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 Dennis Zeisler
Author: Ralph Katz 
Date:   2020-03-31 23:02

I just received this e-mail from the Midwest Clinic, whose text is copied below. Dennis was a wonderful musician and human being. I sat somewhat behind him during my brief stay in the UM Symphony Band.


It is with deepest sorrow that we announce the death of our dear friend and valued Midwest Board member, Dennis Zeisler. Dennis passed away peacefully at his home following a long and heroic battle with pancreatic cancer.

Dennis was recently retired from Old Dominion University, where he served for 39 years as Director of Bands, Professor of clarinet and saxophone, and Chair of the Department of Music. Early in his musical career, he distinguished himself as solo clarinetist of the famed Michigan Symphony Band under William D. Revelli. He was solo clarinetist with the Detroit Concert Band under the direction of Leonard B. Smith, and a clarinet soloist with the United States Military Academy Band at West Point. He was founder and conductor of the Virginia Wind Symphony, a professional ensemble comprised primarily of music educators from throughout the area of Southeastern Virginia. Dennis worked tirelessly to ensure the success of the Midwest Clinic. His dedication and vision served as a model for all.

Dennis Zeisler was the 77th President of the prestigious American Bandmasters Association. Among his many honors, the Orpheus Award from Phi Mu Alpha for “significant and lasting contributions to the cause of music in America” provides a fitting tribute to a man who will leave a profound and unforgettable mark upon the world of music.

He will be very much missed.

Due to the current COVID-19 restrictions on travel and gatherings funeral services will not be held. Instead, we will celebrate Dennis at the first Virginia Wind Symphony concert in the fall when we will toast to him and celebrate his dedication to music, teaching and family.

In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the Dennis J. Zeisler scholarship fund to provide financial support for instrumental music majors at Old Dominion University. To give, simply click the button below, scroll to “I would like my gift to support” select “scholarships” and type “Dennis Zeisler” in the scholarship name bo


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