Beloved Indiana HS Bandmaster Mourned
The Purdue University Department of Bands and Orchestras mourns the passing of Bill Fread, beloved school bandmaster from Blackford County, IN.
Educated in Terre Haute, IN, Mr. Fread graduated from Garfield High School in 1946. He earned a B.S. in Music Education and a M.S. in Music Education in 1955 from Indiana State University. Prior to his music education career, he served with the Fifth Air Force Headquarters Band in Hamilton Field, California. His career in music education began in 1952 where he served as band director in the Odon-Madison Schools in Odon, IN. From 1953-1981 Fread served as Director of Bands in the Hartford City Schools which upon consolidation became the Blackford County Schools. His bands performed for many state organizations and successfully participated in Northern Indiana School Band Orchestra and Vocal Association (NISBOVA) Contests. His contest records are admirable with some 27 consecutive years of first division ratings in concert bands and marchingband competitions. His bands performed nationally in the Virginia Beach Music Festival and Florida World Music Festival. Also, on two occasions, his bands performed at Walt Disney World in Florida.
Mr. Fread was appointed the first executive director of the Indiana State School Music Association in 1981. ISSMA is the governing organization for all school music contests and festivals in Indiana. Mr. Fread served in this position until announcing his retirement in 1991. While serving as Director of ISSMA, Mr. Fread made annual reports to the IMEA Board and the ISSA (Indiana Secondary School Administrators) State Conventions. He made presentations regarding ISSMA make-up at a music educators conference at the U. of Wisconsin in Madison, and at the state meeting of Kentucky Music Educators in Louisville, KY. In addition, he met with music majors at Indiana University and Indiana State University explaining the formation of ISSMA which was relatively new in the early 1980's and was of interest to educators in other states.
His honors include the Outstanding Hoosier Musician of the Year from the Indiana Music Educators Association, Outstanding Bandmaster (1979) and Hall of Fame Award (1983) from Phi Beta Mu Bandmasters Fraternity, the Sudler Order of Merit from the John Philip Sousa Foundation (1989) and the Distinguished Hoosier Award from the Offfice of the Governor in 2006.
Mr. Fread's children graduated from Purdue University, and participated in many performing ensembles in our department. He shared his musical gifts with us by serving as our Band Day guest conductor in 2007, leading nearly two thousand musicians for a large and appreciative audience. We are thankful for the many opportunities afforded to Indiana's school music students through the leadership he provided as an educator and administrator, and we mourn his loss.