Bill was born to Bill, Sr., and Christine Goodson on August 18, 1933. His sister, Barbara, was born in July the following year. His family was close knit, attended church regularly, and very loving and nurturing.
In a competition in the second grade, Bill came in second to conduct the rhythm band playing “Silent Night.” He became fascinated with reading music when his second grade teacher demonstrated how a melody rises and falls based on how it is positioned on the staff. He learned how G to D sounded, remembering a song in the third grade called “Marching, Marching, All Around the School Room.” He didn’t know it was a perfect fourth until studying theory in high school.
Bill’s musical experience began with accordion lessons in the fifth grade, and piano lessons the next year. In high school, he played tuba in Jack Mahan’s band in Texarkana, Texas. Mr. Mahan was one of the strongest influences in his life. He was always fascinated by how music worked and he listened intently when Mr. Mahan spoke regardless of which section was being instructed. He also studied theory with Mr. Mahan.
After graduating in 1951, he passed up a scholarship to Louisiana State University and attended Bethany Peniel College in Oklahoma. Bill played in the college band his freshman year, but dropped out the next year because the band met at 7:30 in the morning, and wasn’t very good. As a freshman, he was one of four students to make the a cappella choir, but during his senior year he was told by his voice teacher, Lester L. Dunn, that he would never be a professional singer, but that he would do well in public school music. He respected Mr. Dunn so much that he wasn’t upset. Mr. Dunn was another strong influence in his life. In 1955, he earned his Bachelor of Music Education degree in voice from Bethany Peniel College, now Southern Nazarene University.
While in college, Bill married Beverly Parker in 1953. Their son, Kenneth, was born in December of 1955.
Bill began his teaching career in Atlanta, Texas teaching choir and public school music. He also taught voice lessons after school and worked in a dry goods store on Saturday to add to the family’s income. One of his students was Phil Beta Mu Secretary-Treasurer Gary Wells.
In 1957, Bill accepted the choir director position in Texarkana. He also taught beginning band class at nearby Nash. He resigned in February of 1960, to do instrument repair for Jerry Loveall at the Melody Shop music store.
He accepted the band director position at Paul Pewitt using students from the sixth grade through the twelfth grade in the high school band. In 1964, he became band director in Daingerfield. While there, the band earned numerous Sweepstakes and was Region Honor Band twice and runner-up once. In 1979 to 1985, he was the band director in Greenville.
Once, during a rehearsal, his first chair All-State trumpet player was absent, and the students were falling all over themselves trying to read the march “Eagle Squadron.” Allowing his sarcastic side to show, Bill said, “Do you even have the right music up? We’re playing EAGLE SQUADRON – E-A-G-L-E!” Then, he went to great lengths explaining a key change to F sharp minor at the break strain, a student raised his hand and said, “Mr. Goodson, we don’t have a key change at the break strain,” whereupon a baritone player said, “Mr. Goodson, we’re playing EAGLE SQUADRON.”
Bill taught band camps at SFA, ETSU, Lone Star Steel, and West Virginia. He completed is M.A. in instrumental music at SFA in 1975. He has served as Executive Secretary for UIL Region IV, and TMEA Chairman. He has been active as church organist and choir director. His first Sunday at the Methodist Church in Daingerfield, he walked out and accidentally kicked the plug out of the organ, a Hammond, which takes time to recycle and warm up again.
Bill retired in 1985 and has had several jobs included radio ad sales, car sales (where he was fired after five months), and telephone collections at Sears and Smiley’s Photography. He also taught bands at Hart’s Bluff, Royse City, Tyler Junior College, Tatum, Lone Oak, Kilgore, Hardin Jefferson where he taught band and choir, Big Sandy, Ore City, Garland, Tom Bean, and Harleton. Bill said he hadn’t planned to work after leaving Lone Oak in 1996, but continued to answer calls for help. He is an active judge and clinician.
Bill Goodson’s career highlights include the birth on his son Kenny, a successful band director, and now Director of Information Services at Region VIII Service Education Center, membership in Phi Beta Mu, becoming a member of TMAA as a charter member, and being selection to the Texas Bandmasters Hall of Fame.