Gerald D. Heilner

Jerry began piano lessons at the age of seven and cornet lessons at the age of ten.  At twelve he made the change from cornet to trombone. While attending Elizabethtown Area High School, Jerry appeared in county and district band festivals.  He was awarded the Meredith Germer Music Award upon graduation from high school. Jerry attended Millersville State College and graduated in 1981 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music Performance and Pedagogy.  During his tenure at college he changed his major from tenor to bass trombone. Achievements at college included participation in the Pennsylvania Intercollegiate Band Festivals at Susquehanna University and Lebanon Valley College where he won the first chair bass trombone position.  He was also selected to play in the National Intercollegiate Band at the Conservatory of Music in Cincinnati.


In 1982 Jerry founded the Lancaster Brass Quintet (  He is presently a member of the Lancaster Trombone Quartet, Susquehanna Slide Express (trombone quartet;, and the Buzz Jones Big Band (  Jerry performs frequently with the Harrisburg Choral Society (, OperaLancaster (, Allegro Orchestra Lancaster (, and regional concert and jazz bands.  Jerry has also played and served as conductor for the Elizabethtown Music Foundation.  He has been a member of the York Symphony Orchestra ( since 1996.


Some of Jerry’s favorite musical memories include three tours of Europe with the Buzz Jones Big Band and playing at the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland and at the North Sea Jazz Festival at Den Haag in the Netherlands.  One particular special memory is playing in the orchestra for a concert performance of Aida.  Another wonderful memory is of playing in the high school pit orchestra for “Cats” with his daughter Diana who played cello.  Performing Mahler’s First Symphony with the York Symphony Orchestra is also a very special memory.


Jerry teaches low brass lessons at his home studio.  He has studied trombone and bass trombone with William A. Grove, Dr. Sy Brandon and Hal Janks of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra.  Jerry’s conducting teachers include Walter Blackburn, Dr. Paul G. Fisher, and Otis D. Kitchen. He resides in Elizabethtown with his wife Lisa.