Meet Our Director
JENNY LEIST – Director & Beginners Section Leader
Many musicians and band directors will credit an amazing 5th grade band experience as the source of what sparked their love for music. Jenny Leist is no exception. It was “band recruitment time” in the late 80s and after a bit of pleading to her parents, a saxophone landed in the hands of a very happy little Future Band Director. Jenny made the commitment to turn her music hobby into a career after visiting a youth jazz band rehearsal. The director was the first female band director she had ever seen, and that day, she signed up to be the second!
Jenny graduated from St. Norbert College in De Pere, Wisconsin with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Instrumental and General Music. While attending St. Norbert College, she was a member of the Wind Ensemble, Jazz Band, Concert Band, and several small ensembles, including a recorder ensemble. She was also a member of the Wisconsin Music Education Association, the National Association for Music Education, and performed with Honors Bands throughout the state of Wisconsin.
After college, Jenny and her husband, Jason, started a family. While raising her children, she was actively involved in the music community. She continues to perform with community bands and jazz bands, as well as teach lessons to students of all ages. Some of her favorite memories include performing for Veterans Day Celebrations and Old Glory Honor Flights and sharing the stage with so many of the band directors that have taught her throughout the years!
Jenny’s formal teaching career began at Gegan Elementary School in Menasha, Wisconsin. She taught General Music to over 500 students in the very same school that she attended as a child and where she was inspired to join 5th Grade Band! During her five years in the Menasha Joint School District, she was elected to become K-12 Music Curriculum Coordinator Department Chair, was awarded a grant to supply her classroom with thirty ukuleles, and was selected to receive a Distinguished Service Award by her fellow teachers (2015).
After learning that the district where she completed her student teaching was in search of a band director, Jenny eagerly applied for the position with the Hortonville Area School District and was hired in 2017. Jenny enjoys the rewarding work of teaching her students at Hortonville Middle School and Fox West Academy and helping them share music with the community!
HASBand, UW Oshkosh – Fox Valley Concert Band, Appleton City Band, Big Band Reunion, The SwingTime Big Band, Doctors in Recital with the Lighthouse Big Band, Neenah Ambassadors, Little Chute Community Band
“I love what the New Horizons Band Fox Valley has done and continues to do for this community, and I am so glad to be a part of this special group. The inclusive energy, the encouraging environment, the authentic opportunities to learn and grow, and the wonderful and dedicated musicians are inspirational!”