Arriving in Dayton, Va. to attend Shenandoah College as a freshman in 1949 was a huge adjustment for Anne Hughes Hill ’54
. However, she fit right in and blossomed as her background in music and singing allowed her to shine.
“Singing was a part of my life while growing up,” said Hill. “In music, the rewards are in the pleasure one gives and receives in participating.”
Hill spent her entire childhood and early teenage years on the tiny island of Bermuda where transportation consisted of horse and buggies, bicycles and walking. Hill’s parents were Welsh and the Welsh’s love of singing was apparent in her household. She can remember the wonderful voice of her father and singing with him in either Welsh or English. They would record their “singing effort” on tapes, and Hill still has some of these old tapes. Hill’s mother died when she only eight-years-old and Hill, being the older of two children, now would sing along with her father.
“Singing was my musical heritage, but my life at Shenandoah was to be surrounded by real musicians,” Hill commented.
It was a blessing for Hill to attend Shenandoah College because even though this was her first experience in a “motorized country” the local Mennonite population and their horse and buggies helped her feel slightly more at home.
“The fact that Dayton was a small town and Shenandoah College and Conservatory was a small institution was a huge benefit to me,” Hill said.
The small school environment helped Hill make close and lasting friendships with so many people. In fact, during her senior year she married Lycurgus “Skip” Hill ‘49
and they had a beautiful daughter, Sharon. Hill explained that if it weren’t for many of her classmates who babysat for her during that last year she would never have made it.
After graduation Hill went on to spend most of her professional life as a third grade elementary school teacher in Dayton, Va. She has always continued to sing with various church choirs, Shenandoah choirs and musicals.
“My interests still involve music,” Hill said. She can still remember many of her performances including singing with the A Capella choir under Miss Louise Johnson, her junior recital accompanied by Ella Mae Draper, and her senior recital where she was accompanied by Bill Gilmer.
Today Hill sings with her choir at retirement and nursing homes, reads to the visually impaired, and enjoys her loving family. She is a proud mother of five, grandmother of seven, and great-grandmother of four.
Hill has served on the Shenandoah University Alumni Board of Directors since 2007 and enjoys staying involved with Shenandoah University.
“I always look forward to seeing friends from my college days,” Hill commented. “Friends whose memories mirror mine.”