Meet the new director of the Glenview Mariachi Band

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Original Glenview Mariachi Band Members in 2015. Photo by Tar Macias / Hola America
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Since its creation in 2015, student participation in the Glenview Mariachi Band has grown extensively. This after school music program has gained popularity among local residents of the Quad Cities and students often perform at many local events during Hispanic Heritage Month and others. After many years of teaching music, Richard Clark, the director of the Glenview Mariachi Band, has decided to retire this year. The Glenview Middle School has now hired Monike Hill to take over his position.  

Mrs. Monike Hill was born in a military family and grew up in Davenport, IA.  

“My first name is pronounced “Monique” but spelled like Monike. My father, Alberto Victor Craff Zevallos is from Lima, Peru and he spelled my name on the birth certificate,” Mrs. Hill shared a fun and interesting fact about herself.  

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She shared that music has always been a big part of her life.  

“My mom Dolores Craff is a retired music teacher and I have fond memories of my parents playing guitars and singing around the campfire. When I started college, I was going to be an ethno-musicologist because I love music from around the world,” Mrs. Hill remembered.  

She explained that after some thinking she decided against becoming ethno-musicologist and chose to be a music educator instead.  

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“I have been able to teach students to appreciate and understand other cultures, about diversity and inclusion and all other school subjects through music education,” Mrs. Hill told how her love for all kinds of music of the world helps her to be a better teacher to her students.  

“Because I am a percussionist, I have had to regularly play instruments from other countries and in fact my entire basement is full of instruments from around the world.  My favorite genres of music are Latin, Caribbean and African and Mariachi combines all of those,” she added another fun fact about herself.  

As to her education, Mrs. Hill has a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education from Western Illinois University, Master’s Degree in Instrumental Conducting and Pedagogy from Sam Houston State University. She has 20-year experience teaching elementary, middle and high school classes’ ensembles in Illinois, Michigan and Iowa.  

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“I am also the co-creator of the DCSD Steel Band program. My students were featured on television, performed throughout the Quad Cities and at the Caribbean Festival, Ya Maka My Weekend. My principal instrument is percussion but I have had to play all of the band and orchestra instruments,” Mrs. Hill said.  

Mrs. Hill is not a stranger to a stage either. She performs a lot with her steel band combo.  

“When I’m not teaching, I’m performing with my steel band combo Mystery Island, the Quad City Wind Ensemble, the Big River Brass Band, various symphony orchestras and community bands, singing/playing with St. John Vianney Catholic Church ensembles and in July 2021 I will be playing the drum set for the musical Newsies (Countryside Community Theatre) When I’m not performing, I’m attending my family’s concerts and performances,” 

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Mrs. Hill explained that she is very excited to take over the Glenview Mariachi Band and since she plays in different musical ensembles with Mr. Clark, she is good friends with him and has followed the Glenview Mariachi Band since it was launched in 2015. She also attended a few of their performances. She explained that Mr. Clark was the one that encouraged her to apply to take over his position.

Mrs. Monike Hill the new director of the Glenview Mariachi Band

  “I, Mrs. Monike Hill, am excited to be Glenview’s new Mariachi Band Director. I will also be teaching band lessons and 7/8th grade choir,” she sent a special greeting to students and parents involved or who wish to be involved in the Glenview Mariachi Band. “I am also friends with Mr. Clark so I have been a Mariachi de Glenview fan from the beginning and am very excited to meet everyone! I am a little nervous for this exciting adventure because I want to make all of you proud.”  

Mrs. Hill said that she is not planning to make any huge changes to the program. She plans on continuing bringing the Glenview Mariachi Band to local events as it was done in the past years. More than anything Mrs. Hill wanted to send a special message to the Glenview Middle School students before the school year starts.  

“This past school year was difficult and I know that many of you dropped out of the Mariachi Bands.  Last year is over and it is time for you to come back!  I want every single one of you to re-join the band and bring a new friend.  Congratulations to those of you who stuck it out and I am so proud of you for your perseverance.  As soon as I have access to your phone numbers, I will be contacting all of you.  I cannot wait to meet all of you!  If you would like to contact me first, you can email me at my personal email address [email protected] or send me a message on the Glenview Mariachi Band facebook page,” Mrs. Hill sent out her special message to students.  

The new school year is approaching fast. Hopefully, this year the music will sound again in the halls and music rooms of Glenview Middle School. Hopefully, this year Quad Cities residents can again enjoy the mariachi music by their now beloved local Glenview Mariachi Band. A warm welcome to Mrs. Monike Hill, the new director of the Glenview Mariachi Band.  

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