Bateman named citizen of year

Wednesday, December 5, 2007
Billy Bateman accepts the Chapel Hill Citizen of the Year award. Pictured here from left are: Chapel Hill Parks and Recreation Chairman Craig Blackwell, Sherry Bateman, Billy Bateman and Chapel Hill Parks and Recreation committee members Sylvia Mathews and Beth Warner.

CHAPEL HILL -- Forrest High School Band Director Billy Wayne Bateman has been named Chapel Hill Citizen of the Year.

Bateman was born in Lynchburg on Nov. 1, 1948. He grew up and attended school there, graduating from high school in 1966. He was the drum major for his high school band. He attended Austin Peay University for six years, graduating in 1971 with a master's degree in instructional music education. His first teaching job was in Jamestown, followed by posts in Lynchburg and Shelbyville.

Taking a break from his music and teaching career, Bateman sold life insurance for Liberty National. It was his wife, Sherry, who talked him into going back to his musical roots. That was when he came to Chapel Hill in 1998 as the high school band director.

Now music is his life and everything he does involves music.

His band family has grown to 47 young people who share his passion for music. Under his direction, the Forrest High School band has made the Tennessee Division One State Marching Band Championship finals for seven years.

In 2007 the band brought the Governor's Cup back to Chapel Hill, as well as hosting the first annual Middle Tennessee Small Band Championship.

When taking a break from teaching, he enjoys a relaxing afternoon fishing, going on cruises with his wife, and, of course, playing music himself.

Bateman plays lead guitar and bass for the Jack Daniels Distillery band in the summer months.

Bateman was honored with the Beyond the Call of Duty award in September 1999 and the UAW/GM/Saturn Teacher of the Week in January 2005.