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Urbana-Champaign Local Music Oral History with Donnie Heitler

Donnie Heitler performing at Urbana, Illinois Schnucks grocery story for December 16, 2016 News-Gazette article. Photograph by Rick Danzi.

Scott Schwartz and Rory Grennans’ December 17, 2013 interview with Donnie Heitler, a local Urbana-Champaign jazz legend, talks about his music career, the many musicians he had the pleasure of performing with throughout his life, and the music teachers that influenced him.  Donnie also discusses his early childhood, how he learned to play the piano, and his time as a student at Illinois Wesleyan College.  His interview provides colorful stories of the Urbana-Champaign community’s evolving music scene from the 1950s to the first decade of the twenty-first century.

A complete transcript of his 2013 interview can be accessed at Donnie Heitler Oral History Interview Transcription3-final, and a short audio sample of Donnie demonstrating his take on George Shearing’s piano style playing “East of the Sun, West of the Moon” can be listened to from the following link:

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