Leonard Alan Hild
Leonard Hild, singer and conductor, has sung professionally and taught music and been an administrator in schools in both the public and the Seventh-day Adventist systems in Canada and the U.S. for over thirty years. He is presently teaching music at Orlando Junior Academy in Florida, a position he has held since 2013.
Leonard was born in and raised near Halifax, Nova Scotia, the second of three sons of Edward F., a U.S. citizen, and Marjorie Isnor Hild, a Canadian citizen. His mother was a church choir director and his father a tenor in a quartet. Music was an important activity in their home, and Leonard from the age of eight sang as both a tenor and alto in adult choirs since there were no Adventist youth choirs in the area. Leonard participated in choral groups in high school and would hitchhike fifteen miles into Halifax to sing in its symphonic choir.
He attended and graduated from Dalhousie University, a top rated Canadian school in Halifax, with a B.Mus. in vocal performance in 1978. He then traveled to Toronto, Ontario, to study for a year and a half with Bernard Diamant, a Belgian native, who was considered at that time to be one of the foremost voice teachers in Canada. While living in Toronto, Hild sang professionally as a tenor soloist and chorister, performing in operas, oratorios, and musical theater and in recitals as a singer of art song.
In 1980 he began teaching music at Crawford Adventist Academy in Toronto, where that fall he met and married Evnalen (Lynn) Frias. He would teach there and in public schools at different times during the next eighteen years.
In 1987 and 1988 the CAA senior choir competed against other SATB choirs and won first place in the Class A competition in a Kiwanis Music Festival competition. They also won second place in “open class” competition in 1988. From 1988 to 1993 he served as music coordinator for a music district in New Brunswick, Canada, and played trumpet in and on occasion directed a band in that community.
Hild completed an M.Ed. in administration in 1996 at the University of Toronto and in 1998 accepted a position at Highland View Academy in Maryland, the home state of his father. The music program at HVA expanded to include 100 members and in 2000, when the academy was chosen as the first place school honored for its overall program by the Adventist Alumni Achievement Award organization, the academy’s Highlander Choir under his direction performed at the presentation ceremonies in Palm Springs, California.
The Hilds moved to Jacksonville, Florida, in 2004. While there he ran the Jacksonville Homeschool Band Connection, a program that provided an opportunity for homeschooled children to take lessons and participate in a band. The band would on occasion play in an Episcopal church, where he was employed as a church musician/chorister.
Hild also taught music on an adjunct basis at the Jacksonville Adventist Academy, which provided a studio where he could teach private lessons. In 2006 they moved to the Portland, Oregon, area where he taught briefly in Hillsboro before the Hilds returned to Jacksonville, their home base since 2004 as Lynn travels as a consultant for longtime care.
In 2009 they traveled to Canada, where he served as principal and music teacher for one year at Peel Adventist School, part of the SDA school system in the greater Toronto region, before going to Medford, Oregon, for a year, where she again worked as a consultant. They returned to Toronto in 2011 at the request of PAS, where he was principal for another year before they returned to Jacksonville in 2012.
In his present position as a full-time music teacher at OJA, something they have not had in recent years, he provides music instruction for 280 children twice a week in classes and directs two bands and a handbell ensemble as well as a middle school choir.
In all of the schools that Hilt has served, he conducted choirs and bands and, beginning at HVA, also conducted handbell choirs. Throughout his career he has worked as a church musician, directing choirs and singing as a soloist, and has taught lessons privately. A number of his students have continued to be active in music.
Sources: Interviews, November 2013; Biography at Orlando Junior Academy website (2013); Canadian Adventist Messenger, April 1988, 9; Columbia Union Visitor, 15 October 1998, 49, and 15 March 2000, 20; Jacksonville Homeschool Band connection; Zoominfo.com.