Remembering Mr. Short, a WMS band icon

Malcolm Gaynor, Staff Writer

Bill Short, a beloved staff member with the West Middle School band, died on March 10th at age 85. He died doing what he loved: volunteering and helping set up for the Middle School Band Festival.

Short, a former member of the Air Force band, has volunteered with the West band since 1999, giving lessons, working with the jazz band, and helping out in any way he could. This included copying music, setting up chairs and music stands, working with individuals or small groups, and helping fix instruments. His kindness and love for band had a huge impact on enriching the musical culture at West.

WMS band director Dennis Kozian worked alongside Mr. Short for eleven years. “He left behind a legacy of service, kindness, and passion, and a passion for music,” Kozian said in his eulogy.

Short was an extremely dedicated volunteer who arrived at West at seven o’clock in the morning four days a week. His dedication and love for helping others is shown by what he told the doctors shortly before he died: “He told the doctors to hurry up and fix him, because he had to get back to band festival, to help our kids,” said Kozian. Short’s unparalleled dedication and kindness will leave an impact on the West band forever.

Current WMS eighth grader Colin Gibson remembers great times during private lessons with Short. He would always make jokes and funny comments to keep the lessons fun and exciting. Whenever he couldn’t remember something, Gibson recalls that Mr. Short always joked: “I’ll remember it later and tell ya tomorrow. If your wondering about it later tonight, just don’t call me after midnight!” Humor and jokes are even more elements of Short’s personality that made him such a vibrant presence for the WMS band program.

Short’s influence is felt past the current WMS band. Portage Northern sophomores and former WMS trombonists Arjav Patel and Kanishk Madhav remember the kindness Mr. Short passed on to them. Both Patel and Madhav took lessons with Mr. Short, and Madhav remembers Mr. Short “helping children get their love for band.” The kindness and passion of Mr. Short is recognized by all West band students, former or current. As Patel said, Mr. Short was “an iconic part of the West band.”

Mr. Short’s amazing dedication and passion for helping young musicians will never be forgotten. “Future generations of West band students will know who Mr. Short was and what he stood for,” Kozian said. It is impossible to imagine all that Mr. Short did for the West band. As Kozian said at the end of his eulogy: “the band room will never be the same.”

Click here to view Short’s full obituary.