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William Richard Hayes

William Richard Hayes, musician and educator, was born March 7, 1944 in Carbondale, Illinois. His father, also William R. Hayes, worked for the Illinois Central Railroad while his mother, Eurma C. Hayes, was a noted Model Cities leader. Hayes attended Attucks Elementary School and graduated from Carbondale High School in 1962. At Southern Illinois University, he earned a B.M.E. degree in music education in 1967. There, he played bass for the Justin Singers. In 1971, he was awarded his masters of music degree from Western Illinois University.

In 1967, he taught music in Nebraska at Sandhill Public School. Married in 1969, Hayes lived and taught in Bermuda for a year. In 1971, Hayes taught at Pine Forge Academy in Pennsylvania, then at Bethlehem Community College. Teaching elementary school general music, choir, and beginning band as well as middle school band and orchestra, Hayes created curriculum and performance pieces at each level. At Traverse City, Michigan, Hayes founded the Multicultural Education Committee. Hayes worked as director of music programs for the Traverse City Area Public Schools from 1979 to 1993. He also served as conductor of the Cadillac Area Symphony from 1977 to 1993.

Now retired, Hayes founded the Ypsilanti, Michigan Youth Orchestra in 1997. Hayes is a former conductor of the River Raisin Ragtime Review as well as three-term Board of Directors member of the Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra. His teaching style has been called the “Soul Method” an eclectic, but disciplined approach to music. In 2008, The Ann Arbor News named Hayes the 2008 Ypsilanti Heritage Fellow for his commitment to young people in the Ypsilanti area.

A well-known Detroit area jazz bassist, Hayes, a divorced father of three, lives in Ypsilanti, Michigan.

Hayes was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on January 18, 2005.

Accession Number

A2005.019

Sex

Male

Interview Date

1/18/2005

Last Name

Hayes

Maker Category
Middle Name

Richard

Schools

Carbondale Community High School

Attucks Elementary School

Southern Illinois University

Western Illinois University

First Name

William

Birth City, State, Country

Carbondale

HM ID

HAY07

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Illinois

Favorite Vacation Destination

Grand Teton National Park

Favorite Quote

Do It! Do It Right!! Do It Right Now!!!

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Michigan

Birth Date

3/7/1944

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Detroit

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Meatloaf

Short Description

School music programs director and orchestra conductor William Richard Hayes (1944 - ) was the founder of the Ypsilanti, Michigan Youth Orchestra, and worked as the director of music programs for the Traverse City Area Public Schools in Michigan for nearly three decades. He also served as conductor of the Cadillac Area Symphony, and has conducted the River Raisin Ragtime Review since 2002.

Employment

United States Department of Defense (USDOD)

Sandhills Public School

Pine Forge Academy

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of William Richard Hayes' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - William Richard Hayes lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - William Richard Hayes talks about his mother's side of the family

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - William Richard Hayes describes his maternal grandparents

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - William Richard Hayes describes his mother's personality and upbringing

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - William Richard Hayes describes his mother's civic contributions and parenting style

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - William Richard Hayes talks about his father's side of the family

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - William Richard Hayes describes his father's personality and upbringing

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - William Richard Hayes describes his father's personality and activities

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - William Richard Hayes talks about his family's legacy at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, Illinois

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - William Richard Hayes describes his father's employment with the Illinois Central Railroad

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - William Richard Hayes reflects upon his parents' relationship

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - William Richard Hayes describes his earliest childhood memories, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - William Richard Hayes describes his earliest childhood memories, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - William Richard Hayes describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up in Carbondale, Illinois, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - William Richard Hayes describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up in Carbondale, Illinois, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - William Richard Hayes details his educational experiences in Carbondale, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - William Richard Hayes remembers being accused of dancing with two white girls at Carbondale Community High School in Carbondale, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - William Richard Hayes talks about receiving a scholarship to attend Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - William Richard Hayes recalls his musical interests and experiences as a high school student in Carbondale, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - William Richard Hayes talks about his changing career aspirations between high school and college

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - William Richard Hayes describes his mentors from Carbondale Community High School and Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - William Richard Hayes remembers playing bass for the Justin Singers at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - William Richard Hayes recalls racist incidents while traveling with the Justin Singers to play a talent show in Henderson, Kentucky

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - William Richard Hayes remembers his first encounter with racial discrimination while growing up

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - William Richard Hayes reflects upon formative experiences with race

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - William Richard Hayes shares his perspective on Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s civil rights campaign

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - William Richard Hayes talks about his first marriage

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - William Richard Hayes reflects upon his experiences living in Bermuda

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - William Richard Hayes remembers his impressions of, and teaching experiences at, Pine Forge Academy in Pine Forge, Pennsylvania

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - William Richard Hayes talks about leaving Pine Forge Academy in Pine Forge, Pennsylvania and the Seventh-day Adventist church

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - William Richard Hayes talks about the tokenism he witnessed at Northampton County Area Community College in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - William Richard Hayes talks about relocating from Illinois to Michigan

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - William Richard Hayes describes the racial discrimination he experienced while teaching in Frankfort, Michigan

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - William Richard Hayes describes his experience teaching for Traverse City Area Public Schools in Traverse City, Michigan

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - William Richard Hayes talks about establishing the multicultural education committee for Traverse City Area Public Schools in Traverse City, Michigan

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - William Richard Hayes describes his achievements as conductor of the Cadillac Area Symphony Orchestra

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - William Richard Hayes describes his musical pedagogy, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - William Richard Hayes talks about the courses he taught in Traverse City, Michigan

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - William Richard Hayes describes his musical pedagogy, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - William Richard Hayes remembers successful students he taught in Nebraska and Michigan

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - William Richard Hayes reflects upon his experiences as one of few African Americans in communities in which he lived and worked

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - William Richard Hayes describes his composition, 'Exodus, Suite Exodus' performed by the Chicago Chamber Orchestra

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - William Richard Hayes talks about reconnecting with his family after his first marriage ended

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - William Richard Hayes talks about the Ypsilanti Youth Orchestra

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - William Richard Hayes describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - William Richard Hayes reflects upon his life

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - William Richard Hayes reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - William Richard Hayes considers his contributions to the Ypsilanti school district in Ypsilanti, Michigan

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - William Richard Hayes talks about his parents' reactions to his musical interests and career

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - William Richard Hayes talks about his children's musical aspirations

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - William Richard Hayes shares his perspective on oral history interviews

Tape: 5 Story: 11 - William Richard Hayes describes how he would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$3

DAStory

5$2

DATitle
William Richard Hayes describes his achievements as conductor of the Cadillac Area Symphony Orchestra
William Richard Hayes recalls racist incidents while traveling with the Justin Singers to play a talent show in Henderson, Kentucky
Transcript
That [establishing the multicultural education committee] was a positive thing for me. The fact that after that happened, I was run out of town, you know. But I had made I thought what was a good showing in Traverse City [Michigan]. The kids--I was wearing an afro when I first went there and a big beard. Not big beard, but a lot more than now. And I couldn't keep the white kids from pulling at and touching my hair 'cause they hadn't had any contact. And I taught them songs of America, their America. I occasionally had some sort of gospel or rock or black beat with some of the things, which was cute, you know, to those people. But I didn't set out to show them a black man. I went there with the attitude I am, I have two degrees, I'm not egotistical. I'm just plain Bill Hayes [HistoryMaker William Richard Hayes] regular. Asked me to teach this music to these kids, I can do that and I did that without any--I didn't bring anything to myself beyond what would ordinarily come in recognition of what I was doing.$$Now in Traverse City, you were conductor of a community orchestra there (unclear)?$$While I was living in Traverse City, I was conductor of the Cadillac Area Symphony Orchestra [Cadillac Symphony Orchestra].$$Okay.$$So that was a fifty, sixty mile trip from my home each night to--each Tuesday night for years. Area Symphony Orchestra, Cadillac Area.$$Okay.$$I was not the first conductor, but I, I was with them for seventeen years. It was an all-white group. I don't--yes there was a, a black woman that played flute. Other than my son [Matthew Hayes] who played drums occasionally as he got old enough, and my daughter who finally graduated enough to play bass, there were no black people in the, in the orchestra. After I think fifteen years, the mayor presented me with a, a document--proclamation naming the day of that particular concert as William R. Hayes, Jr. Day in Cadillac [Michigan]. Recognizing the work that I had done in continuing the symphony and, and building an audience for it. That was, that was a good thing for me. I didn't try to impose on them. I wanted to let them do what they wanted to do and it was not a very good performance orchestra. But I wasn't there to make the Chicago Symphony [Orchestra]. And I remember my history with them, the words from--there was one president all of that time. That was their--she kept making herself remain president. But it was to my advantage because I would get what I needed and wanted. But she would always say it's not so much what he did, but how he did it. And, and, without hurting anybody's feelings and, and with tact and all that kind of stuff. I never had any incidents with the orchestra.$And I remember it was almost tornado weather. It was very scary driving across Southern Illinois with that ominous sky. But we [the Justin Singers] drove to Henderson [Kentucky] and, and straight to a restaurant/bar where three of our schoolmates were singing, like The Kinsmen--the Kingston Trio or something or other. And it was afternoon, so we walked in and, and saw their instruments and their stage and there was a, a bartender and a waitress. And we sat for twenty minutes and neither one of them came. They just kept talking. Finally, one of us asked her, and long and short, they weren't going to serve us. So we asked them to call the manager and they called the manager and the manager says, "No, do not serve them." So we left. We went and, and played the show and, and won first place. And the first person backstage to congratulate us was the owner of that restaurant where we had been denied service. And he still doesn't know that we were the ones that he had denied service. "Want you guys to come down to my restaurant and have dinner, have anything, drinks, stay at my house tonight, swim in my pool in the morning." And he doesn't--he didn't know that he had refuse (laughter)--so after we had declined. We did go to the restaurant and have dinner and, and lots--we even played a couple of songs that night. But we drove back. And the little town of Carmi [Illinois], C-A-R-M-I. We stopped burgers just like one o'clock or so in the morning, whatever. And the--all of a sudden the place filled up. I mean every seat. You could hear the country western music and so on. And just as we finished our burgers, the place emptied. And we were the last people in the room. And we walked outside and every headlight in Carmi turned on that building (laughter). So we got in our car and we were going to go west. And we were blocked from going out of the driveway by a line of cars that was going west. And finally the line stopped and somebody let us in line. The rest of the cars followed us out and led us (laughter), okay.$$Okay, so--$$No other incident. But you know that has to be a memorable experience for, for the five of us.