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Honeywell Arts Academy


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Music Matters

Honeywell Arts Academy Fosters Musical Excellence

Writer / Angela Cornell
Photographer / Kari Lipscomb

Honeywell Arts AcademyHoneywell is a company that is well-known for innovative technology across many fields. What few people realize, however, is that Founder Mark C. Honeywell had a soft spot in his heart for the arts, to the point that he wanted to establish something that would celebrate some of the most beautiful parts of culture for generations to come. Where better to establish a center for the arts than in his hometown of Wabash, Indiana? Mark had a heart for Wabash and he wanted to leave, as a part of his legacy, a community foundation which could be an asset that would be available to all of the community,” explains Honeywell Foundation Board Chairman Dave Haist. 

Through the years the Honeywell Foundation has evolved to fit the needs of the music community. Today it encompasses a full fellowship summer institute known as the Honeywell Arts Academy, with three tracks. The first, Resonance, is for innovative musicians. Soundboard is for pianists. The original track, which has been around since 2008 and has gathered great renown among professional bassists, is Wabass Institute, which is for double bassists. 

Each of these tracks gives gifted artists from around the world an inspirational environment to develop their skills and learn what it takes to thrive as a professional musician, all in an intensive summer session. The students are hand-selected during the application process and come on full scholarship. The students who come pay no tuition to be involved in this program,” Haist says. “Its an amazing opportunity for them, and as a result were able to attract the cream-of-the-crop talent.”

Throughout the students’ stay, they are under the tutelage of faculty mentors and fellowship scholars, spending the day together sharing knowledge. If you look at the instructors who come in to share their experience, knowledge and talent with each of these three tracks, that faculty is also folks from around the United States who are affiliated with philharmonics and other arts organizations – just really top talent that is brought in each summer to work with the students,” Haist explains.

There are three sessions each day that include workshops, group performance, entrepreneurial development and so much more. Then, on the final Friday before the end of the session, each track performs a public showcase debut. The Wabass performance is scheduled to take place on July 1.

The alumni from this program go on to make a difference in the world in the area of music. If you looked at all of the alumni from the Academy, 97% or 98% of them today are involved in some professional way with a philharmonic or with a symphony orchestra, or some other professional music engagement literally all over the country, and some international students as well,” Haist says. This isnt just a Wabash thing or an Indiana thing. This is really something that has people coming from all over the country. I think it really makes it distinctive.”

Honeywell Arts AcademyAll of this happens in Eagles Theatre, which has a rich history of its own. In the century that it has been in use, this beautiful four-story building has been on the vaudeville circuit, used as a movie theatre, and an events venue. After the Honeywell Foundation purchased the theater about 10 years ago, they decided to hone in on their vision for the buildings future. The Eagles could be far more than a building and far more than a theater,” Haist says. “As a result, the community raised nearly $17 million to fully renovate the Eagles Theatre and to provide funds for future programming.”

With those funds, there was a 600-person theater put in with an additional state-of-the-art movie theater in the basement. The building also has a fully restored historic ballroom known as the Parkview Ballroom, a conference space, and studios for recording and music lessons. Every inch of that four-story historic building now has just been totally renovated and is usable as a beautiful facility for all types of art,” Haist says.

Even when the Academy is not busy with students at the theater, it still hosts philharmonics, country-western musicians and more.

Moving forward, the Honeywell Foundation expects the Academy to expand with additional tracks so other instrumental disciplines can be explored, to help gifted musicians on their way to becoming professionals. However, no one fully knows what the future has in store. There are also whole hosts of other ways the Academy could be engaged with students of different ages, and potentially even students who may look to music as an advocation rather than a profession or a vocation,” Haist says. “Those are all things that our team, our artistic director and our board will continue to spend a lot of time really looking at. One thing thats guaranteed is that the Academy will continue to grow.”

The Honeywell Arts Academy is honored to invite the public to the performances they put on periodically through the year at Eagles Theatre. To get tickets, visit honeywellartsacademy.org. They can also be reached at 260-225-9855. The academy is located at 275 W. Market St in Wabash.

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