Interview with Deb Heiney, August 9, 2018

Dublin Core

Title

Interview with Deb Heiney, August 9, 2018

Subject

Bands (Music)
Allentown Band

Description

Deb Heiney discusses her early history playing a saxophone as a child and in Parkland school district playing the bassoon, teaching music in school, and playing with the Allentown Band as a member and business manager. She also discusses the specifics of the Allentown Band's youth outreach programs and the recent evolutions of the Band in composition and programming.

Date

2018-08-09

Format

video

Identifier

AB-03

Oral History Item Type Metadata

Interviewer

Kate Ranieri
Susan Falciani Maldonado
Anthony Dalton

Interviewee

Deb Heiney

Duration

00:31:50

OHMS Object Text

5.4 August 9, 2018 Interview with Deb Heiney, August 9, 2018 AB-03 00:31:50 Allentown Band Allentown Band Oral History Collection Muhlenberg College: Trexler Library Oral History Repository This oral history recording was supported by a grant from the Lehigh Valley Engaged Humanities Consortium (LVEHC). Bands (Music) Allentown Band youth outreach Side-by-Side concerts music education bass clarinet bassoon Deb Heiney Ranieri, Kate Falciani Maldonado, Susan Dalton, Tony video/mov HeineyDeb_20180809_video.mov 1:|15(14)|27(10)|42(1)|53(8)|64(8)|77(13)|90(3)|102(8)|115(6)|128(2)|139(1)|149(11)|161(8)|172(5)|183(6)|195(13)|208(1)|219(5)|232(1)|243(15)|258(2)|276(2)|289(8)|301(14)|317(12)|333(5)|345(12)|361(3)|378(3)|396(2)|411(5) 0 YouTube video &lt ; iframe src=&quot ; https://www.youtube.com/embed/rdVLvrUYunI?rel=0&quot ; width=&quot ; 560&quot ; height=&quot ; 315&quot ; frameborder=&quot ; 0&quot ; &gt ; &lt ; /iframe&gt ; 11 Interview Introduction KATE RANIERI: My name is Kate Ranieri. I’m here at Wenner Hall in Allentown, Pennsylvania, interviewing one of the Allentown band members. I’m going to ask her if she could say her full name and her date of birth. DEB HEINEY: My name is Deb Heiney. And my birthday is May 18. And you want the year? KR: So we’d like to hear your story about your involvement with the band. If we have your permission, we will move forward. 53 Early interests in music / choosing an instrument to play KR: All right, very good. So the first thing I want to ask you, or actually say, is thank you very much for letting us do this. We really do appreciate it. So first thing we want to talk about is how you got into music in general. Like, when did you start playing an instrument? What interested you? And then eventually move into the band. So I’ll just let you run with it. DH: OK. I went through the Parkland district school system. And one of my older sisters played clarinet in the band. And I always watched her practice and thought it was pretty neat, what she was doing. And so I, at the demonstration in elementary school, I decided, well, I wanted to play the saxophone. Bassoon ; Clarinet ; community bands ; Lehigh Valley ; music education ; Pioneer Band ; Saxophone 168 Joining the Allentown Band DH: And then I came over to the Allentown band. And I’ve been with the Allentown band since 1991. KR: Playing bassoon? DH: I started playing bassoon with the Allentown band, but also doubled and subbed on bari sax, tenor sax, percussion, bass clarinet. And now, I’m pretty much playing bass clarinet for all of the jobs. Allentown Band ; baritone saxophone ; bass clarinet ; bassoon ; percussion ; tenor saxophone 192 How the Allentown Band has evolved KR: So tell me about how the band has evolved in the last 50 years, if you can, like, 50 years ago. So anywhere you want to start. DH: Well, let’s see. I haven’t quite been in this area in music for 50 years. But I can see knowing about the history of the band. There’s just a very big tradition of excellence with the Allentown band. We do a lot of concerts locally, free for most of the audiences, some that are ticket-priced concerts. 231 Youth outreach programs We also have an outreach program that we do, which that is something that’s really come along just since Ron Demkee’s been the conductor. We started in the mid-nineties with our youth concerts, where we invite schools from basically third grade through eighth grade, students from the Lehigh Valley and surrounding areas. And we do two concerts at Allentown Miller Symphony Hall. And it’s free for all of the students. Lehigh Valley ; Miller Symphony Hall ; music education ; youth concerts ; youth outreach 294 Youth response to outreach programs I love working with those kids in that way. And we get responses usually from the kids in the form of pictures that the teacher asked them to draw something that they found interesting at the concert. And we get a lot of great responses from the kids about how they loved “The Stars and Stripes Forever,” or they loved hearing, seeing an oboe for the first time. They didn’t know what an oboe was. Lehigh Valley ; music education ; percussion ; tuba ; youth concerts ; youth outreach 372 Side-by-Side concerts We also do a side-by-side concert for ninth through twelfth grade students. And that’s for students to come in and play alongside the Allentown band members. And that we started somewhere, I believe, around 2005. And I coordinate all of the students that apply for that through high school. We sent out information about the concerts. American concert band ; Meij, Johan de, 1953- ; music education ; Side-by-Side concerts ; Sousa, John Philip, 1854-1932 ; West Park ; youth concerts ; youth outreach 584 Demographics of students involved in youth outreach programs KR: When you’re talking about the students who come into these educational programs, what would you say is, can you give me a sense of who’s in the band? Is it all white students? Or Puerto Rican, or African American? Or do we have a diverse male-female? DH: For the side-by-side, the high school, when they’re playing with us? Yeah, it’s a variety of ethnicity and levels of students. We have students that come from all of the local high schools, some of the schools in Schuylkill County, in Northampton, Lehigh, Berks, Carbon, Monroe. Lehigh Valley ; Meij, Johan de, 1953- ; youth outreach 749 Demographics of the Allentown Band KR: Talk about the make-up, since we’re talking about issues of demographics, about your band members, in terms of age, from who’s the youngest to the oldest, the make-up in terms of ethnic, racial, gender. DH: Sure. Well, I think our oldest person is 90. I’m not sure when he’s going to be 91, but he’s 90. And I think the youngest person we have is a person who just graduated from high school in June of 2018. He’s in his freshman year of college. 954 The future and evolution of the Allentown Band KR: As you think about the future for the band, what are your prognostications, if you will? What do you think the band, is going to happen to it? How’s it going to grow or not, or change? DH: Well, one of the things that we have been concerned about is the idea of concert band music that has, some places, it has a large audience. Some places, it has a small audience of people who enjoy that type of music. We are trying to make sure that our community knows about us. Carnegie Hall (New York, N.Y.) ; community bands ; community outreach ; John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts (U.S.) ; Lehigh Valley ; West Park ; Williams, John, 1932- 1323 Planning the Allentown Band educational programs KR: Absolutely. Just when you’re talking about the education program, you’ve got it down. You’ve got lesson plans, all of it. That doesn’t leave you at all, does it? DH: No. No, it doesn’t. And one of the things that I like to do, there are a lot of symphonies that, over the years, have developed youth programs. And so I’ve gone and looked at a lot of their educational services and what kind of product they put out. Meij, Johan de, 1953- ; Side-by-Side concerts ; youth concerts ; youth outreach 1819 Harpists / Silent film accompaniment KR: And the woman who was playing the harp when Johan was, (inaudible). Come on. DH: She’s another one that’s excellent, an excellent harp player. The harp player that, in fact, Dorothy Knauss, the lady that was with the band for 69 years, she was Andrea’s teacher at one point. And Dorothy, she played, yesterday on TCM was a silent movie day. harp ; Romberg, Sigmund, 1887-1951 ; silent films MovingImage Deb Heiney discusses her early history playing a saxophone as a child and in Parkland school district playing the bassoon, teaching music in school, and playing with the Allentown Band as a member and business manager. She also discusses the specifics of the Allentown Band's youth outreach programs and the recent evolutions of the Band in composition and programming. TONY DALTON: And we should be good. We&#039 ; re good. Whenever you&#039 ; re ready. KATE RANIERI: My name is Kate Ranieri. I&#039 ; m here at Wenner Hall in Allentown, Pennsylvania, interviewing one of the Allentown band members. I&#039 ; m going to ask her if she could say her full name and her date of birth. DEB HEINEY: My name is Deb Heiney. And my birthday is May 18. And you want the year? KR: So we&#039 ; d like to hear your story about your involvement with the band. If we have your permission, we will move forward. DH: OK. KR: All right, very good. So the first thing I want to ask you, or actually say, is thank you very much for letting us do this. We really do appreciate it. So first thing we want to talk about is how you got into music in general. Like, when did you start playing an instrument? What interested you? And then eventually move into the band. So I&#039 ; ll just let you run with it. DH: OK. I went through the Parkland district school system. And one of my older sisters played clarinet in the band. And I always watched her practice and thought it was pretty neat, what she was doing. And so I, at the demonstration in elementary school, I decided, well, I wanted to play the saxophone. So my parents bought a saxophone, and we were off. When I got to junior high school, I also became interested in playing the bassoon. And my middle school or junior high band director was just a wonderful person who everybody just loved playing for him and wanted to do their very best. And so I learned to play the bassoon and started taking private lessons and played that through high school. And then majored in that in music education, with bassoon as my major in college. I went to Mansfield, at the time called Mansfield State College. Now, it&#039 ; s Mansfield University. So that was pretty much the beginning of the time that I started with music. When I graduated from Mansfield, I came back to this area and was looking for teaching jobs. And became interested in playing on the side. So I played at Moravian College for the orchestra, Muhlenberg College for their wind ensemble, and then also joined one of the community bands here in Allentown. I started with the Pioneer Band, was with them for about 11 years. And then I came over to the Allentown band. And I&#039 ; ve been with the Allentown band since 1991. KR: Playing bassoon? DH: I started playing bassoon with the Allentown band, but also doubled and subbed on bari sax, tenor sax, percussion, bass clarinet. And now, I&#039 ; m pretty much playing bass clarinet for all of the jobs. KR: So tell me about how the band has evolved in the last 50 years, if you can, like, 50 years ago. So anywhere you want to start. DH: Well, let&#039 ; s see. I haven&#039 ; t quite been in this area in music for 50 years. But I can see knowing about the history of the band. There&#039 ; s just a very big tradition of excellence with the Allentown band. We do a lot of concerts locally, free for most of the audiences, some that are ticket-priced concerts. We also have an outreach program that we do, which that is something that&#039 ; s really come along just since Ron Demkee&#039 ; s been the conductor. We started in the mid-nineties with our youth concerts, where we invite schools from basically third grade through eighth grade, students from the Lehigh Valley and surrounding areas. And we do two concerts at Allentown Miller Symphony Hall. And it&#039 ; s free for all of the students. They just have to transport the students to the facility. And we do a concert where Ron interacts with the students, asking questions, getting the answers from the kids. Sometimes, we have some of them come up on stage and play some percussion instruments, depending on the piece. What I do, as the education outreach coordinator, I write the lesson plans that are distributed to the schools, to the teachers, so that they can help the students know what&#039 ; s going to happen at the concert. I love working with those kids in that way. And we get responses usually from the kids in the form of pictures that the teacher asked them to draw something that they found interesting at the concert. And we get a lot of great responses from the kids about how they loved &quot ; The Stars and Stripes Forever,&quot ; or they loved hearing, seeing an oboe for the first time. They didn&#039 ; t know what an oboe was. Or when they get to come up on a stage and play something, they find it interesting. Sometimes, we&#039 ; ve had some of the ballet dancers from the Lehigh Valley. We did &quot ; Peter and the Wolf,&quot ; and they did some ballet sections of that. We&#039 ; ve had some choruses, student choruses from the Lehigh Valley. We&#039 ; ve had some guest soloists. The kids all fall in love with whatever instrument that&#039 ; s being played. They want to become that person, playing that instrument in the future. So that helps to keep the interest high for students in music, but also get some of the students who have never seen an instrument like the oboe or the big-stringed bass or the tuba. They don&#039 ; t know what a tuba is, or the different percussion instruments. So they get to see some of that. And that stirs their interest and helps to create more interest for them for participating in music. We also do a side-by-side concert for ninth through twelfth grade students. And that&#039 ; s for students to come in and play alongside the Allentown band members. And that we started somewhere, I believe, around 2005. And I coordinate all of the students that apply for that through high school. We sent out information about the concerts. And then we select the students based on their resumes and what we can use in the way of instrumentation. And we have a guest conductor each time with that. We&#039 ; ve had most of the conductors of all of the military bands. We&#039 ; ve had some other guest soloists. Recently, we had Johan de Meij, who is an internationally known composer. So we&#039 ; ve had a wide variety of experiences for these students. There also, we get a lot of answers and information from the students about, what did they enjoy most? How did they see themselves moving on after high school playing? Do they want to do something like join the Allentown band or play in another band or play in college? And the Allentown band members help them with maybe learning some of the music, specific things about their instrument, helping them with learning some of the rhythms, or maybe some of the different fingerings for some of the notes that would help them play a little bit more smoother or better with what they&#039 ; re doing. So it&#039 ; s another experience that, something they can&#039 ; t maybe get in their high school, because all of the schools are limited with budgets and can&#039 ; t always have guest conductors and soloists come in. So we have quite a bit of experience with doing that for the students. And they really enjoy working with that. We get anywhere from about 50 to 60 kids apply for that. And usually, we take around 50, 55 students, depending on the instrumentation that we have. So that&#039 ; s another great experience. So that&#039 ; s something that the band really has only been doing since the mid-nineties, is that outreach program. So that&#039 ; s something that&#039 ; s really very different than what they did in the past. We always want to put out a good product as entertainment, but also be educational for the audience, as well. It doesn&#039 ; t matter if it&#039 ; s an audience at West Park. There&#039 ; s always somebody that maybe has never heard &quot ; The Stars and Stripes Forever.&quot ; And so we make sure that every time we play that, which is always the closer for our concerts, we always want to make sure that it sounds as fresh and as excellent as possible so that people who have never heard it before can get something that they can enjoy and learn about. Some of the pieces that we&#039 ; ve played for many, many years, some of the orchestral transcriptions that Sousa did, and other bands have done, those also people haven&#039 ; t heard. They might have come from a ballet or might have come from an opera, and these people have never heard these before. And it&#039 ; s something that&#039 ; s different from them and something that&#039 ; s different than the music that they normally listen to on their CD players or iPods or whatever. So that music, some of it&#039 ; s been around for a long time. And we continue to do it, because one of our goals is to preserve what the American concert band has been about, as well as bring in new guest composers and conductors and work with new music and new instrumentation. But also keep the things alive that have been done for so many years with the American concert band. KR: When you&#039 ; re talking about the students who come into these educational programs, what would you say is, can you give me a sense of who&#039 ; s in the band? Is it all white students? Or Puerto Rican, or African American? Or do we have a diverse male-female? DH: For the side-by-side, the high school, when they&#039 ; re playing with us? Yeah, it&#039 ; s a variety of ethnicity and levels of students. We have students that come from all of the local high schools, some of the schools in Schuylkill County, in Northampton, Lehigh, Berks, Carbon, Monroe. We&#039 ; ve had some folks from down near Chester County and Montgomery County, Kutztown. So it&#039 ; s a lot of different school districts that are involved. And there&#039 ; s a lot of different ethnicities. We offer this as just another program that can enhance their learning and their experiences in high school. And their directors, a lot of them really are very enthusiastic about this because they realize that they can&#039 ; t always supply a guest composer like Johan de Meij to come into their school. So these kids are getting an extra experience that is something that&#039 ; s educational, as well as just something they can&#039 ; t provide. And so we get a lot of support from the high school band directors. And they come to some of the rehearsals and sit in and watch Ron conduct, as well as the guest conductors. Just recently, we had Lieutenant Colonel Virginia Allen, who was recently in the United States Army. And she was one of the first female conductors to conduct an on-duty service band. So she also taught conducting classes at Julliard School of Music and at the Curtis Institute. These kids were getting the services of being conducted by somebody who was really, really famous at doing this. And a lot of these experiences the kids don&#039 ; t get. So the schools that they come from, a wide variety of bands, sizes, and programs. I mean, we always have kids coming from Parkland, from Bangor, from Easton. So this year, we had some from William Allen and Dieruff, a lot of the local schools. So it&#039 ; s a wide range of abilities of kids, as well as what their programs are like at their high schools. KR: Talk about the make-up, since we&#039 ; re talking about issues of demographics, about your band members, in terms of age, from who&#039 ; s the youngest to the oldest, the make-up in terms of ethnic, racial, gender. DH: Sure. Well, I think our oldest person is 90. I&#039 ; m not sure when he&#039 ; s going to be 91, but he&#039 ; s 90. And I think the youngest person we have is a person who just graduated from high school in June of 2018. He&#039 ; s in his freshman year of college. And every time he&#039 ; s home, he&#039 ; s at rehearsal, in summers between college. Yeah, I&#039 ; m pretty sure it was just this past June he graduated. So we have a wide variety of age levels. We have some kids that just graduated from college, some as music majors, some as other majors. And that&#039 ; s the other thing. We have a lot of people, a wide variety of careers that are people that are in the band. I think at one point a number of years ago, I counted that we might have had about 25 people that had some type of a music degree, whether it be in music education or performance or music therapy or some type of music degree. And people that we&#039 ; ve had, doctors, and we&#039 ; ve had ministers and dentists and engineers and lots of other careers. Some of them, I&#039 ; m not even sure what everybody does. They all just love music as part of, what I always say, making a life, not making a living. When we do get paid for our concerts, it&#039 ; s not a huge amount of money. It can be a supplement to somebody&#039 ; s income, but also, it&#039 ; s just something a little extra that people can look forward to. But I think the real reason that people are in the bands are because they just love playing and love sharing that with an audience, making them happy. They have a hobby that they can enjoy doing. Something that also, I know for some people, they spent so many years in their school system playing their instrument, they didn&#039 ; t want to give that up. They practiced a lot and got their skill level to a really excellent level of ability. And want to share that and just keep on doing it as part of something that makes them happy. And so I think that&#039 ; s one of the reasons why people join the band. We do have one person of African American ethnicity, and we have various religions and thought processes, ideologies, like that in the band. I&#039 ; m not really sure about the rest of the ethnicities, but mostly, it&#039 ; s mostly Caucasian and then one African American. KR: (inaudible) different persuasions perhaps, too? DH: Yes. Yes, we do. We have a couple of husband and wife teams, as well. Some of them, I don&#039 ; t think, there might have been one that met through the band. But the others, I think, came to the band as already a husband and wife team. KR: As you think about the future for the band, what are your prognostications, if you will? What do you think the band, is going to happen to it? How&#039 ; s it going to grow or not, or change? DH: Well, one of the things that we have been concerned about is the idea of concert band music that has, some places, it has a large audience. Some places, it has a small audience of people who enjoy that type of music. We are trying to make sure that our community knows about us. We recently put out some brochures and some other, we always have as much publicity about our concerts as possible. We try to go to different locations outside of Allentown, as well. In fact, this morning, I just got a call from a group in Hamburg that would like to hire us for next summer, to come out to their band shell and play in their community. So we try to make sure that we go to other places. Allentown is filled with music culture. In addition to the Allentown band, there&#039 ; s three other city bands. In Bethlehem, there&#039 ; s two. Easton has one. There&#039 ; s one in Nazareth. There&#039 ; s one in Macungie. Many of them have been around since the late 1800s or the early 1900, as well. We have a big tradition in this area of concert bands, whether it&#039 ; s through the high schools or local community bands. So I think that, as long as we continue to have an audience who wants to hear us, we will be playing. And financially, I think we&#039 ; re fairly stable with what we need. We always work on getting grants, especially for our outreach programs. And we have 31 years of CDs that we&#039 ; ve recorded so that, as we state that it not only is something that you can take the Allentown band home with you. But it&#039 ; s something that is evidence of what the band has been doing over the years. Some of them are just CDs with marches on it, just featuring Sousa and other great composers of marches. Our most recent one was John Williams, to celebrate his eighty-fifth birthday. So we did a lot of his movie music and some of his other music. We&#039 ; ve done some of just Pennsylvania composers. So we&#039 ; ve done some things that are educational as well as just entertaining. And like we always say, Ron always says to the audiences, you can take the Allentown band home with you. If you enjoyed the concert, purchase a CD. So we have that as another outreach, really, to the community, because we&#039 ; re showing them what we&#039 ; ve done. Because some people take us for granted, as well. People don&#039 ; t even know about the band locally, and we&#039 ; ve been here since 1828. And there are still lots of people who have no idea about the concert bands in the Allentown area, even though we have the beautiful West Park band shell, where all four city bands and some of the other bands in the area will perform throughout the summer. Those are all free concerts. But some people have no idea about what it is, because they don&#039 ; t know what concert bands are, or they think it&#039 ; s only high schools and colleges have concert bands. They don&#039 ; t know about professional or semi-professional or adult community concert bands. So I think that through our publicity campaigns, our educational outreach, we&#039 ; ve played at the Kennedy Center. We&#039 ; ve played at Carnegie Hall. In fact, we&#039 ; re going back there next April. We do a holiday concert helping to bring recognition to the veterans that are in the area. We do a dinner concert the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, which, to me, is always the kick-off for my holiday season, where people are enjoying a dinner while we entertain through our music. And that is always a lovely experience for the folks that are having the dinner as well as listening to the concert. We get people from out of the area that have been coming to that for years. And it&#039 ; s their staple in their start of their holiday season. So we have lots of programs like that. And Ron Demkee has a great vision for what the band can do and is doing, and what we should be doing as a community band. Not just entertaining people but educating as well as just letting people know that, hey, we&#039 ; re here in Allentown. And we&#039 ; ve got something good going here. KR: I did not know about the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. (inaudible) DH: The tables are set up, like there&#039 ; s eight or 10 at a table. You can get a bunch of your friends. You can just go there and be seated at a table with strangers and meet some folks. Yeah, my sister, she brought a friend of hers. And they were just seated at a table with... When I was still employed teaching, always for Principal&#039 ; s Day and Secretary&#039 ; s Day, I would treat the secretaries in my building and my principal and their spouses to the dinner concert as their present from me. Then my sister would sit with them, or other friends, other Allentown band folks. And get to know people. And people found friends that they, or acquaintances that they didn&#039 ; t know. Or they had a relative that was sitting between them. And it&#039 ; s just a fun experience, as well as you get some pretty good food. And the entertainment by the band is always, it&#039 ; s a pretty neat experience. Like I said, for me, the dinner concert is always the kick-off to my holiday season. KR: Sounds like a great way to kick that off. Do you have any questions, Susan? SUSAN FALCIANI MALDONADO : Not that I [thought of?] right now. (inaudible) KR: Thank you so very much. DH: I was a teacher, so I know how to talk. KR: Absolutely. Just when you&#039 ; re talking about the education program, you&#039 ; ve got it down. You&#039 ; ve got lesson plans, all of it. That doesn&#039 ; t leave you at all, does it? DH: No. No, it doesn&#039 ; t. And one of the things that I like to do, there are a lot of symphonies that, over the years, have developed youth programs. And so I&#039 ; ve gone and looked at a lot of their educational services and what kind of product they put out. And some of it, I copy. Ron plans the program. He plans the selections. I&#039 ; ve suggested some things over the years that we&#039 ; ve done. But he usually has some type of a theme. I think this year, we&#039 ; re going to do something with music and math. And so I&#039 ; ll be doing some type of lesson plan about how math is related to music, how music can supplement and improve your math skills. Because that is one of the things that, music and math, they go together so well. So that&#039 ; s one of the things that we&#039 ; ll be doing. We did one with, like I said, where we just had the youth ballet in Allentown. They came in and did the scenes from &quot ; Peter and the Wolf.&quot ; Most of these kids had never seen a ballet before. And they were thrilled at seeing ballet dance, things they&#039 ; ve always heard. What is a ballet about? And they thought they knew. But now, they actually saw one live. And there were boys and girls in the ballet troupe doing the program. And so it was really excellent for them to see that. Like I said, the guest soloists there, there are always top-notch players that we get. And they&#039 ; re amazed. The kids are just in awe. And like I said, for &quot ; The Stars and Stripes Forever,&quot ; when the brass and the piccolos come out near the end, the kids always, that is just, they perk up and just sit there like, wow. Their eyes are popping out. They just love to see that. Because again, some of them have never heard &quot ; The Stars and Stripes Forever.&quot ; They don&#039 ; t understand that we have a national march, and that&#039 ; s it. And they don&#039 ; t know it. And so for them to get that feeling of, it gives them a little feeling of patriotism and just being proud of just listening and hearing something that they have never heard before. So it&#039 ; s pretty neat. KR: Pretty positive. DH: It is. It&#039 ; s very positive. And for me, not only as the coordinator but as an educator, it&#039 ; s something that, wow. We&#039 ; ve just got into somebody else&#039 ; s head about what music is, offering them so much more in the way of learning something about it. As well as just being entertained, something that&#039 ; s a positive field trip. The teachers are always very enthusiastic about bringing the kids for this field trip. It&#039 ; s always something that, because the kids behave. The kids perk up. We teach them what we talked to them about. I introduce them and talk to the kids about, how do you applaud for a concert indoors, as opposed to a concert out in a stadium or whatever? So we give a little bit of education that way, as well as just get them excited about what they&#039 ; re going to hear. So it&#039 ; s pretty neat. KR: Things that we take for granted. DH: Yes. KR: Going to a concert. Especially my eyes have been opened to what goes on for some of the kids that never... They don&#039 ; t even know where -- I know this is not music -- but where French fries come from. They come from a potato, and they&#039 ; re like... Have them work in a garden, and they&#039 ; re like, what is this brown thing? DH: Yeah. A lot of them, they don&#039 ; t have the different experiences that some of us have had over our years and we take for granted. I grew up with no calculators when I was in school until high school. Electric typewriters didn&#039 ; t come along until a little bit after I was out. That was my graduation present was an electric typewriter to go to college. So some of that stuff that we&#039 ; ve seen as more mature people, we&#039 ; ve seen some things that these kids just have no idea. And same with instruments. Because some of those schools, there are schools that have cut out their music programs, whether their band programs are gone, or they cut their orchestra, whatever. And so these kids aren&#039 ; t offered a chance to play unless their parents maybe have played and want them to take private lessons or whatever. So for them to come and hear... We do also not just get the public and Catholic schools, but we also get some home school folks that always come. And thus, we have two concerts in November. And the second concert, we always open that up also to senior citizens. And so we get some of the local retirement homes will send a van of folks over to, you know. So we have the wide range of third graders through eighty- and ninety-year-old people in the audience. And they like to learn about the educational part of the music, as well. We get lots of good phone calls and compliments from them. As the business manager of the band, I get a lot of phone calls about people who are interested in knowing something about, what is the next concert going to be about? Or when the concert is over, they call up and say, oh, that Broadway singer you had, we just wanted to hear so much more. The bank teller I go to, she was at the concert. And when I went in, she said, oh, why couldn&#039 ; t he sing more pieces? My sister and I just loved it. We wanted to hear more from him. It was just great. So you get a lot of responses that you don&#039 ; t know how you&#039 ; re affecting these people until you actually do it and get a response back from them. So it&#039 ; s a lot of, a neat idea of having this type of entertainment and band in this area. KR: Do you get responses from de Meij ever? DH: Oh, yes. Especially with the side by side. We get kids. First of all, one of the things that&#039 ; s different about him is that he&#039 ; s a left-handed conductor. And some of the kids just said, I&#039 ; ve never played for somebody that conducted with their left hand. That was really different. But it was easy to follow him, and I didn&#039 ; t realize that the conducting patterns could be changed. And so the kids, again, it&#039 ; s something fascinating for them, that they have not had that experience at doing. So yeah, we had a lot of, they like his works. He wrote some of the orchestral works for The Lord of the Rings and some just great pieces of music. And some of the kids are familiar with it, and some of them, now that they know who Johan de Meij is, they go and they research. And they find out about what he has done and listen to his music. And he just wrote a piece for us, for our hundred-and-ninetieth anniversary. So we just premiered that on July Fourth. KR: All of us were there for the practice. It was fun. DH: Yeah. He&#039 ; s very demanding but a very fine conductor, composer. KR: Yeah, there were a couple of times for the practice, I was like, I would have been in tears. That&#039 ; s why I don&#039 ; t pick up an instrument. I&#039 ; d be like, I can&#039 ; t do this. Deb, thank you so very much. This is wonderful, really. I swear, every interview, we&#039 ; ve learned more and more and more. Love to learn. SFM: And more ideas. (inaudible) DH: Yeah. You&#039 ; re welcome to come to the youth concert, the 12 o&#039 ; clock concert. The 10 o&#039 ; clock on, we fill it up completely. In fact, we usually end up setting up extra chairs. The symphony hall people get mad at me because I maybe overbooked a little. Or all of a sudden, there&#039 ; s kids that aren&#039 ; t absent that weren&#039 ; t on the original number. But the 12 o&#039 ; clock concert, there usually is, we usually don&#039 ; t fill that one. KR: I think it&#039 ; s so great, having done some programs with one of my other colleagues in Allentown, teaching kids digital storytelling. They&#039 ; re so full of awe sometimes. There&#039 ; s stuff that I&#039 ; m like, whatever. But they&#039 ; re just like, whoa, look at this. Because they can&#039 ; t imagine what they must do with their instruments, especially if they&#039 ; ve never seen any. DH: Yeah, they have no idea how to make a sound. How does this make a sound? Or they&#039 ; ll just sit there and watch the fingers on the instruments. And they&#039 ; ll be just like, their eyes are just so focused. KR: (inaudible) DH: Oh, she&#039 ; s amazing. Yes, yeah. She&#039 ; s amazing. KR: And the woman who was playing the harp when Johan was, (inaudible). Come on. DH: She&#039 ; s another one that&#039 ; s excellent, an excellent harp player. The harp player that, in fact, Dorothy Knauss, the lady that was with the band for 69 years, she was Andrea&#039 ; s teacher at one point. And Dorothy, she played, yesterday on TCM was a silent movie day. And some of the, which is one of the other things that we&#039 ; re going to be doing, that silent movie thing. Yes, yeah. There were some of these Sigmund Romberg scores that were to some of these pieces. And Dorothy was in some of the pit orchestras for the Sigmund Romberg orchestras when they would tour around the country back in the thirties. It was like wow, you know. That is back in the day, yeah. I&#039 ; m looking forward to this silent film thing, because I&#039 ; ve never really seen a silent film up close. I&#039 ; ve seen them on TCM or on TV, but never the big screen. Of course I&#039 ; ll be playing. It&#039 ; s constant playing, so I&#039 ; m not going to have time to look up too much. Just one or two little breaks where I&#039 ; m sure I have rests. I can look up. It should be a lot of fun. I&#039 ; m excited. KR: Thank you so much. Gosh, we went all the way through. END OF AUDIO FILE Copyright for this oral history recording is held by the interview subject. video This oral history is made available with a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC 4.0). The public can access and share the interview for educational, research, and other noncommercial purposes as long as they identify the original source. 0

Interview Keyword

youth outreach
Side-by-Side concerts
music education
bass clarinet
bassoon

Files

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Citation

“Interview with Deb Heiney, August 9, 2018,” Muhlenberg College Oral History Repository, accessed October 5, 2022, https://trexlerworks.muhlenberg.edu/mc_oralhistory/items/show/73.