Hill, Charles Lee (1910-2002) | East Texas Research Center
Charles Lee Hill, 91, of Houston, passed away Monday, Oct. 14, 2002. Born in Houston Heights on Nov. 15, 1910, to Charles S. and Sue Lee Hill, and from age 3, raised by his father and stepmother
Martha Ola MacPherson Hill. He was an educator and pioneer and innovator in composing and arranging swing and jazz music for concert band. He studied in public schools in LaPorte and Nacogdoches, but was largely self-taught on the clarinet and saxophone and learned arranging from books and bandleaders with whom he associated.
After receiving a Bachelor of Science degree from Stephen F. Austin State University, in 1933, and doing additional study at Hardin Simmons University, he received an MME degree from University of North Texas in 1948. This was followed by postgraduate study at New York University, University of North Texas, the University of Houston, and Sam Houston State University. During World War II, he served from March 1942, through October 1945, in the U.S. Army.
All of Hill's 49 years of service as an educator came in the state of Texas. He was the first director of the Troup High School Band from 1934-35, and directed the band at Stephen F. Austin State University during the summers of 1934 and 1935, from 1935 to 1942, he directed the Overton High School Band. He was associate professor of music at Sam Houston State University from 1948 to1953, director of the Lovelady High School Band from 1953 to 1959, and director of instrumental and vocal music in the North Forest (Houston) School District from 1959 to 1966. From 1966 to 1986, he was librarian at North Forest.
Hill was a member of ASCAP and other organizations, including the Texas Music Education Association, the Association of Concert Bands, the Texas Bandmasters Association, and the Texas State Library Association. Also a Lions Club member since 1953, he was president twice in two different towns and was selected Lion of the Year numerous times.
In addition to his original compositions, he published over 20 band arrangements of the works of others. His most popular pieces have been Red Rhythm Valley and At the Gremlin Ball which was performed by the Air Force Band before a combined audience of 20 million people in 40 countries on five continents as well as a Command Performance at Buckingham Palace. He also wrote numerous articles for newspapers and music magazines.
Hill retired in 1986, at the age of 7 5 and was director of the popular Good Times Brass Band in Houston from 1982 to 1992. He was Band Director Emeritus of the Houston Space City Concert Band. A longtime member of the United Methodist Church, downtown Houston, he had been a Sunday school class song leader. He was also a former deacon of the Lovelady Methodist Church.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Charles Samuel and Sue Lee Hill; step-mother, Martha Ola MacPherson Hill; and sister, Robbie Jean Hill Guenzel Price. He is survived by his special friend, Madie Hartt; nieces and nephews, Jean Greenough, Martha Guenzel Allen, Paul Guenzel and John Guenzel; great nieces and great nephew, Martha White, Monica Rath and William White; great-great nieces, Brittany Rath, Allie Rath and Alison White; many friends and former students.