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Former HHS band director Aaron Hilden dies

Aaron Hilden was a band conductor at Hudson High School for 10 years. His jazz ensemble took HHS musicians to a new level according to colleagues. This photo of him conducting at HHS was taken in 2006. Hilden died Sunday at his Twin Cities home. He was 37. (Hudson Star-Observer photo by Randy Hanson)

The news reached Hudson earlier this week that former Hudson High School band director Aaron Hilden died at his St. Paul home on Sunday, Oct. 26, from complications associated with Type 1 diabetes. He was 37 years old.

Hilden came to HHS in 2001 and taught for 10 years before leaving Hudson to teach electronic music at the Perpich Center for Arts Education in Golden Valley, Minn. Prior to coming to Hudson he taught with the New London school district.

According to retired Hudson Middle School band director and colleague, Carl Meinicke, Hilden was an accomplished performer and music educator. His work with the HHS jazz ensemble over the years resulted in a high level of performance according to Meinicke and he described his concert bands as very musical.

“He could also be very funny and the kids liked him. But he always knew what he wanted out of the music and he knew what to do to get that out of the kids. He was a wonderful teacher and performer.”

While at HHS, Hilden’s concert bands received high honors and participated in a variety of music festivals including the invitation-only Dixie Classic.

As an accomplished saxophone player, Hilden performed with the Minnesota Jazz Orchestra and with Maynard Ferguson, Frankie Valley and many Twin Cities area bands. In recent years he has also worked as a recording engineer and currently runs a recording studio in Burnsville, Minn.

Hilden was from River Falls where his parents still live. He received his bachelor’s degree from UW-Stevens Point and a master’s degree from UW-River Falls. He is the father of two young daughters.

A funeral service will be held on Monday, Nov. 4, at First Covenant Church, 1374 N. Main St., River Falls. Visitation will be held on Sunday, Nov. 3, from 3-7 p.m. at Bakken-Young Funeral Home, 805 E. Division St., River Falls.

Meg Heaton

Meg Heaton has been a reporter with the Hudson Star Observer since 1990. She has a bachelor’s degree in anthropology and Native American Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.

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