Heather Thorn

HEATHER THORN is a xylophonist in Orlando, FL where she performs with her band Vivacity and as a freelance percussionist. She holds a degree in Music Performance with a minor in Theatre from Ithaca College. In 2019 and 2022, she was featured with Vivacity as the headline act for the I Love Jazz International Jazz Festival in Brazil. She was also a guest soloist with the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra in 2021 for the Holiday Pops concert. Heather has been featured as a guest artist with Michael Andrew and Swingerhead, Carol Stein, the John Depaola quartet and as an opening act for the Glenn Miller Orchestra.

As band leader of Vivacity, she frequently performs for swing dances and at renowned Central Florida venues including Timucua Arts White House and the Blue Bamboo Center for the Arts; in 2018 she gave a concert at the New Orleans Jazz Museum. Heather wrote and performs her musical stage show Nostalgia Radio Hour- featuring an original script with classic tunes from the 1920’s- 1950’s, and characters inspired from the Golden Age of Radio. She also leads a jazz quartet at the Sea World Christmas Celebration and subs with the Walt Disney World Orchestra.

Heather has performed for the Suncoast Jazz Festival and New Smyrna Beach Jazz Festival as well as several arts festivals and community events all over Central Florida. She regularly features jazz luminaries such as Adrian Cunningham, Ed Metz, and Charlie Bertini as guests with the band. Heather has a private teaching studio of 25 students and is a clinician in several schools along with co-directing the Trinity Prep School percussion program. Additionally, she has given master classes and/or performed at Virginia Tech and the universities of South, Central and North Florida.

Heather has a passionate interest in the history of xylophone and is working with Bill Cahn on a project to digitize and preserve nearly 1500 recordings of xylophone and percussion music from 1898-1929. She has attended the Leigh Howard Stevens Marimba Seminar and was on faculty for the Bob Becker Ragtime Institute in 2014. Her teachers have included Gordon Stout and Bob Becker.

Music Education: Heather has a private studio of more than 30 students; she works as a clinician in schools regularly and co-directs the percussion program at Trinity Preparatory School in Winter Park, FL. She also directs the Music Collective- a group of high school and college age students in the Orlando area. Heather offers highly inspirational and educational master classes and clinics at university level.

Entrepreneurship in Music:Diversifying your career and creating a niche for your art. This is a lecture and discussion-based presentation by someone who is  truly making a living as a freelance musician on an unlikely instrument!

Xylophone History in Acoustic Recordings: a close examination of early recording artists and style. Featuring a listening session of recordings from her digital archival of Bill Cahn’s 1475 78 rpm records from 1898-1929, historical information about the xylophone artists of the 20th century. Additionally, she will demonstrate xylophone and sight-reading technique, and discuss effective practicing strategies as taught to her by Bob Becker and Gordon Stout.

Theatre: As an actress, Heather’s professional credits include Fiddler on the Roof and Carousel with Southern Appalachian Repertory Theatre. She has also been seen in the Refrigerator Capers at The Kitchen Theatre Co., The Miracle Worker at Asheville Community Theatre, and on the University of Greensboro- NC stage in the 1999 production of Henry and Ramona. She has also worked as assistant house manager for the Kitchen Theatre Company and as an audience services representative for the Community Arts Partnership of Ithaca.

Heather directs children’s theatre teaches drama classes in the Orlando area. In 2005, she created the Kreative Kids Summer Theatre Workshop and later Journey Into Imagination Drama program for the Annunciation Academy. She currently teaches three classes of children ages 5-15, instructing them in acting, improvisation and theatre etiquette

Modeling: As a model and actress, she has worked for the renowned photographer Stafford Smith in a number of his prize-winning works.