Meet the MSO

Wayne Wildman Music Director

Sheboygan-born Maestro Wayne Wildman was educated at Lakeland College and the University of Wisconsin at Madison. He is now entering his twenty-fifth season as Music Director of the Manitowoc Symphony Orchestra.

An active harpsichordist, organist and pianist, Wildman has made solo appearances with the Milwaukee Chamber Orchestra and the Sheboygan, Manitowoc, and Green Bay Civic Orchestras. For five seasons, he performed as harpsichordist and pianist at the Washington Island Music Festival, and returned to the Island in 2013 for a special solo appearance in Bach's Fifth Brandenburg Concerto. He has also been heard on Wisconsin Public Radio, most recently with Manitowoc violinist Andrew Dunlap, with whom he also appeared in recital at Silver Lake College.

Wildman is also an experienced composer, having crafted dozens of arrangements and original compositions, as well as scores for many theatrical productions. Among this summer's creations were Variations on National Hymn in the Style of Arban for trumpet and piano and Fantasia on Another Theme of Thomas Tallis for alto saxophone.

Carrie Kulas Concertmaster

Concertmaster Carrie Kulas has graced the Manitowoc Symphony Orchestra with her superlative leadership and bowing precision since 1992. As the principal violinist, Mrs. Kulas strives to cultivate the best sound that can be achieved for every musical selection.

Mrs. Kulas earned her Bachelor of Music Performance from UW-Stevens Point. She credits her success to a number of fine and gifted teachers, including Everett Goodwin, Margery Aber, and Vasile Beluska.

Mrs. Kulas also served as concertmaster for the Green Bay Civic Symphony from 1996 to 2003. She has performed with the Pamiro Opera Company, the Green Bay Symphony, the Clayton Ladue Chamber Orchestra, the St. Louis Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Central Wisconsin Symphony Orchestra. Since 1985, Mrs. Kulas has been teaching violin at the Suzuki Music Academy of Green Bay, and is a former member of the Wausau Area Suzuki Association.

Not only is Mrs. Kulas a strong musical leader, but she also possesses the ability to play in a wide range of styles. Mrs. Kulas’ skills and dedication as a teacher are especially valuable to the MSO as she assists players to navigate the technical hurdles of some very difficult pieces. In addition to joy and passion, Mrs. Kulas also brings a great sense of humor to her work. “The Manitowoc Symphony is truly blessed to have Carrie Kulas as our concertmaster,” says Music Director Wayne Wildman. “I’ve learned so much from Carrie over the years and am proud to have her as my partner in music­making.”

Symphony Players

First Violins

  • Carrie Kulas, Concertmaster
  • Lori Bonin
  • Tiffany Chang
  • Carl Laurino
  • Erik Leveille
  • Donna Russell
  • Marvin Suson
  • Janet Bond Sutter
  • James E. Van Lanen Jr.
  • James E. Van Lanen Sr.

Second Violins

  • Joan Geraldson, principal
  • Alyssa Barker
  • Elizabeth Brey
  • Jeffrey Erdman
  • Dan Ognavic
  • Judy Sigman
  • Christopher Wanek
  • Shoua Xiong

Viola

Violoncello

  • Charles Stephan, principal
  • Ali Burns
  • Michael Dewhirst
  • Tracy Geissler
  • Jon Hodges
  • Nancy Kaphaem
  • Regina Luke
  • Wendy Scattergood
  • Kimberly Souther
  • Kenneth Wiering

Contrabass

Flute

Oboe

Clarinet

Bassoon

Bassoon Chair

  • Andrew Jackson

French Horn

Trumpet

Trombone

Tuba

  • Jeremiah Eis

Timpani & Percussion

Harp

  • Mary Keppeler

*David Satchell Memorial

Board of Directors

Wayne Wildman, Music Director

Peggy Pitz, Executive Director

Nancy Baumann

*Rudy Baumann

Ann Gold

Zach Holzer

Monica Hrudik

*D.J. Lucas

*Jerilyn Laurino

Martha Rasmus

Elaine Schueler

Judy Sigman

Carole Witt Starck

*Karen Steingraber

Paul Stockhausen

Renee Thompson

Joseph E. Trader

Rhonda Trader

*Kelly Vanderstelt

*Kathy Willis

* indicates new Board Member

History

The Manitowoc Symphony Orchestra has been delighting audiences and providing a creative outlet for community musicians since 1951. Orchestra members carry their passion for fine music to delicious heights through live presentations of classical works. Four concerts are performed each year, following months of intense study and many weeks of practice. The work is continuous, but our musicians are committed to excellence.

Manitowoc is the smallest city in our state to have its own symphony, and much credit is due to our first conductor, Karl Miller. The creation of the Manitowoc Civic Orchestra in 1951 was the fulfillment of his boyhood dream of becoming a conductor, nurtured by the New York Philharmonic Orchestra’s radio broadcasts. Until his retirement in 1986, Miller was the driving force behind the establishment of our symphony. He encouraged and instructed his musicians with noteworthy dedication.

Manuel Prestamo served as the next conductor, from 1986-1990. During this time, with the approval of our sponsors and the City of Manitowoc, the orchestra began charging admission. Much to everyone’s surprise— except Prestamo’s — there was an increase in concert attendance.

The orchestra’s 40th season welcomed our current music director, Wayne Wildman, whose education and vast accomplishments have contributed greatly to the growth of the Manitowoc Symphony Orchestra. Through his devoted work and personable leadership style, Wildman has succeeded in increasing both our orchestra size and its following. He contributes strong insightfulness to concert-planning, featuring musical works in a wide variety of classical genres, including not only dearly familiar crowd-pleasing pieces, but also important selections that challenge both the musician and the listener.

The Manitowoc Symphony Orchestra is proud to have hosted many fine and gifted musical guests throughout the years, including Victor Borge and world-famous violinist Isaac Stern (in duo-recital with Yefim Bronfman). We have also hosted the Tokyo String Quartet with Pinchas Zukerman, as well as the Canadian Brass and Gary Karr, along with many other national and regional performing artists.

The Herald-Times Reporter awarded the MSO “Best of Manitowoc County 2014 – Concert.” Indeed, our orchestra provides one of the area’s finest entertainment venues. All lovers of fine music are invited to share our joy and discover the Manitowoc Symphony Orchestra, as we carry our passion for classical music into the years to come!

Mission & Vision

Our Mission

The mission of the Manitowoc Symphony Orchestra Association is to promote the classical music experience in the community of Manitowoc County, through presentation and education, while providing the highest quality of classical music, balanced with the opportunity for participation by local musicians, and to establish an environment where all people within the county identify with the Manitowoc Symphony Orchestra.

Our Vision

The vision of the Manitowoc Symphony Orchestra Association is to provide an orchestra comprised of quality musicians who can participate in a wide variety of classical repertoire, with a solid financial base of endowment fund and loyal contributors and supporters, which will enable the Association to provide the community with a rich classical music experience.