Three generations of Hills compete at Georgetown
In a country whose substantial piping and drumming history started only with the Great War, four generations of top-level pipers and drummers in a single family are rare, and three generations competing together in the same band had probably never happened until the June 9, 2007, Georgetown Highland Games when the Hill family took the field with the Windsor Police Grade 4 band.
Piper Alistair Hill, father of drummer Steven Hill and piper Colin Hill, and young drummer Malcolm Hill, Steven’s son, all made history as some sixty years of Ontario family piping and drumming were represented. And, if one counts the fact that Colin Hill was playing his grandfather Roland Hill’s pipes, the span reached four generations. Pipe-Major Roland “Ronnie” Hill was Pipe-Major of the 4th Battalion Seaforth Highlanders was “brought out” to Canada in the 1950s to become Pipe-Major of the 4th Battalion Canadian Guards of Ipperwash, Ontario.
When the 4th Battalion disbanded Ronnie Hill became Command Inspector of Pipe Bands for Ontario, where one of his responsibilities was the trade testing of pipers and drummers in the various active pipe bands in Ontario. Hill coordinated the Massed Band Concerts at the Canadian National Exhibition in the 1960s, responsible for the music and coordination of militia pipe bands for those concerts. He was originally from Invergordon, Scotland, and died in 1976. His widow, Dorothy, lives in Brixham, England. Roland Hill’s son, Alistair, is a well known figure on the Ontario circuit, and has served as President of the Windsor/Detroit branch of the Pipers & Pipe Band Society of Ontario.
Alistair’s sons, Colin and Steven, both serve on the PPBSO’s adjudicators’ panel. Malcolm Hill and his cousin, Andrew, who is a piper with the Windsor Police’s Grade 4 band, carry on the Hill tradition. Robert Hill is another son of Roland Hill who lives in Greenhithe, Kent, along with his eight-year-old grandson, Roland. The senior Roland Hill was the brother of Bob Hill, a well known piper in England who was immortalized in the reel, “Bob Hill’s Ceilidh,” by David Ross, published in John MacFadyen’s first Bagpipe Musiccollection of the 1960s. Bob Hill was also the father of Catriona Hill, a well known piper now living in the eastern United States.