LAKESHORE SYMPHONIC BAND HISTORY
In the spring of 1976, several Ozaukee County residents sought an outlet for their musical talents. Existing community bands in the area rehearsed and performed primarily during the summer because they included student musicians among their ranks. LSB organizers decided they would form a community band that would rehearse and perform primarily from September through May. Its purpose then, as it is now, was to provide an opportunity for adult participation in a musical organization, as well as cultural enrichment for the community at large.
The first director was Clyde Brehm. Brehm was a graduate of the University of Wisconsin with a degree in music, and music director for the Kewaskum, WI school district.
The band held its first rehearsal on September 22, 1976. Not knowing who or how many musicians would show up organizers were delighted when 30 musicians answered the invitation. Many of them had not played their instruments for years and were a bit rusty, but they were persistent and were pleased to have a venue for their musical talent. Together with a few music teachers and six band directors as members, the band began to take shape.
During the first three months of weekly rehearsals, word spread and the numbers grew to about 45 musicians ranging in age from 18 to 60. The band performed its first concert on Jan. 23, 1977 in the Grafton High School auditorium. Selections included "The Magic Flute Overture", "Victory at Sea", "The Cascades", "Highlights from Showboat", "Handel Suite", and the "Seventeen Come Sunday" march from the first movement of "The English Folk Song Suite". Tickets were $1. Although there were no reviews or newspaper accounts, the initial concert proved successful enough to launch the band on its 30-year history. A second concert was held four months later on May 22, 1977.
Albert "Bud" Asch in the early days of the Lakeshore Symphonic Band
In 1978 Albert "Bud" Asch became the second director of LSB. Asch was professor of music at the University of Wisconsin- Washington County. He was also director of the Moraine Symphonic Orchestra of West Bend. For the next 19 years, Asch led the band through weekly rehearsals and four to seven concerts per season. Venues included high school gymnasiums and auditoriums, community centers, churches, even shopping malls and outdoor parks. Concerts have been performed in many communities throughout Ozaukee and Washington counties, along with Fond du Lac and even a trip to Door County.
After 19 seasons with the Lakeshore Symphonic Band, Bud Asch retired from his position as conductor. As the band searched for a new permanent director during the 1996-97 season, rehearsals and concerts continued under the able direction of Lori MacRae, director of the Port Washington Band, and David Pierce, LSB member and retired band director.
The search ended in 1997 with the hiring of Louis Menchaca as the fourth director of the Lakeshore Symphonic Band. Menchaca is Director of Instrumental Music and Chairman of the Music Department at Concordia University, Mequon, Wisconsin. Under his direction the band continued to develop musically and attract experienced musicians.
After eight years as director, Dr. Menchaca chose to devote more time to his family and other commitments and resigned as our musical director. Dr. Walter Rich then assumed responsibilities as musical director and lead the Lakeshore Symphonic Band for 3 years.
The 2011-2012 concert season introduced a new music director, Clayton Wachholz. Mr. Wachholz, then band director at Cedarburg High School, lead the ensemble until 2015.
With Mr. Wachholz's departure, the Lakeshore Symphonic Band embarked on an 18-month search for their next music director. Ultimately, the band selected Mr. Michael Zens to serve as the fifth music director of the Lakeshore Symphonic Band. Mr. Zens's tenure began in 2017.
LSB is proud to be a supporter of local young talent through our Young Artist Scholarship Competition. Audition for this competition is open to area high school age musicians and the winner of the competition is presented a financial award during our final concert in the spring. Please see the Young Artist Scholarship Competition page for details.
In addition to nominal ticket prices to help defray our expenses, donations are always welcome to help pay director's salary, scholarships, equipment, music, and venue rental. The band is a non-profit organization, and donations are tax deductible.