Hillis @ 100: In Her Own Words

Margaret Hillis (ca. 1950)

J. Abresch

"You sing first with your ears, then your heart, mind, and voice."

"Enjoy the phrase. Don't just be obedient."

"The bar line is like children. It should be seen and not heard."

"Voices are not made for music. Music is made for voices. Serve the music!"

"If you want to give the baby a name, it's called a fugue." (Regarding the Sanctus in Verdi's Requiem)

On February 2, 1979, Margaret Hillis was interviewed for the John Callaway Interviews program on WTTW:

"Tenors, you wander around in the wilderness, and we don't have 40 days."

"Don't sing in chest voice. Angels don't have chests." (Addressing the alto section during a rehearsal for Berlioz's The Damnation of Faust)

"Sopranos, you sound like you're wearing neckties and they're too tight."

"Basses, don't swim. This is not a pool."

"Tenors, you're lying very close to the ladies' parts, if you'll pardon the expression."

Following Hillis's death in February 1998, WTTW's Artbeat Chicago dedicated an entire episode to her memory:

"Don't just sing notes. Notes are not music."

"'Piano' doesn't mean passive."

"You'll see eighth notes in that measure. When you have a chance, look up."

"Sorry to say, but, sopranos, those triplets are really constipated."

"The music is not on the page. Only the notes."

Recorded in December 1978 for WTTW, The Do-It-Yourself Messiah program was first telecast in March 1979:

A very special thanks to our friends at WTTW Chicago — Allison Schein Holmes, director of media archives and Michael McKee, media archives librarian — for the use of these videos from their collections.

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