Bill Jay



Danforth Tech, Optimists Bantams, Toronto Optimists, Jesters

Bill came to the Optimists from Danforth Tech. In addition to marching with Optimists and playing some of the solos, he was also the first drum major of the Optimists Bantams. After aging out of Optimists Bill moved to the Jesters.

"My first encounter with Bill occurred when I was 13 years old (the late 1950s) and he, as Drum Major, welcomed me as a member of the Toronto Optimist Novice Drum and Bugle Corps. Even then, as a young man, he was willing to give of his free time to, as he put it, "keep young lads out of jail". He was an excellent musician himself and instilled a love of the Drum Corps world in so many, that has lasted to this day. Please accept my condolences for your loss of a man who was a champion then, and for so many, was still a champion now." (Tom Menagh)

"We first met Bill at Danforth Crusaders where he played a very strong soprano horn. At the end of 1957 he moved with Lorne and myself (plus Joe Gianna, Gord O'Halloran, Ken Poole, Al Morrison, Doug McPhail, Colin Hedworth and many others) to form Optimists. Later he moved to Jesters with Lorne and I. He was an excellent person." (Barry Bell)

"I first met Bill at Danforth Tech, with the Danforth Crusaders or 330th Squadron Air Cadets. He was my section Sergeant and took me under his wing, instructing me on how to play the bugle, single valve at the time. I remember he would have me march the length of the gym where we rehearsed, holding a sustained note for the length of the gym to build up endurance, and of course he would also do it with me. Ken Poole played a Baritone and was a very good friend of his. We all moved to the Optimists with Barry Bell and Lorne Ferrazzutti in the fall of 1957 to form the 1958 Canadian Championship Corps. Bill was a very powerful horn player whom I admired. He would pick me up in his Volkswagen Beetle for practices and drive me back home. He stayed with the Optimists 'til he aged out, probably 1960 or 61. His wife Marie was right in there, at the Jarvis St. School where we used to practice, helping to serve the spaghetti dinner that my mother cooked and served to the entire corps in celebration of our first Canadian Championship victory. " (Joe Gianna)


...........We Remember!