Northeast District ACE Award

Dave Hill

Nominated by:  Bret Amundson and Richard Robbins

Presented by: Adam Giebner

Our Northeast Ace Award Winner is Dave Hill, an inventor, recording engineer, and a strong support to our Twin Ports choral scene. Dave was nominated by Dr. Bret Amundson of the College of Saint Scholastica and Dr. Richard Robbins from the University of Minnesota-Duluth. After hearing of this nomination for Dave, it occurred to me that I should have nominated him years ago!

Dave has recorded hundreds of choir concerts for Duluth East High School, the College of Saint Scholastica, the Lake Superior Youth Chorus, and the Twin Ports Choral project over the last 25 years. His business, Inland Sea Recording and Crane Song is located in Superior, Wisconsin, and specializes not only in recording, but also in developing world class recording equipment and digital recording products.

When I asked Dave what it was that made him interested in recording choirs, he told me that he wanted to help choirs be able to appreciate their art and for singers to have access to their performance product. Back in the late 90’s, Brandon Johnson had told Dave that Duluth East Choirs were selling their recordings on cassette tapes for an expensive price and he wanted to help make it more affordable for students and parents. So he came and charged a very small fee for his service and made CDs for a very affordable price. Throughout the years he has honed his craft, created new recording equipment that he uses at our concerts, and now is able to provide an even greater quality digital recording. In his words, “I enjoy the challenge to make things sound even better”.  All the while, Dave has not raised his recording fee in 25 years, and for the amazing product he is able to create, we are incredibly grateful. However, the fee, he admits, is “something we need to talk about!”

Dave is a perfectionist and spends countless hours on the concerts he performs. He describes himself as a listener; a listener not only of the recorded work, but also the choral directors he works with. Whether it be the young sound of the Duluth East Ninth Grade boys or the robust refinement of the Twin Ports Choral Project, each offers its own set of challenges. Dave tells me that he works with the conductor to create recordings that they are looking for and shapes his work accordingly.

An incredibly brilliant man, Dave is very humble, despite being recognized around the world, working with artists including the great Stevie Wonder. He was honored by the National Association of Music Merchants Hall of Fame for the development of a software component in the ProTools Computer Application.

Yet despite his amazing feats, Dave can be found regularly recording choir concerts around the Duluth/Superior area- not necessarily for the money, rather for the challenge to make choirs sound even better. He admits that recording choral singing is very challenging. “Rock is easy to record,” he admits, “but choral music is much more difficult because of all the nuances.”

Dave, we thank you for all of your fantastic work over the years, and appreciate all that you have done to be an Advocate for Choral Excellence. It is my pleasure to present this year’s Northeast District ACE Award to Dave Hill!