Miss Wissink: The backbone of the music department


Photo by Vanessa Garcia Thomas

Miss Wissink rehearses with East select Eclipse choir.

The Lincoln East vocal music department is one of East’s biggest and most impressive departments. The Nebraska Music Education Association has deemed the East music department as an exemplary music program. So who runs this show? The department has two co-directors: Aaron Zart and Lisabeth Wissink.

Wissink has been a director since 2016. Her family’s love and passion for music inspired her at a young age. In her childhood years, she had become very interested in piano, singing, and violin. She attended high school at Southeast, and went to college at UNL. While there, she met a fellow UNL student, Aaron Zart. Wissink and Zart attended college together, and both earned their degrees in Music Education. Right out of college, she then worked as a substitute teacher. Then shortly after, she accepted a job offer at Lincoln East to be a director of the vocal music department. It was an easy decision in Wissink’s eyes.

“I just knew that the standard of excellence at East is really high, and especially in the music department,” Wissink said.

East has an undeniable reputation for excelling in music. East also has more opportunities available for students and teachers as well. In 2018, Wissink and another colleague took the choir department to NYC. The ensemble was lucky to be offered a chance to perform at Carnegie Hall. Carnegie Hall is a prestigious and world renowned performance venue.

“Being able to have students perform on that stage was a highlight of my career,” Wissink said.

Since then, Wissink has continued to help direct the vocal music department transcend into what it is today. She specifically directs the Treble Choir, Philharmonic Orchestra, Eclipse, Chamber Strings, Express (co-taught with Zart), and Elevation. She shares equal passion for all different types of music. Wissink admires her students and credits them as diligent workers.

“The students work really hard and they love to be here. That is something that I appreciate and inspires me as a teacher,” Wissink said.

Wissink and Zart direct hundreds of students together. Being able to manage and direct so well together is a truly impressive feat. While the two have only been working together since 2019, their success and fluidity can definitely be attributed to their years in college together and similar experiences. Respect for each other’s talent and knowledge also supports their partnership. The vocal music department would not be the same without them.

“I think we’re [East] able to do a lot of things other programs maybe can’t do and that’s because of Miss Wissink,” Zart said.