By Carolyn Crowcroft
Professor Emeritus William Adam of the Jacobs School of Music died Nov. 25 at the IU Health Hospice House in Bloomington. He was 96 years old.
Adam, a renowned trumpet pedagogue, taught at Jacobs for 42 years, from 1946 to 1988.
Born in 1917 in Kansas City, Kan., Adam began playing the trumpet at age seven. He took his first lessons from Ben Foltz, a former cornetist with the John Philip Sousa Band.
Adam’s determination to master the instrument carried on throughout his childhood. According to a Jacobs press release, he used to take rides from his Fort Collins, Colo., home to Denver to study under Denver Symphony Orchestra trumpet player John S. Leick. At the age of 16, he left home to play professionally in the Hal Kemp Orchestra in California.
During his time in California, Adam also played for the Lucky Strike Hit Parade and the Los Angeles Civic Orchestra as well as a number of radio shows. He also attended Pasadena Junior College and the University of California-Los Angeles.
During World War II, Adams returned to Colorado to join the army at Ft. Logan in Denver. Though he failed to pass the physical examination due to a previous injury, Adam worked for the Remington Arms Munitions Factory.
Following his service, Adam completed his studies at the University of Colorado at Denver and Colorado State University in Ft. Collins, earning a bachelor’s degree in trumpet performance.
Adam taught music in high schools in Colorado and performed in hotels and radio orchestras. In 1948, he earned his master’s degree in music theory and composition from Eastman School of Music in Rochester, N.Y.
In 1946, Adam began his career as a professor at Jacobs, where he worked until the late 1980s.
John Rommel, a trumpet player and professor of music at Jacobs, studied privately under Adam.
Though he was already playing professionally when he started taking lessons with Adam, Rommel said he was feeling discouraged by his trumpet playing, and it was Adam who helped turn his attitude around.
“He always said you can accomplish whatever you want if you just stay positive and focus on a task,” Rommel said. “He changed the way I thought about pretty much everything, but definitely the trumpet. His outlook kept me in music.”
Rommel said over the years, Adam’s earned a devoted group of students who were touched by his influential teaching skills.
“There have been a lot of great teachers at Jacobs, and he’s one of them,” Rommel said.
A celebration of Adam’s life will be at a later date. Members of Adam’s family have requested memorial contributions to be made to the William Adam Trumpet Scholarship through the IU Foundation.
Condolences can be shared online at caringbridge.org/visit/williamadam as well as on the Jacobs School’s blog.
© Indiana Daily Student 2013