BILL & SUE-ON HILLMAN: A MUSICAL ODYSSEY
THE '80s DECADE: SCRAPBOOK I
ENTERTAINERS OF THE YEAR
and other awards
|High school teachers Bill and Sue-On Hillman
of Strathclair have an award winning hobby.
They are this year's winners of the Manitoba Entertainer-of-the-Year Award for country music.
In an interview at their farmhouse homestead, the Hillmans said the award is an honor despite the fact it came in the middle of parent-teacher interviews.
"Winning gives you the recognition and a bit of reassurance of what you're doing," said Bill Hillman. "You get different kinds of rewards, from having successful singles and doing tours of state and county fairs."
The Hillman Express has toured Western Canada, the United States and they visit northeast England regularly.
"With the reception we got last summer in English clubs with our foot-stompin' numbers, they must have thought Strathclair was Canada's capital. We were the wild west. One day we were playing in sunny England and the next day in a rainstorm at the Rossburn Indian reserve.
Their eighth and ninth albums are to be released this
summer. The group's last album was recorded between drug raids, "in a ghost
studio somewhere underneath London - the same one used by the Sex Pistols."
|The Hillmans practice during the winter, performing
at dances and weddings when time permits in their busy schedule teaching
English, geography and drama and caring for two-year-old Ja-On, a dog,
and a cat.
Most rehearsing and composing is done in their Maple Grove Productions basement studio, where Bill keeps his collection of some 5,000 radio show tapes from the 1930s and 40s. His record collection covers a wide range from jazz and the Beatles, to new wave.
I appreciate all kinds of music. People who love this or hate that really cut themselves off."
Sue-On, born in southern China, lived for years at Newdale, where she became involved in choir and completed seven years of classical training on piano.
"Sue-On is more into interpreting music than writing it, so she's a good sounding board for me," said Bill.
Kevin Pahl, former student of the Hillmans is keyboard artist for the Express, and a commercial pilot "crop duster" who flies the group to some of the distant engagements.
Bill said living in a rural area prevents them from mixing often with other musicians but Strathclair is definitely home: "I enjoy teaching too much to go into a full-time singing career. My grandfather built this house and homesteaded the land 60 years ago and I've lived here all my life (37 years). We plan to stay.
|HILLMANS WIN MANITOBA COUNTRY AWARD
Dining Out Column by Garnet T. Page
The Calgary Herald ~ Thurs. Mar. 20, 1980
WINNIPEG (CP) - Bill and Sue-On Hillman of Strathclair, Man., have won the entertainer-of-the-year award at the fourth annual Manitoba Country Awards.
The Hillmans were chosen over previous winner Ray St. Germain and another nominee, Smokey Furlin.
St. German picked up the award for top recording artist of the year. Furlin was given the Golden Music award for his achievements and dedication to country music in Manitoba. Other honors went to Ronny Halldorson for instrumentalist of the year, Rhonda Hart for top female vocalist and Harvey Henry for top male vocalist.
Congratulations. It's nice to see someone from the old band making good ~ Murry Bateman. p.s. Look us up if you're out this way.
Nominees for Entertainers of the Year:
Ray St. Germaine
Bill & Sue-On Hillman
Winners: Bill & Sue-On Hillman
This was the first of numerous future MACA nominations and appearances on their annual gala awards show.
In the mid-'80s Bill also served on the MACA Board of Directors.
Dear Bill and Sue-On:
Congratulations! You have been nominated for the 1979 Manitoba's Annual Country Awards.
This year the function will be held at the North Star Inn Galaxy Ball Room on Sunday March 16th, 1980 at 6:00 P.M.
All nominees are invited t attend the press conference at the WestBrook Inn Saloon Room on Wednesday, March 5th, 1980 at 2:00 P.M. at this time the three finalists for each category will be announced.
[Entertainers of the Year: Bill & Sue-On
Hillman ~ Len Henry ~ Ray St. Germain
|JOHNNY MURPHY'S COUNTRY MUSIC COLUMN
Winnipeg Free Press, Saturday, March 15, 1980
Tomorrow will be a busy day for country music fans in this area. A country concert is scheduled for Portage la Prairie at 2 p.m. Produced by CFRY Radio's John Aune, the show in the P.C.I. auditorium will star Len Henry and his band, Cahoots, Stew Clayton, and Bill and Sue-On Hillman. Proceeds will go to the Portage fire-fighters burn fund and the Country Music Week organization committee.
The Northstar Inn will be the scene tomorrow evening of the fourth edition of the Manitoba Annual Country Awards. Manitoba-based performers will be honored in seven categories. Among the nominated are Art Young, Reg Bouvette, Ray St. Germain, Wayne Fehr, Dale Russell, Sue-On Hillman, Sheila Dawn, Rhonda Hart, Harvey Henry, Country Tigers and Bill & Sue-On Hillman.
||HILLMANS GET TOP NOD
Johnny Murphy's Country Music Column
Winnipeg Free Press, Saturday, March 22, 1980
The Manitoba Annual Country Awards acquired a new impact with this fourth edition moving into more ceremonial surroundings and attracting the elite of this province's performers and those associated with country music in Manitoba.
Entertainer(s) of the year was the outstanding husband-and-wife duo, Bill and Sue-On Hillman.
The winners are determined by a committee of judges comprised of individuals active in all phases of country music and related businesses. Top male vocalist award was presented to Harvey Henry, top female vocalist was won by Rhonda Hart. For the second year in a row the recording artist award went to Ray St. Germaine. Repeat winners for the third year as most popular country band was Red Wine. The Country Tigers were named top country band. Instrumentalist recognition went to Ron Halldorson, while Smokey Ferlin was saluted with the Golden Music Award. Tony Sianchuk, founder of the MACA, was recognized for his outstanding contributions to country music in Manitoba.
MANITOBA'S BILL AND SUE-ON HILLMAN
AND KEVIN PAHL
Strathclair & District Review ~ Thursday ~ March
The year was highlighted by winning the M.A.C.A. (Manitoba's Annual Country Awards) Trophy for Top Entertainers of the Year. In addition to this Sue-On was runner-up for Top Female Vocalist of the Year. The awards were presented at the Country Awards night in Winnipeg's North Star Inn on March 16, 1980.
Sunday, March 29th, 1981
|CHMM Country Stereo 97
March 25, 1981
Dear Bill and Sue-On:
Just a short note to congratulate you on being nominated for Entertainer
of the Year at this year's MACA Awards.
The quality of Manitoba talent has shown a steady improvement over the past many years and we believe that this year's group of finalists are the best ever.
Once again, good luck and best wishes.
The 2010 Shakin All Over Exhibit honouring Manitoba musicians at the Manitoba Museum in Winnipeg.
Bill and Sue-On pose with two of their albums and a MACA Awards trophy
Bill and Sue-On
Behind Album No. 6 (1976) and CD 10 (1997)
Including the mural featuring our 1974 Montana promo photo
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BILL and SUE-ON HILLMAN ECLECTIC STUDIO