The Wisconsin School Music Association Marching Band Hall of Fame is intended to recognize the contributions made by individuals to the marching activity in Wisconsin and is open to any person that has made a significant contribution.
David Heilman has been one of the leading voices in the promotion of music education and marching in the state of Wisconsin for over forty years. As a member of the initial planning committee, Heilman was a major contributor to the first WSMA State Marching Band Championships held in 1985. He has been the cornerstone of the program serving as Committee Chairman every year since its inception. His dedication to the growth of marching in Wisconsin extends past promoting and organizing the State Championships, as his expertise is relied on greatly for the planning of independent marching band shows hosted throughout the state each year.
A graduate from Edgewood High School in 1969 and the University of Wisconsin in 1974, Heilman began his teaching career at Verona High School. During his ten years there (1974-1984), the Verona Band was chosen on three separate occasions to represent Wisconsin in the Festival of States National Band Invitational. His Verona band also won the first Wisconsin State High School Parade Band Championship, as well as winning an invitation to the Orange Bowl Festival. His jazz ensembles hosted and performed in concert with Maynard Ferguson and his band, Buddy Rich and his band, the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Big Band Orchestra and the legendary Stan Kenton Orchestra.
Heilman continued his teaching career in McFarland from 1987 to 2007. The McFarland High School Band program consistently had over 240 members out of a high school enrollment of less than 600 students. In 1995, the McFarland High School Band was selected as the US’s sole representative in the 50th Year Anniversary Parade celebrating the end of World War II in Moscow, Russia. This included a performance in the U.S. Embassy for President and Mrs. Clinton and a joint concert with the U.S. Air Force Band and The Russian Army Band in the Red Square. In 1997, the McFarland High School Percussion Ensemble was selected as one of only five percussion ensembles in the nation to participate in the Bands of America National Concert Band and Percussion Ensemble Festival.
Even in retirement, Heilman remains active as a performer and adjudicator throughout the US. He is the Assistant Director/Percussion Coordinator of The Wisconsin Ambassador’s of Music European Tour and a Past President of the UW School of Music Alumni Association. He has also served on the Board of Directors of The Madison Scouts Drum & Bugle Corps for the majority of the past 14 years. He is a past or current member of NAfME (formally MENC), WMEA, PHI BETA MU, PHI MU ALPHA, PAS, FMEA, FBA and NAJE.
Heilman has continually demonstrated commitment to WSMA programs throughout his lifetime. As a student, he was a member of the very first WSMA High School State Honors Orchestra in 1968, as well as the first State Honors Band in 1969. He continued to serve as a coach and coordinator with the State Honors Band, Orchestra and Jazz Ensemble for six years. He has been an active adjudicator for Concert, District and State Solo & Ensemble Festivals since 1980 and served on the Festival Music List Selection Committee several times. Heilman’s passion and dedication have provided countless students with the opportunity to perform and have created positive musical experiences that will be remembered for a lifetime.