him. He made a difference in mine.... who else would let a sax player become a self-taught trumpet player? I remember how nervous I was when I went to ask him if I could switch and I remember how he challenged me to play well, always. [Do they have skinny-minnies, right pinwheels, and bupity-bupity-bups in heaven? They do now!] Hail Purdue!
Ron Steiner (T-Sax '81, Bb & Eb trumpet '82-'85)
Bill Moffit's first year at Michigan State was 1960 which was my freshman year. What thrilling experience it was to spent four years in the MSU Marching Band with Bill Moffit as director. He created the concept of "Patterns in Motion" and his creativity and enthusiasm made playing in this band very exciting. I still remember Bill leading a bunch of us doing an impromptu march through the streets of Bloomington, IN after attending a high school football game after the Saturday Indiana/MSU game in 1960 (in uniform). We got in a little trouble for that one. He will be missed.
I remember Mr. Moffit with admiration and was proud to be in his band. He was the Kenton High School Band Director from the summer of 1953 until the end of the school year 1960. He made us into one of the best bands in the land at that time because of his methods and his Patterns of Motion. I always enjoyed playing Glenn Miller music because I played saxophone and we had the melody. He will be remembered by the students of Kenton High School.
My deepest sympathies to Jeannette. Bill will always be remembered. My father was also a musician and band director in the Chicago area. He died several years ago and it hit me how many young lives he had touched with the gift of music. Bill had done that and so much more allowing thousands to appreciate and love music, and pass that onto their children. I remember two things. On Bill’s first day Purdue, when was introduced to the students in the Hall of Music, he introduced Jeannette as his “wife, partner and friend.” That passion toward his wife always stuck in my mind and affected my relationship with my wife. Another memory was the time I rigged up “Kazangers”, devices on the Fanfare Trumpets to deploy the Purdue flags down the long bells of the Fanfare Trumpets. When I demonstrated it to Bill, he was so excited. We used the “Kazangers” on all the Fanfare Trumpets at the next home game. Bill loved doing anything to get a reaction out of the audience. He was a great guy and I appreciate the time that I knew him.
Doug Simmons (Trumpet, 1979 - 1984)
One can only think of many positive thoughts of the many wonderful and exciting times shared with both “Bill” and Jeanette. We are all better for knowing Dr. Moffit. His energy and excitement for life and music was contagious. He expected nothing but the best from one and all. He strived for the highest and expected others to do likewise in life.
Many people in the tomorrows to come will play and enjoy his’ arrangements. The music will entertain generations to come.
They will only know him thru the music arrangements left behind.
We who were privileged to have known him in both in public and in private are truly blessed to have known a special person. For we knew his’ music and the man.
Yes, we are indeed sadden with his passing but honored and fortunate to have shared fleeting moments of life with a dear person.
Our heartfelt prayers are with you Jeanette and family.
May God Bless and strengthen you in the days and years to come.
Bill Moffit became director of the Kenton,Ohio High School Band in 1953. He was an absolute genius. We all loved him.
He loved Glen Miller music, and decided to try something new. Glen Miller on the football field. It was fantastic. One year the principal and others decided that band would have to be cut out, due to the budget crunch. Well allthe band members gethered up all kinds of food,and some money and we got our instruments and went to the Moffit house and played Glen Miller and begged Mr. Moffit not to leave, if they did cut the band program, we would find someway to keep him with us. He was very honored that we cared thismuch for him.As it turned out they kept band, and wekept our dear Mr. Moffit. I amsure that Bill offit has touched many lives as he did mine. I feel so honored to have known him and to have had the Great Dr. Bill Moffit apart of my life.God Bless him and his family. He was a very special person.
I have many fond memories of Bill and his family when he was my father's (Leonard Falcone) assistant at Michigan State University. Although I was quite young, they were always fun times at their house or on various band trips (ie: the World's Fair, the Rose Bowl, etc.) And I will never forget the September Saturday in 1984,when Purdue played at MSU, that Bill marched his band (big drum and all)down the street to play a concert in front of my father's house!! I still have the pictures. Thanks Bill for some great memories!
I was in the Kenton, Ohio Wildcat Marching band in the late 50's. Mr Moffit was an example of enthusiasm for music that can't be forgotten. He was a friend to us all.
Bev VanAtta Palmer
I met Bill Moffit while an undergrad at Michigan State in the 1960s. He conducted the MSU Activities Band, basically a band of non-music majors who still wanted to play. He gave us as much attention and care as he did for the major bands, simply doing everything he could to encourage our love of music. That is greatness, and a wonderful contribution to music.
Dr. Moffit was a huge inspiration and positive role model for me. Since he was head of the All American Marching Band and the Boiler Brass pep band for all four of my years at Purdue (and the indoor concert bands), he was the professor that I spent the most time with. More importantly, he was the teacher that had the most and longest lasting impact on my life. His enthusiasm was contagious and his positive attitude was simply amazing.
He loved to tell stories. I remember him telling the story about when his father passed away and he felt so bad that he missed out on the chance to tell him how much he loved him one last time – then suggested to us all that we not miss an opportunity to express our feelings to our loved ones. I remember his words of wisdom every time I talk to my aging parents. He loved puns and his jokes were predicable, but they made us smile none the less. Tubas – “We’ve got 4 bases, that’s enough for a ball game”. His favorite pun for me was “when he graduates, he’ll be an ‘X-Ray’ “.
Memories of Moffit
My memories of Bill Moffit go back to my years in the seventh and eight grades. I was able to take clarinet lessons from him because he accepted my mowing his lawn as payment. His high energy was evident even in such private moments of personal instruction. He always knew I could play with more confidence and accuracy.
His boyish enthusiasm shone at band practice when even seventh and eight graders were part of a 128-member high school band. During Monday marching band practice on a shortened, makeshift and lined field behind the ancient “castle” elementary school at Tipp City, Ohio, Moffit charted the movements of each band member, then briskly stepped off where each member stood in formation. After each song we played traveling music as we moved quickly to the next formation. Every band practice thereafter during the week choreographed together all the parts of Friday night’s halftime show.
He was in his element Thursday nights when the band took the real football field under lights for rehearsing the halftime performance for the next night’s game. By then every detail was in place; all we had to do was execute for excellence.
Moffit began writing trumpet fanfares and many extra short pieces at his beginnings at Tippecanoe High School. No band member can ever forget those fantastic sounds ringing from under the goal posts as the band took the field.
During concert season Moffit had us play some of the most technical and passionate pieces ever played by a high school band. We always won top honors at every district and state event we entered.
The memories he created in band last a lifetime for everyone Moffit taught.
Mr. Moffit was my band director in the beginning at Tipp City High School. I was able to play a trumpet solo by the director in one of our concert performances. As a promising musician, I quit the trumpet, went out for football, broke my leg,and returned to the trumpet in time to make the Ohio State University Marching Band my freshman year in college in 1957. On the OSU band trip to Michiagan State during that period, I by chance ran into Mr. Moffit at a pregame rehearsal. It was a wonderful reunion I will not forget. I continue to make trumpet playing a major part of my life. He was a great guy, and I knew him at the beginning.
Tom Neal..Tipp City High School
The only word I can think of to describe Dr. Moffit is “AWESOME!”
Not only will his dedication and devotion to teach young people music and showmanship never be matched but his positive perspective on life will never be forgotten. From his encouraging, cheerful “We can do better” to the enthusiastic, energetic “THAAAAT’S IT!”, Bill Moffit had an amazing way of connecting with over 400 of us each and every day on the practice field. To say it was honor and privilege to have played in the AAMB and Boiler Brass under his baton is a gross understatement.
Dr. Moffit’s love and devotion to his wife Jeanette (Mom) was and remains truly inspiring. I will never forget “Mom” cooking dinner at their house for the entire Boiler Brass because we didn’t have a banquet.
Because of Dr. Bill Moffit the memory of the most impressionable years of my life will always keep my heart warm.
Trombone (1982 - 1986)
I have never seen a man with such energy, and I know most of he marching season he was running on very little sleep.
Thank all of you for sharing these wonderful memories of Bill. I haven't the words to tell you how comforting your comments have been. You gave me goosebumps!
Jeannette "Mom" Moffit
I am proud to say that the AAMB and Purdue's campus felt like 'home away from home'. As I read the article of Dr. Moffit's passing, a huge amount of memories came flooding over me. I am grateful for the 2 years that I was under the enthusiatic directorship of Dr. Moffit. His passion and excitement for life and music are what I remember the most. I proudly display Purdue AAMB mementos in my classroom which strikes conversations with my students and I never get tired of telling stories about my time spent with such a wonderful group of people.:) My thoughts and prayers go out to all who are experiencing this tremendous loss.
I am truely blessed to say I knew Dr. Bill as my uncle. I saw the side of him as a man, and to this day I will always remember him for his great humor and awesome energy. A wonderful human being..God blessed us with his life and those he touched.
Although I never knew Dr. Moffit personally, I played his music for years and saw his bands march. His music made popular songs accessible to generations of pep bands and marching bands, and as a father of a recent Purdue student and former AAMB member, I acknowledge his passing with sadness.
Daniel Henry, Assistant Professor
I will always remember Dr Moffit's amazing positive attitude and the genuine kindness he showed everyone. In a band with so many members he made a real effort to learn and remember my name and hometown which has always impressed me. I looked up to him then and still try to live by his example.
Lise (Belot) Greil, 86-87
My thoughts and prayers are with you Jeanette. How I miss the days and looking back how much both of you inspired me. Both of you show so much love and respect for each other, and some how balanced having an extended family of a couple hundred extra kids. Thank you.
Sandy (Kemp) Garcia
I will always remember the Bill Moffitt Sound Power series "Saint In Concert" and "Joshua"
"The Black Knight"
It is with great sadness that I learn of the passing of Dr. Moffit. I was a member of the University of Rhode Island Ram Band from 1966-70 and then assistant to the director of that band for the following two years. His name was Donald B. Burns - a close friend of Dr Moffits...I'm sure you remember the name, Mrs. Moffit......in fact, Dr. Moffit would often send Don arrangements before they were published. "That Ram Band" always had one up on other bands in New England because of Dr. Moffit. The Ram Band played only Moffit arrangemnts and we were a classic patterns and motion band touted as the finest in New England. All of this was possible due to the genius of Bill's arrangements and Don's leadership and charting abilities. Sadly, Don passed away within a few days of Dr. Moffit.
Well Jeannette, I think the band did Dr. Bill proud this past Saturday as they marched in memory of him during their half-time show. The tribute was appropriate and well deserved. After reading through all of the wonderful comments on this web site, I got a chuckle out of Ron Steiner's note. The phrase bupity bupity bup is ringing out loud and clear in heaven.
Bill Moffit was one of the most energizing, enthusiastic individuals I have ever had the honor and pleasure of knowing. One thing that always amazed me is that no matter how many people were in the band, he always seemed to know your name and ask how you were doing. Remember one of the band's mottos "Hurry up and wait", we were always prepared for anything. Some of the best memories were my days with the AAMB and Bill Moffit, remembering him always brings a smile to my face. Condolences to Jeanette and family.
What an incredible and energetic personality - he will be missed by all. In addition to his musical talents, Dr. Moffit was also an avid sailor who owned a 30+ ft houseboat during the years he was at the U of H. Imagine "Cap'n Bill" at the wheel during the Christmas Boat Parade, wassail in hand, with the Cougar Brass performing Patterns of Motion on the upper deck - some of the best memories ever. Then there was that time that the engine died right in the middle of the Houston Ship Channel... and we all got seafood dinner after being rescued by the Coast Guard.
I was grad asst at the UHawaii bands. I was handed patterns in motion and told to design the Hula bowl show. I did it.
Two years later I met him in ohio at a seminar he invited me to apply for the bluebonnetbowl in Houston. We did
several years later as the IL State U champions we returned twice
but in my final year of teaching in Illinois we went to the Indy 500 parade and who was there but my mentor.
All my respect to the man that made my career.
My freshman year in college (Fall 1975) was at The University of Houston. Dr. Moffit was Director of Bands at UH during that time and I picked that year to wind up my band career. I could not have asked for a finer semester, under Bill's direction with his son as drum major, in the University of Houston Cougar Marching Band.
"Sparkle!" - I remember his enthusiastic admonishment to us as we worked on our shows. We "Spun the H" every week to cheering crowds. Indeed, we sparkled!
His arrangements had been an integral part of my high school band life as well, just prior to my attending UH. We played them all and loved everyone one of them. "Eat 'em Up" was a staple of our High School crowd.
Dr. Moffit had more energy and enthusiasm in his pinky than all of us combined, I think. I have always fondly remembered this about him and am a better person for having been under his leadership, even for a short time in my life.
That is what a person like Bill Moffit evokes as we remember his positive influence on our lives.
There are those teachers who, for whatever reason, come into and change your life forever. Dr. William C Moffit was one such teacher in my life. As I reflect with sadness and great respect, I fully realize the impact he made on me as I developed my young teaching philosophy while at the University of Houston and even far into my band directing career. The great times and performances at Houston and the wonderful phone conversations and visits through the years, have allowed me to follow his lead with great humility and respect for our music teaching profession. He taught me that we, as educators, have a great and awesome responsibility to those entrusted to us by our communities. The kids are the main thing...and above everything else, be positive with each child because you may be the only positive thing in his/her life. He taught me this and I am forever grateful for his wisdom and eagerness to share all of the things that he had learned (and was still learning) during his career. I remember so much as do many.
Dr. Moffit, sir, it is with great pride, respect and love for you, as I have stated to you many times before, that I say, once more, I love you and thank you for all of the things that made you who you were to everyone you touched during your legendary career and life. We will forever be grateful to you in so many ways. You truly did make a difference. Drop in on me from time to time to make sure I am on the right track and that I am keeping the main thing-the main thing.
Bobby W Heathcock
Bill Moffit taught me to play trumpet when I was in the 6th grade. He was the band director for the junior high and high school in Kenton, Ohio. I was privileged to play in the junior and senior high school bands for the next 3 years before he went to Michigan State University. He was so talented in arranging music, teaching kids how to play any instrument (he,also, taught me how to play french horn), and to develop marching shows. At Kenton High School, we did a brand new show every week -- music and marching patterns. Also, we were invited to numerous events during the summer to march and perform. One highlight was performing at the half time at a Cleveland Browns game. He was a great band director and teacher. All of us in the small town of Kento knew how great he was and will never forget him.
God Bless, Dr. Moffit. You're not gone, really, because I can still hear your voice as you narrate the Michigan St. video of Leon and his lost squad!
Robert Tate, t-bone '75-78, '80
I had the honor of playing music in Bill Moffit's band during my freshman and sophomore year at Kenton High School. Today, when I work as a jazz pianist with music educators in Kansas City, I always make sure to tell them that "my high school band director was Bill Moffit," to which they always respond with a look of amazement and reverence. He was widely loved and respected by all.
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