Inside the Arc – Dave Hill: A Beautiful Mind

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It seems clear that some are born with abilities and potential a cut above the rest of us mere mortals. This is a benefit to all of course, since they provide us with the inspiration to achieve our aspirations. Dave Hill was one such fountain of inspiration.

This is not to say that he himself had not also been inspired, but he had the intellect to recognize a role model when he saw one and to absorb the requisite lessons. While still marching in the Des Plaines Vanguard in 1969, taming the wild mellophone, he was already arranging the bulk of the brass book. I wonder: How many members of today’s “Top 5” Drum Corps are entrusted with that responsibility? Obviously, the question is rhetorical, the answer being “zero”.

For more than 50 years, Dave Hill spread the word about Drum Corps all over the world, to Chicago, Finleyville, Salem, Spokane, Dagenham, Amsterdam, Bad Munder, Grand Rapids, and everywhere else he traveled, generously sharing his sparkling music and beautiful mind. Still, he was no self-promoter. He’s probably the single most influential Drum Corps guru you never heard of.

His first word upon meeting anyone was always, “Greetings!”, like some interstellar traveler arriving in a new world. And he left the following message on his computer with a request it be shared upon his departure. It’s apropos to give him the last word. Like Dave, it’s a brave and hopeful one:

“In good faith and clear conscience, farewell. It was quite a journey, with many lifelong friends and experiences across the U.S., UK and Germany and, perhaps, a few more bumps than I want to be remembered for! I am sorry if I hurt anyone: this was never my intention.

The Good Lord gave me every chance to succeed and I did my best with the gifts HE gave me.


Dave Hill

Posted by on Friday, May 5th, 2023. Filed under Current News, DCA News, DCI Open, DCI World, FrontPage Feature, Inside the Arc.