The eighteen-member Todd Hill Orchestra has been entertaining audiences throughout the Mid-south and Midwest regions for more than thirty-five years! Shows feature the orchestra’s star soloists on swinging jazz standards, along with the piano and vocal talents of their leader. The band plays for concerts, shows and dances, varying programs to fit the occasion. With more three hundred selections at the ready, the band plays the hits of Glenn Miller, Count Basie, Tommy Dorsey, Duke Ellington, Harry James, Benny Goodman, and many, many more. Their high-energy performances and light banter results in joyous listening, tapping toes, and many return engagements.
The band’s primary saxophone soloists Ron Bramlage (tenor) and Dr. Derek Jones (lead alto and clarinet) have been with it since 1986. John Madole (drums) and Todd started playing together in 1983 while students at Murray State University. As a piano and vocal artist, Todd has performed from Beale Street to Berlin! He has backed such diverse entertainers and jazz artists as Doc Severinsen, Bob Hope, Frank Sinatra, Jr., Gary Morris, Denise LaSalle, Stella Parton, The Moody Blues, Byron Stripling, Allen Vizzutti, Chris Vadala, Jamey Aebersold, Jimmy Walker, Denis DiBlasio, Buddy Childers, Greg Abate, and Rich Matteson. In addition to multiple album appearances, he has three releases under his own name: Todd Hill and his Orchestra: Swingin’ and Singin’ Live, High Standards: The Todd Hill Quintet, The Brown-Back Hymnal, a solo piano gospel collection.
The Todd Hill Orchestra includes saxophonists Dr. Derek Jones (Murray, KY), Andy Brown (Decherd, TN), Ron Bramlage (Crescent Springs, KY), Taylor Grady (St. Louis, MO), and Andy Johnson (Mt. Vernon, IN). Trumpets are Ped Foster (Union City, TN), Gary “Bo” Clayton and Richard Steffen (Clarksville, TN), Jon Nash (Memphis, TN), and Joe Farmer (Martin, TN). Trombones are Anthony Darnall of (Hopkinsville, KY), Daniel Cupp (Lexington, KY), Dr. Todd M. French (Murray, KY) and Tony Brown (Paducah, KY). Rhythm players include guitarist Brent Webster (Murray, KY), bassist G.R. Davis (Kingston Springs, TN), and drummer John D. Madole (Nashville, TN).
Dr. Hill is Professor of Music and Director of Jazz Studies at Murray State University. He directs the award-winning MSU Jazz Orchestra, Jazz Band, Jazz Laboratory, Jazz Combos, and teaches courses graduate music education, popular music, and jazz history. He also directs MSU Town & Gown Community Band. He holds BME and MME degrees from MSU, and an EdD from Boise State University. He previously held teaching positions in Milan, TN, Northwest Mississippi Community College, Boise State University, and the University of the Cumberlands, where he served as Director of Bands before returning to his alma mater. Hill has been active as guest clinician and conductor of concert and jazz bands in Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, Illinois, Missouri, Indiana, Arkansas, Missouri, Ohio, Idaho, Washington, Montana, Oregon and Nevada. He is Chancel Choir Director at First United Methodist Church in Murray, KY.