So Long, Tom Hill, May the Lord Bless You and Keep You

Thomas F. Hill was one of the most influential educators in the history of Westlake Schools.

Westlake High School band director Tom Hill joined the Homecoming festivities in 2017.

As the district’s longtime music director, Mr. Hill touched countless lives. He served as band director, choir director and head of every music program in the district at one time or another during his distinguished career.

Mr. Hill, 93, passed away Dec. 30. The life-long Bay Village native was a resident at Independence Village Avon Lake.

Mr. Hill was known for his commitment to student excellence through his application of music studies. He would encourage band members to focus on “embouchure” and “diaphragm” and choir members to concentrate on correct vowel sounds as they pursued the elusive excellence of the musical arts.

Many musicians would stand before his oscilloscope with their instruments, hunting for perfect pitch. Students thought they were learning music when, in reality, Mr. Hill was giving life lessons on how to become your best self through attention to detail, commitment to goals and the pursuit of excellence.

Early in his career, Mr. Hill was the district’s lone music teacher. He travelled to Dover, Hilliard, Lee Burneson and Westlake High on his regular teaching rounds.

Mr. Hill founded the famed Westlake Schools spring music festival, Music a la Mode. He also wrote the school fight song, “Stand Up and Cheer,” modelling it after the Ohio University song of the same name. He was also Director Emertius of the Bay Village Community Band.

As choir director, Mr. Hill would conclude his programs by inviting alumni to the stage for the performance of “May the Lord Bless You and Keep You.”

Today, many of Mr. Hill’s former students again share those words in his memory as Westlake says farewell to one of its most distinguished educators.

Mr. Hill’s obituary may be found here:

Mr. Hill was a regular on the sidelines at Westlake football games just a few years ago: Tom Hill: Westlake Legend Still Beloved by Demon Faithful

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