Bud’s obituary was simple – “Charles “Bud” Hill was born on July 12, 1929 and passed away on May 3, 2018”. No doubt somewhere along the line, Bud had told his family that he wanted nothing fussy, “just the facts, man”. However, in between the day he came into the world and the day he left, there was a whole lot of living! As a musician and educator, Bud touched hundreds of lives and inspired more young people than any of us will ever know. Although he was on staff at NTCI for just seven years during the 60s, his impact on the music program was enormous. Never short on opinions, those of us who were in his class can never forget his rants about the proper way to play a dotted eight and sixteenth, the virtues of an Alford March (as opposed to a “never-to-be-played” Sousa March), the necessity of attending TSO Student Concerts in order to pass and, of course, this reminder to any brass player, “don’t play like a girl” and to just “pick up the horn and WAIL, man!”
Even NTCI music room’s organizational system was a Bud original – his duct tape labelling system for school instruments was yellow for grade 9 instruments, gray for grade 10 and white for senior instruments. A novel system but clearly developed by Bud as it was dictated by his colour blindness. There was good reason why he drove a yellow car and most of his ties were yellow as white, black, gray and yellow were the only colours he could see.
However, there was much more to Bud! Behind the passionate and charismatic educator, there was a superbly talented composer and arranger. His iconic march written for NTCI, 17 Broadway, was praised in Kiwanis competitions, as was his captivating Chant and Dance for Solo Piano and Concert Band. As an arranger, he had an uncanny ability to score perfectly for his performers and in doing so, delighted his audiences. There was nothing as carefully and caringly written as Bud’s Maytime Melodies medleys. His arrangement of Oh Canada is still the standard at NT and for many years was used to open the annual concert of the Toronto Board of Education Secondary School Music Teachers’ Association. In later years, when playing tuba with The Band of the Royal Regiment of Canada, Bud also composed the delightful Brutish Tubadiers featuring a tuba trio!
Bud’s contribution to music education is best measured by the tributes to him. As one his former students wrote, “inside the tiger was the most gentle and caring soul” – a truly insightful description of an unforgettable teacher who was passionate, inspirational, dedicated, and fiercely patriotic.