Milo Jay Heinrich

1957 -

Milo Heinrich, singer, brass performer, pianist, and conductor, has taught in Seventh-day Adventist schools for over thirty years. He is known for the quality of his ensemble work and his effectiveness as a teacher of voice and piano.

Milo was born in Gackle, North Dakota, one of four children and the older of two sons of Arthur and Eldina Flemmer Heinrich. Both parents loved music and were amateur musicians who sang and played piano and guitar with their children and enjoyed listening to records. Milo started lessons on piano in the second grade with his sister and then continued with another teacher. He recently wrote about his experience in the public school music program:

In the fifth grade, I began studying the trumpet and loved it. Within three years I was playing in the high school band in the local public school. We had a wonderful band and choir teacher in that little public school.


Though I did not have many formal trumpet lessons, I practiced every day and started competing in state festivals beginning in eighth grade. Formal piano study in high school was non-existent, though I accompanied for choir and for all of the voice lessons. I played trumpet, French horn, and tuba in the band, depending on which instrument was most needed.


I went to public school as a freshman and then attended Sheyenne River Academy in North Dakota (now relocated and renamed Dakota Adventist Academy) for the next three years, graduating in 1975. Bill Chunestudy came to teach music at Sheyenne River Academy when he graduated from Union College in 1972. He inspired us to do our best in both band and choir. I also had an English teacher, Cherry Habinecht, who was a wonderful teacher and inspiration. During this time I decided I wanted to be a music teacher.


Following graduation from SRA, Milo enrolled as a music major at Union College where he sang in the select choir, The Unionaires, and was principal tuba in the college band. He completed a B.Mus. in music education summa cum laude in 1980, with piano as his major performance area, studying with Robert Murray, and voice and tuba as minor performance areas, studying with Lynn Wickham and Ellis Olson, respectively. He later completed an M.Mus. in choral conducting, summa cum laude, at San Jose State University, with Charlene Archibeque as his major professor.


While at UC, he met Roxanna (Roxy) Lee Donesky, also a music major who played piano and flute. They married in 1978 and have two daughters, Camille and Devon, who have had extensive musical training and are active musicians.


The Heinrichs taught for a year at Enterprise Academy before he accepted a position at a K-10 school in Santa Cruz, California, where he taught music for the next fifteen years. In 1996 they accepted positions at Mesa Grande Academy, where he has been director of music and she has taught first grade for seven years and English for the past ten years. Throughout his teaching career in California he has also maintained a private studio.


In 2004 he was one of fifteen teachers nationwide chosen to receive an Excellence in Teaching Award, a program sponsored by the SDA North American Division Alumni Awards Foundation.  Milo recently wrote about the important part his wife has played in success as a teacher and choral director:


Roxy is a wonderful musician who just happens to have been my fabulous choral accompanist for the past 33 years! Many of the choral works I have taught my students would have remained unsung were it not for her piano skills and musicianship.


Sources: Information provided by Milo Heinrich, October 2013; personal knowledge.