Wilbur Fisk Heath

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Born: 1843

Died: 1914


Wilbur Fisk Heath was born at Corinth, Vermont. As a child, he entertained friends by playing his flute, usually improvising waltzes, marches, etc. When he was twelve, the family moved to a farm near Libertyville, Illinois. At the outbreak of the Civil war, he enlisted in the 146th Illinois Volunteer Infantry as leader of the regimental band. He composed much of the music played by the band, and was chosen to lead the funeral procession of the martyred Lincoln at Springfield, Illinois, with the band playing one of his compositions. After the war, he devoted his career to teaching music in the public schools. He studied at the New England Conservancy of Music, and was a member of the National Peace Jubilee Chorus. He taught in Iowa City and Marengo, Iowa, and became superintendent of music in the public schools of Fort Wayne, Indiana. He promoted music teachers’ associations and was on the board of examiners of the American College of Musicians. Aside from his successful music teaching career, he also invented and patented several mechanical devices, and became a successful business man. He was elected municipal judge in 1912. He died in Danville, Illinois. As a composer, he was best known for many songs and choruses written for educational use.

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