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About Us

The Heisey Wind Ensemble, led by Dr. Russel Mikkelson, delivers outstanding music to Licking County and central Ohio through an inspiring concert season from October to April.

JM Day

In the mid-1980’s, several events occurred in Licking County which provided the right circumstances for the formation of a community band. The adult bands that had been in the area were no longer playing and the right number of good players on the right instruments were present. J M Day and Don Workman, two band directors in the Newark City Schools, met for lunch once a week and among other things, discussed music, musicians, and how much fun it would be to be able to again perform quality band literature. They drafted a letter on New Year’s Day, 1985, inviting twenty-five musicians to a rehearsal on January 21st of that year in the Newark High School Band room. Although not yet so named, the Heisey Wind Ensemble was born.
Why Heisey? Aside from the earthworks built by the Hopewell tribe circa 100 BC, Newark is best noted for the high quality glassware produced by the Heisey Glassworks from 1895 to 1957. Since the name Heisey represented quality in the area and the goal of the new organization was quality performance on quality music, the Heisey Wind Ensemble seemed an appropriate name.

Our First Concert

The HWE gave their premiere concert on June 10, 1985 at Founders Hall on the campus of OSU-Newark. Under the direction of Lon Cass, the 25 member ensemble performed the following selections:

On The Mall
Variations On A Shaker Melody
Irish Tune from County Derry
Amparito Roca
The Circus Bee
Blue Bells of Scotland (Doug Moran, soloist)
Overture to Candide
Bugler’s Holiday
Man of La Mancha
America, The Beautiful

Don Workman

So to Mr. Day and Mr. Workman, thanks for having lunch all those times and for putting your ideas into action. You have made Licking County a much better place to live.

Discover more about us


Learn about our past and present conductors.

Ensemble Members

Learn about the musicians in our ensemble.