Hill re­turns to South­ern Mary­land to sing a cap­pella

Maryland Independent - - News - By JESSE YEATMAN jyeat­man@somd­news.com

Monty Hill pur­sued his ca­reer dream, and made it.

The na­tive St. Mary’s County man will be re­turn­ing home this week­end to per­form with his a cap­pella group, some­thing he still can’t be­lieve he is ac­tu­ally do­ing.

“I live in Bos­ton now and I’m with an a cap­pella group, which is my full-time job,” Hill said. “I con­sider my­self truly blessed.”

The group, called Ball in the House, will be hold­ing a work­shop at St. Charles High School in Wal­dorf dur­ing the day on Fri­day, April 15, be­fore stu­dents get a chance to sing with the five-man group that af­ter­noon. Then, at 7 p.m. on Fri­day evening, Ball in the House will per­form a pub­lic con­cert at the school. The cost is $15 per ticket, or $10 if pur­chased in ad­vance by email­ing SCHSper­for­mancetix@gmail.com.

“It’s very cool that I get to go back to the South­ern Mary­land area,” Hill said.

Hill grew up in Chap­tico and grad­u­ated from Chop­ti­con High School in 1997. He then earned de­grees in music per­for­mance and in ed­u­ca­tion from Mor­gan State Univer­sity in 2003.

Af­ter col­lege he re­turned to St. Mary’s, where he was a sub­sti­tute teacher for about a year be­fore be­ing hired as the choir and pi­ano teacher at Great Mills High School.

Grow­ing up and as a young teacher, Hill said he was known for his friendly at­ti­tude in school and on lo­cal stages.

“I try to get along with every­body, and find the pos­i­tives in ev­ery­thing,” he said.

Hill is hop­ing to book work­shops and a con­cert in St. Mary’s some­time soon. He wants to give back to the com­mu­nity that he was raised in, a com­mu­nity that he said sup­ports the arts.

Since he left St. Mary’s County, a vis­ual and per­form­ing arts academy was cre­ated at Chop­ti­con High School that draws stu­dents from through­out the county for a fo­cus in the­ater, music and vis­ual art. Also, Leonard­town was named an arts and en­ter­tain­ment dis­trict by the state.

Hill re­called two of his for­mer teach­ers — Patty Kuzmick at Chop­ti­con and Anita Ge­orge at Leonard­town Mid­dle School — who in­spired his own love of music.

Af­ter a few years teach­ing in St. Mary’s, the draw of the stage was strong, so Hill moved to Wash­ing­ton, D.C., to pur­sue an act­ing ca­reer.

It was while teach­ing and work­ing in com­mu­nity the­aters in the Dis­trict that he caught a per­for­mance by the Ball in the House. A short time later, he saw the male a capella group was hold­ing au­di­tions for a new mem­ber, and he gave it a shot.

Next thing he knew he was mov­ing to Bos­ton for a new, pay­ing gig.

“I au­di­tioned, and here I am,” he said in an in­ter­view last week. “I con­sider my­self ... lucky to do this full time,” he said.

The name Ball in the House, Hill said, comes from an episode of “The Brady Bunch” when the boys break a vase while play­ing ball in the house, de­spite warn­ings from their step­mother. The group sings just about any­thing, usu­ally fo­cus­ing on R&B, pop and soul music that ranges from clas­sic Mo­town to con­tem­po­rary hits.

Hill said that he now trav­els around the coun­try singing, and has re­cently been to Ari­zona, San Diego, In­di­ana and up­state New York. The group is booked for a two-week tour of China later this sum­mer, he said.

Hill said he hopes many of his old friends and col­leagues will come out to see the show this Fri­day.

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