Doni Jo Heinberger Memorial Fund

Music was an integral part of Doni Jo's family as a child. Her mother was an organ major in college and an accomplished pianist, and her father was a trombone player, who during his childhood, marched in the New Year's Day Rose Parade in Pasadena. So, needless to say music was just a natural part of her life.

Doni Jo played in recitals all over Northern California and competed in piano competitions throughout high school. It wasn't until her senior year in high school that Doni Jo discovered her voice! During that year, her drama teacher cast her as the leading lady in the spring musical, "The Boyfriend." It was this experience that revealed her true instrument was her voice! Once she got a taste of drama and singing, she never looked back.

Her desire was to attend college and pursue developing her newly discovered talent; however, her family was not able to help her financially achieve her dream. The only way she could attend college was to receive a scholarship. So, with determination, she packed up and took her accompanist (her mother) and went to Point Loma Nazarene University to compete for a vocal performance scholarship.

At the competition, she found herself fifth on the program, and to her astonishment, her competitor right before her sang the very same song she had prepared to sing! This shook her budding confidence. Her mother quickly took her aside and said, "Don't you worry about her. You are better than she is!" With that pep talk, Doni Jo went out and from her heart, "The Love of God," which would become her signature piece throughout her life. After the competition, but before the official winner was announced, Dr. Keith Pagan walked up to her and said, "So, how soon can you get here?" She did it--she WON the scholarship!

Doni Jo was always grateful for being awarded that scholarship because it helped open the door for her to achieve her dream. Without it she would never have been able to attend Point Loma Nazarene University. Even with the scholarship, she worked off campus as a nanny and sometimes as an in-home healthcare provider.

As a musician, Doni Jo trained like an athlete. She spent hours and hours in the practice rooms and loved every minute of it. She strove for perfection, and she expected perfection from herself. Doni Jo prepared for performances until the possibility of error was eliminated, and her confidence became second-nature. Her joy of singing was evident to all who heard her sing! She also had the unique ability to remember every song she ever learned!

Doni Jo believed in her heart that her voice was a gift from God, and she always offered her gift back to Him. She believed that all creativity was inspired by God, and that our openness and authentic response to God's calling was a form of prayer. Doni Jo literally prayed her way through life by singing and using music to bring hope into the live of others.

Doni Jo continued to pursue her music education after leaving Point Loma and also studied at California State University, Sacramento. After leaving CSU, Sacramento she sang with the Sacramento Master Singer under conductor Ralph Hughes for three years.

Later Doni Jo created her own musical group, The Madrigal Carolers. The Madrigal Carolers would dress up in Old English costumes and carol during the holiday season to people who found themselves in ICU and Natal ICU facilities in the greater Sacramento area. Before going out to sing, she would always remind her singers, "We are not going out to entertain. We are going to bring HOPE into what may appear to be hopeless situations." She would also bring a couple friends or family members along to follow the group and pray!

Doni Jo would always say, "Yes," when asked to volunteer, if she possibly could. So, when her local school district cut the budget for music education in the elementary grades, she answered the call and volunteered to teach music to 5th graders. For 10 years, many students only music education was Doni Jo teaching them to read music, play the recorder, and learn rhythm through dancing the Electric Slide.

We, her friends and family, would like to invite you to help us inspire, encourage, and motivate other students to achieve their dreams. We are asking you to donate to her memory, so that we can offer this scholarship to others, who like her, have a big dream, but need financial help to achieve it.

Also, please tell your family, friends, and associates about this memorial fundraiser so we can continue Doni Jo's legacy and bring hope into as many lives as possible.

Doni Jo's resume:
• Doni Jo spent over 40 years teaching piano, voice, and vocal techniques.
• She was a member of several choirs representing PLNU throughout California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas.
• She performed with the Sacramento Master Singers for three years.
• Doni Jo founded the Madrigal Carolers. A caroling group whose mission was to bring hope and healing to people and families in the greater Sacramento area who found themselves in ICU and NICU facilities during the holidays.
• She also wanted to give back to her local community, so when Marysville Joint Unified School District cut music education from the budget for elementary children, Doni Jo volunteered for 10 years to teach 5th graders music and dance at Olivehurst Elementary.


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Keith Doni Jo Heinberger 
Yuba City, CA

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