History of The Hills Music Academy

The Hills Music Academy was formed early in 1980 to provide performance opportunities for musician residents of the shire and its surrounds. With the support of Baulkham Hills Shire Council, the band quickly grew to include young people and professional musicians. Under the direction of Mike Butcher, a well-known Australian trombone player, the band quickly established itself on the Australian Band scene.

When Mike moved to Melbourne to take up the position of the Director of Music in the Royal Australian Air Force, he appointed fellow Kneller Hall Graduate and local musician Nigel Anderton to conduct the bands. Nigel worked with the bands for several years, taking them to several championships.

Tom Cooper, officer in charge of the Air Force Band based at RAAF Richmond, followed Nigel as conductor. Many members of the Air Force Band played in the Hills Music Academy during this period.

Trombone player and conductor, Carl Hammond, then took over the reins and the band developed a less competitive focus and more of a social one. Perhaps as a result, the band has witnessed many couples coming together as well as a number of marriages. Carl was also writing and arranging music for bands at the time and The Hills Music Academy was fortunate enough to help record his demo tapes and proofread most of his works.

While Carl was conducting the bands, the current musical director, Garry Clark, showed an interest in learning to conduct and soon took on the position of apprentice conductor. In 1992, Garry took over as the Principal Conductor and was appointed Musical Director shortly after. Pauline Ainsworth was appointed to the position of Associate Conductor in 1998.

In 2000, HMA was extremely proud to be appointed "Official Ambassador of Baulkham Hills Shire" by Baulkham Hills Shire Council, in recognition for HMA's work in the community. HMA has always enjoyed the Council's support which has taken various forms over the years from providing a free venue to rehearse in, to generously providing grant money.