Dr. Laura Hill
Dr. Laura Hill is the new Orchestra Director for North Port High School. Dr. Hill began studying piano at age five with her grandfather, added ‘cello at age 11, and finally joined her public school band program in the fifth grade on alto saxophone. In high school Dr. Hill was honored to serve as the Drum Major for two consecutive years. Dr. Hill studied all three instruments privately throughout her childhood, attended Butler University (Indianapolis, Indiana), and continued the ‘cello and saxophone as a rare double principal and piano secondary music student. Her studio teachers were Dr. William Grubb, Dr. Jack Eaton, and Dr. WIlliam Hockkeppel. During her undergraduate years, Dr. Hill performed in every large instrumental ensemble including Marching Band, Jazz Band, Wind Ensemble, Symphony Orchestra, and various small ensembles. After Dr. Hill earned her Bachelors in Music Education with Honors Degree from Butler University she began her public school teaching career at the Metropolitan School District of Pike Township (Indianapolis). Simultaneously, she was performing ‘cello with the Lafayette Symphony Orchestra and teaching jazz saxophone as an Adjunct Professor at Wabash College (Crawfordsville, IN). While at Pike HS Dr. Hill’s ensembles consistently earned Superior Ratings at every Indiana State School Music Association’s large and small ensemble contest. In 2000, Dr. Hill accepted the Education Coordinator position at the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra (ISO) - one of only 18 full-time professional symphonies in the United States. Her work at the ISO centered around the School Partnership Program which placed members of the ISO in classrooms across the city to teach the Indiana State Standards of Education through music. Within that program she worked with Dr. Robert Horowitz of Columbia University and co-author of Champions of Change 2000. In 2003, her husband, Dr. John Hill earned the Director of Percussion at Murray State University, and the family moved to Kentucky.
In Kentucky Dr. Hill taught orchestra for the Graves County Schools where she took a program of only 30 students and increased enrollment to just over 300 in three years. In 2009, six years after Dr. Hill started in Graves County, the high school Chamber Orchestra was selected as the only high school orchestra to perform for the KMEA State Conference. Other notable performances of the Graves County High School Orchestra include two invited performances at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, and one audition-based performance at Washington DC, Chicago Symphony Hall, Butler University, and Disney World. Her orchestra was also frequently requested to perform for many Kentucky state conferences including the Kentucky School Board Association, Kentucky Superintendents Association, and Family Resource Centers of Kentucky to name a few. Dr. Hill served the KY Music Educators Association as the District 1 Orchestra Chair from 2004-2011, State Orchestra Chair-Elect from 2005-2007, and State Chair from 2008-2010. She was also the Kentucky American String Teachers Association State President from 2009-2011. Dr. Hill earned her Masters in Secondary Education with Music Emphasis from Murray State University in 2007 and studied ‘cello with Mr. Xiao-Fan Zhang of the Nashville Symphony. She attended The Ohio State University and was Dr. Robert Gillespie’s (co-author of Essential Elements for Strings) Teaching Assistant from 2011-2014. During her time at OSU she was the co-founder of the OSU School of Medicine Orchestra, she led the OSU First Year Orchestra, The OSU Community Orchestra, and was co-director of the Columbus Symphony Orchestra’s Chamber Strings Ensemble. Dr. Hill graduated from OSU with a PhD in Music Education, Specializing in String Pedagogy, Orchestral Conducting, and Violoncello in 2017.
As a frequent clinician Dr. Hill has presented at American String Teachers Association national conferences in Louisville (KY) and Providence (RI), the National Association for Music Education national conference in Nashville (TN), and state music conferences in Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, and Michigan. She has led honor orchestras in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Missouri, Tennessee, and Kentucky. Dr. Hill is an active adjudicator on the district and state levels in Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri, and Ohio. Dr. Hill has been recognized as one of the Top 20 Teachers in Kentucky sponsored by Ashland Oil. Dr. Hill is a Grammy Award Quarterfinalist for Music Education, and the recipient of many awards including the Coach John Wooden Award for Excellence in Education, the Albert Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award, and several Marquis’s Who’s Who awards including Who’s Who in American High Schools, Who’s Who Among American Women, Who’s Who Among Emerging Leaders, and Who’s Who in America.