William M. Pace

Although obituaries in many of the area newspapers referred to Bill Pace as a "local businessman," those who knew him at all were aware that his main interests in life, outside of his family, revolved around the "strange and exciting" world of the fife and drum.

A visionary and planner, it was his proposals, back in 1964, that resulted in the organization we now know as The Company of Fifers & Drummers. Our first meeting in February, 1965 demonstrated that his ideas were not at all impossible and that... even though many of the old Ancient corps refrained from even acknowledging each other's existence... there were some corpspeople willing to sit down together.

Born in Yonkers, N.Y., Bill had his first taste of Drum Corps as a six-year-old mascot with Troop 38 Boy Scouts and as a youthful drummer with one of that city's better known junior corps, St. Mary's Fife, Drum & Bugle Corps. As he grew older, his interests broadened and soon he was off to school at Syracuse University. Though distanced from drum corps, Bill managed to keep a percussive hand in by drumming with his university band as well as playing in local dance ensembles. When he returned to the Greater New York area he found himself working to make the drum line of the then famous N.Y. Regimentals. Through them he sampled the delights of the Ancient Muster circuit. Certainly this was the direction to go... before long he was urging fellow corpsmen to form a society so as to perpetuate and further this traditional approach. Lesley... soon to be his spouse... was introduced to this crazy constituency and after their trip down the aisle they found themselves looking at New England homes even though Bill was now filling an important niche in the corporate world of Time Magazine... he once revealed that he knew that he had "arrived" when Time started serving Ballantine Ale in the executive dining room.

Following his Connecticut move he next wound up in the drum line of a local corps known as The Ancient Mariners... contentiously occupying as many positions therin as he did in The Company itself. Ill for some time, Bill had every intention of "beating it" and getting back into the drum line of his final group, The Sons of the Whiskey Rebellion, but the end came on more suddenly than any of us had expected. Interestingly enough, while services were being held in Centerbrook, Conn., a massed unit of six Midwestern fife & drum corps were dedicating their performance at Lafayette, Indiana's "Feast of the Hunter's Moon" to the man who made it possible for them to join together with their Eastern comrades in an organization that now spans the country and serves European corps as well.

Bill was buried at Derby, Connecticut's Mount St. Peter's Cemetery to the strains of a traditional dirge, "Flee As The Bird." Bill's wife Lesley has let it be known that memorial contributions may be made to The Company of Fifers & Drummers or the Visiting Nurses of the Lower Valley, Essex, CT 06426.

By Ed Olsen

Page Created and Maintained by Bob Castillo
Midi file, "Amazing Grace", sequenced by Barry Taylor.