William A. Baker

1938 -

William (Bill) Baker, now retired and living in Keene, Texas, taught instrumental music and was band director at Southwestern Adventist University for two years, from 1978 to 1980. During his career he also taught in academies in California, Nebraska, Colorado, Texas, New Jersey, and Ohio.

Baker, a trumpet player and brass specialist, started playing trumpet in a grade school music program in Galveston, Texas. While in high school, he was inspired by the director to pursue a career in music. In the fall of 1956 he enrolled at Southwestern Junior College, now Southwestern Adventist University, where he played in the band under Wilbur Schram. Two years later, he transferred to Union College, where he continued music study, playing in the band and studying brass, at first under Lloyd Leno, and then Melvin Hill.

Following graduation from UC in 1962 with a B.S. in music education, Baker began teaching at Mountain View Academy in California. Two years later, he accepted a position at Kern Junior Academy in Shafter, California, and, in 1966, became band director at Platte Valley Academy in Nebraska. He completed an M.Mus. at Andrews University in 1967, while at PVA.

After four years at PVA, Baker assumed direction of the instrumental and band program at Campion Academy, continuing there for six years. In the summer of 1975, he attended a conducting seminar under Herbert Blomstedt at Loma Linda University, Riverside campus, now La Sierra University, in California, an experience he thoroughly enjoyed.

In 1976 he accepted a position at Chisholm Trail Academy in Keene, Texas, where he also maintained a brass studio in his home. Additionally, Baker directed the band at nearby Southwestern Adventist College from 1978 to 1980. Following three years at CTA, Baker became involved in home construction and cabinet installation for the next ten years. He returned to music teaching in 1989, working at Garden State Academy in New Jersey for two years and at Mount Vernon Academy in Ohio for three years.

Years earlier, while teaching in California, Baker had taken a course in music instrument repair at San Jose State College. Through the years he developed his skills in that area and, on leaving MVA, returned to Keene, where he developed an instrument repair business, Clarion Music, while also driving for a charter bus company. The business flourished, eventually servicing twenty school music programs in the area. Since retirement in 2003, he has continued to do instrument repair.


Sources: Interview/Conversations, 2007; personal knowledge.