Dr. Victor G. Hildner




Victor Hildner began his musical career as an organist in his father's church in St. Clair, Michigan. His college experiences took him first to Valparaiso University, then to the Detroit Institute of Musical Art and finally to the University of Michigan. Here he completed the B.Mus. in music education and the M.Mus. in organ under Palmer Christian. Additional studies were taken in organ with Marcel Dupre and further studies in musicology followed at the Eastman School of Music.

In 1994, he was awarded the degree Doctor of Music ( Mus.D.), honoris causa, by Concordia College, Bronxville, N.Y., Dr. Ralph C. Schultz, president.

Dr. Hildner's teaching career began at Trinity Lutheran Church, St. Jospeh, Michigan. In 1944 he joined the faculty of then Concordia Teachers College, now Concordia University, River Forest, Illinois., where he enjoyed a long and distinguished career as educator and conductor of the Concordia Teachers College A Cappella Choir.

It was during these years that he became a member of the editorial committee and served as a writer and composer for the Concordia Music Education Series. The series provided an individual book for each grade with accompanying teacher's manual, and nine LPs designed to help teach the series. Planning of the series began in 1951; the final book was published in 1971.

From 1968 to 1994 Dr. Hildner conducted the Symphony of Oak Park and River Forest Chorus. Led by Symphony conductor Perry Crafton, the Chorus enjoyed many memorable performances which included Brahm's "Requiem," the Verdi "Requiem," "Sea Symphony" by Ralph Vaughn Williams, Beethoven's "Symphony No. 9" and others.

Victor Hildner was also one of Chicagoland's early music leaders in presenting informed Baroque performances with the Chicago Baroque Ensemble. During its time of activity the Ensemble introduced the works of over 75 different Baroque composers to Chicago audience.

He was also very active in the local community, serving as the director of the Oak Park Concert Chorale from 1981 through 2001.

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Tributes to Victor Hilder from the Guest Book at

With the death of Victor Hildner, an era has ended. He was the last of the A Cappella pioneers I am sure you know how much I respected his knowledge -- he is the man who taught me how to sing with good vocal technique He pointed me in the direction of Kodaly Music Education... and he taught me how to conduct. Victor really taught me to be and think like a musician. Because he was teacher, mentor, friend, and even like a father figure, a part of me dies with him... but he also lives on ... After the twentieth anniversary concert of OPCC, Vic observed that whenever he watches me conduct -- that he sees himself, because we share many of the same gestures. He said that he will always be there when I conduct because it is as if he himself were conducting; and he will live on in the sound of Oak Park Concert Chorale as we continue to strive for excellence. Whenever we are inspired by the sublime beauty of A Cappella singing we will think of Vic.

So today, we raise our cups to you, Victor, and join in the enthusiastic 'Avanti' and say thank you for the many musical gifts which you gave us.

Paul Lindblad (Des Plaines, IL) September 15, 2001

Bob and I looked forward to Vic's enthusiastic direction of the chorus at the annual Oak Park Early Music Festival. Our prayers to his family and friends.

Lois & Bob Scorgie (Eau Claire, WI) August 24, 2001

Vic's enthusiasm was contagious. His musicianship was inspiring. And, his personality was warm and engaging. These traits were a guarantee to a good performance under his direction. Ron and I had the pleasure of benefiting from his musical direction many times at the Oak Park Recorder Festival held in Milton & Whitewater, Wisconsin and then at a Baroque festival in Chicago as guest cornettists. The experience still remains one of the most satisfying a nd enjoyable musical events we've experienced as cornetto players. Thanks Vic. We will miss you.

Karen Snowberg and Ron Nelson

Karen Snowberg (Pleasantville, NY) August 24, 2001

Professor Hildner was perhaps the first person to get me excited about TEACHING music and about the dramatic possibilities of the human voice. Peace and blessings to those who are celebrating his homegoing.

David Christian (St. Louis, MO) August 23, 2001

My first year in college I had the wonderful opportunity of great learning under the direction of Vic. He is also responsible for my second teaching position at which I am still serving as Minister of Music. We had the privilege of his OPPC choir at Holy Cross some years ago, and was looking forward to them being here again April 21. Now we look forward to the OPPC singing in concert that day as a memorial to him. Looking forward to singing with him in the heavenly mansions.

John Mueller (Ft. Wayne, IN) August 18, 2001

I have many fond memories of my years singing with Vic in the Oak Park Symphony Chorus and close association during my years as choir manager and with the Early Music Festival. I learned much about music from Vic and consider myself privileged to have had the opportunity to tap into his vast knowledge, experience and wonderful stories. I extend my prayers and condolences to his family, friends and associates.

Carol Stanger (Darien, IL) August 17, 2001

You were loved by many and will be missed by many more. You are now at peace, singing with the Angels with Ag at your side.

Lynn Wittenberg (Oak Park, IL) August 17, 2001

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Pictures of Vic

Dr. Victor Hildner Vic's Birthday April 2000
Vic with Paul Lindblad Choristers and members of OPCC November, 1997 Vic enjoying the OPCC 20th Anniversary Reception April, 2001

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