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VMI Pipe Band Plays at Nashville Funeral of School Shooting Victim

Students part of the pipe band at VMI, a military school in Virginia

Members of the VMI pipe band prepare for the funeral of Mike Hill in Nashville, Tennessee. -Photo courtesy of Adam Gild ’24.

LEXINGTON, Va. April 17, 2023 — Members of the Virginia Military Institute pipe band played at the funeral of Mike Hill, the 61-year-old custodian at the Covenant School and Covenant Presbyterian Church, April 4 at Stephens Valley Church in West Nashville, Tennessee.  

Hill was one of six victims of the mass shooting at the school March 27.  

Adam Gild ’24, a cadet from Nashville, plays the snare drum in the pipe band, and will be the drum major for the next academic year. Gild attended elementary and high school down the street from the Covenant School, where many of his friends attended. As soon as Gild heard about the school shootings, he contacted his friends in the tight-knit community to offer the music of the pipe band for any of the memorial services of the victims. The pastor and his wife of Stephens Valley Church are friends of the Gild family, and they responded immediately to the offer, confirming that Hill’s family would like the pipe band to play at his funeral.  

Under the direction of Maj. Brian Donaldson, the pipe band played “Amazing Grace” as the procession followed Hill’s casket out of the church at the conclusion of the service. According to Gild, nearly 2,000 people were in attendance, and the band kept playing until everyone exited. “Mr. Hill was a role model for children, not just at Covenant, but for the entire community. There were numerous young families at the service paying their respects. So many people told us they had never heard a pipe band before. They were clearly emotionally stirred, and many shed tears and thanked us for performing. It was deeply moving, and very gratifying to us to be able to provide our talents in this way,” said Gild.  

Marianne Hause
Communications & Marketing
VIRGINIA MILITARY INSTITUTE 

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