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Former Civic Memorial High School and Alton High School student Tanya Hill works in the motion picture industry, doing sound editing for major studio films.
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Photo by Dan Goldwasser/ScoringSessions.com
Editors work on a scoring session.
ALTON — It seems Alton can claim a few bragging rights, and you can add to that list the previous home of an award-winning music editor in the motion picture industry.
Tanya Hill is a successful music editor who lives in Burbank, Calif. She has worked on more than 70 major motion pictures, including “Iron Man 1” and “Iron Man 2,” “Elf” and “Chef.” She’s also worked with industry heavyweights, such as Barbra Streisand, Marvin Hamlisch, bassist Stanley Clarke and Jon Favreau. Favreau is the director of 2016’s “The Jungle Book,” a film on which Hill worked as music editor.
She has been nominated for six Motion Picture Sound Editor’s Golden Reels, winning one.
Born in Chicago, Tanya Hill moved to the Riverbend in the middle her freshman year of high school with her father, Noel, whom she credits for her success.
“He made sure I always believed that nothing was out of reach,” Hill said. “He was a dreamer, and made sure that I was, too.”
Along with emotional support, Hill’s father did what was within his power so his daughter could achieve her goals.
“I fell in love with one of the guitars at a local store that was way out of our price range,” Hill said. “Several weeks later, my dad asked me to get some groceries out of the trunk, and there it was. I have no idea what he had to sacrifice, but it meant the world to me.”
Hill attended Civic Memorial High School in Bethalto before transferring to Alton High School at the beginning of her sophomore year in 1988. Hill graduated from Alton High School in 1991.
While a student, Hill was a cellist in the orchestra, which undoubtedly led to her interest in guitar, which became her musical instrument of choice. Also while at AHS, Hill took classes such as music theory that contributed to her eventual success.
“The music theory course was very helpful — a small class full of people that actually wanted to be there,” Hill said. “I think several of us grouped together to be sure we had enough that wanted to take the class, so that it would meet the minimum requirement for number of students.”
Micah Brooks, a good friend of Hill’s from Alton and fellow musician, was complimentary of Hill’s talent and roots.
“Tanya has always been a creative mind at work, musically speaking, going against the grain by being able to effortlessly create and perform in an area dominated by guys,” Brooks said. “I always looked up to her as a fellow musician, and am very proud to have been her classmate after seeing her success in the music industry.”
After graduating, Hill attended Lewis and Clark Community College in Godfrey, where she took music classes. She had a particularly positive experience with faculty member Harlan Hock.
“Harlan Hock was wonderful,” she said. “I was a working student, in the music department, and learned a great deal.”
After her year at LCCC, Hill moved on to Berklee College of Music in Boston, from where she would eventually graduate with a bachelor of music in film scoring. Attending Berklee was nothing less than a dream come true.
“It was an amazing place,” she said. “It was like wonderland; musicians everywhere, with so many new influences.”
In the middle of her senior year at Berklee, Hill received a six-week internship at Segue Music in Los Angeles, her first chance to step up to the scoring stage.
“The stage was full of 100 of the most amazing players on earth,” she recalls. “I watched them read down charts they just received, and play flawlessly along to a movie projected larger than life behind them, as the composer conducted right in front of me; I was hopelessly hooked.”
As soon as she graduated from Berklee in December 1995, Hill relocated to Burbank, Calif., where she still resides. After working for six months in sound to obtain her union hours, Hill began working at Segue Music, where she first interned. Segue eventually divided into several smaller music editorial companies, including Liquid Music, where she works today.
Her career has allowed her to have some exceptional experiences. From recording the score for “Iron Man 2” at Abbey Road in London to working at the Skywalker Ranch, it has become a life that is anything but run-of-the-mill.
Outside of her career, Hill said her life also is fulfilled. Married to Ross Baron, a trial presentation consultant who is originally from Alton, the two live alongside a menagerie of pets. Hill’s main hobby is being an equestrian. She rides her horses every day before work and competes in dressage.
A local longtime friend of the couple, Ryan Grant, said Hill is a terrific representation of our area.
“She is easily one of the best musicians I personally know, and I think I’ve seen almost every movie she’s worked on,” Grant said. “If I see the movie in the theater, I’m usually the only one left there, since I stay in to watch her name roll in the credits.”
In spite of the success, Hill remains humble, and is always ready to offer advice to anyone interested in entering the field to which she has committed her life.
“Be nice, be friendly, be patient, and try to enjoy those you work with,” she said. “People want to work with people they enjoy, just as much as they want to work with someone who does a great job.”
Hill often works under the name Tanya Noel Hill. For information, visit her IMDb page.