Hill Only Third Director of Jazz Band in 45 Years
BY BOB KUCINSKI
Special to The Pilot
When Rob Hill, the current band director at Union Pines High School and former lead and solo trumpet player for the SCC Jazz Band, took over in June 2011 from Tim Haley as director of the popular big band, he became only the third director in the band's 45-year existence.
In 1967, Marian Rogers, the college's music program director, started the SCC Stage Band.
Initially the band was smaller and was made up principally of SCC students, faculty and a few members of the community. Big band music was the mainstay of the band from its inception.
Unlike today's band, performances were few and usually done for college events.
Two members of the current band, trumpeters Larry Wilson and Dave Wall, were in the original stage band. Wilson, former chairman of SCC's Business Technology Department, who retired in 2004, has played continuously with the band since starting at SCC in 1969.
Dave Wall began playing with the band in 1967 while in high school and continued until he left for Campbell University. Wall rejoined the band five years ago.
The Marian Rogers era ended with the arrival at SCC of percussionist Tim Haley in 1983. The band, which by then had become the SCC Jazz Band, grew in popularity. Many community musicians volunteered their time and played in the band.
The band's current musicians include music school grads, doctors, dentists, engineers, professors, pilots, lawyers and businessmen, most of them retired.
The highly popular outdoor concert series began its 27th year this year.
It was started when Haley had an idea for an outdoor ice cream concert. He purchased ice cream and cones. College faculty and staff filled the cones; the audience ate them and listened to great big band music.
The number of outdoor concerts grew from that single ice cream concert to the current four outdoor concerts per summer. Radio station WIOZ has sponsored the concerts since the beginning. The late Emerson Cole emceed the concerts until his passing earlier this year.
In the late 1990s, Haley started the Showcase Concert Series. Two to three times per year professional entertainers of all types were brought in to perform.
The Jazz Band would perform the first half of the concert and the professionals, accompanied by the band, the second half. The Showcase concerts continued for five years. The band also played at events at the Carolina Hotel, the Pinehurst Member's Club and dances throughout the area.
Today, with Rob Hill at the helm, the band continues to play big band music. Many of the charts are those played by the original Stage Band.
The band performs six regularly scheduled concerts each year - a Veteran's Day concert on Nov. 11, a Valentine's Day concert on Feb. 14, and the four outdoor concerts on the second Monday of the months of May, June, July and August.
The band also performs in the SCC Music Department's Christmas program, and continues to play for dances and events in the area.
"Rob and the band appreciate the enthusiastic support it receives," says a spokesman. "In a few years we'll all be celebrating a half-century of big band music by the SCC Jazz Band."
More like this story