Bill McGrath, Sr. began his drum and bugle corps involvement as a company bugler during World War II. He was director of the Barnard Blue Devils Senior Drum and Bugle Corps of Greece from 1949 to 1961. He also was the director of the Emerald Cadets Junior Drum and Bugle Corps, whose members included all five of his children. He was Director of the Emerald Statesmen from 1966 to 1967. He also instructed the Hamburg Kingsmen, Lakeview Shoreliners, Yankee Rebels, Mello-Dear All Girl Drum and Bugle Corps, Canadian Commanders, Sarnia Lionettes, and the Alpine Girls of Irondequoit. He was a staff member of the Empire Statesmen. He was the founder of the Western New York Judges Association in 1956, and a member of the All-American Band and Drum and Bugle Corps Association.