Bill Sprague auditioned for a seat in the Omaha Symphony Orchestra in 1959. He was 14 years old.
Sprague, who grew up in Benson, played a used French horn his parents had bought him two years before. Until then, he’d rented his instrument from a downtown music shop. Sprague was in fourth grade when the so-called WISIP Test (“Which Instrument Should I Play”) fed him three options: cello (“I had no interest in strings”), bassoon (“kind of funny”) and the French horn, which agreed with his eye. Shiny. Wondrously shaped. He took to it immediately.