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Mrs. Elisabeth Wagner - FVL Schools Band Program Director

Greetings! My name (as you already know) is Elisabeth Wagner. Here’s a little bit about me:

My dad was a teacher at Trinity in Neenah, once upon a time, and so I grew up right here in the Fox Valley. I graduated from FVL in 1996 and went to the Lawrence University Conservatory of Music where I earned my bachelor of music degree in instrumental music education in 2000 (fun fact: I student taught with Mr. Neujahr at FVL that fall). From there I spent a year in New Ulm, Minnesota studying at Martin Luther College for synod certification (which is where I met my husband).

From 2002-2004 I taught both high school and grade school band and music classes at Arizona Lutheran Academy. In 2004, Tim and I got married and moved to the Milwaukee area while he finished his senior year at Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary. During that year I taught grade school band at Wisconsin Lutheran High School. And then we began our adventures in ministry, moving first to Port Orange, Florida (2005-2007); then to Elgin, Illinois (2007-2011); then to Columbus, Ohio (2011-2018); and now to Appleton. During all of this, I’ve been raising our family, teaching private lessons whenever possible, subbing and teaching part-time. 

Tim and I have five children ranging in age from 4 to 14 (four daughters & one son). Tim has been one of the pastors at Riverview Lutheran Church since January of 2019. Our oldest daughter is currently a freshman at FVL; one of our daughters attends James Madison Middle School because of her special needs; the other three of our other kids attend Riverview.

My instrument of choice is French horn, though if I had to pick another favorite, I’d have to go with guiro. Or oboe. Or trombone. Or rainstick. Or flute… Or cowbell (you can always use more cowbell)… Really, they’re all pretty great, especially when they can all be played together.

I am very much looking forward to my next adventure as the FVL Schools Band Director. Excited might be the word. A bit nervous, too, but mostly excited. Directing is one of my favorite things to do; teaching others the joy of music and the thrill that comes from learning an instrument is another. (I like to bake, too, but that’s not quite as useful a skill in band.) I know that the road won’t always be easy for me or for the students that I work with, but I will do my best to always do my best and to make our time together worthwhile, productive, and fun. I am confident that God will bless our efforts as we work together to bring praise and glory to him. 

God be with you and keep you safe until we meet!

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Mr. Robert Kramer - Cadet Band

Mr. Robert Kramer has been teaching and directing in the FVL Schools Band Program since September 2000, directing the Wind Ensemble, Cadet Band, and also the Chicago band each spring.  Mr. Kramer has taught the 6th grade at Immanuel Lutheran School in Greenville since 1986, and taught grades 3-5 at Good Shepherd Lutheran School in Omaha, Nebraska from 1980 to 1986.

Mr. Kramer holds a B.S. in Education degree from Dr. Martin Luther College, New Ulm, Minnesota, and also a Master of Music –Conducting degree from the American Band College of Southern Oregon University.  He has also pursued post graduate course work at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, VanderCook College of Music in Chicago, Illinois, and Silver Lake College in Manitowoc, WI, where he received the Silver Lake College Kodaly Concept Certification in 2013, and will receive his Wisconsin State DPI certification for Instrumental Music Education and General Music Education in 2014.

He has performed with the Nebraska Choral Arts Society, the Neenah Community Band (Which he also directed from 2004 to 2007). Sang in and also directed the Valley Lutheran Chorale in Appleton, Wisconsin, and has been the director of the Kimberly Community Band since 2001.

Mr. Kramer has extensive experience directing youth and adult choirs for church, and also arranging small group and concert band ensembles for church worship.  He is also currently pursuing Wisconsin State accreditation for teaching music, and enjoys continuing education in general.  His hobbies include listening to all kinds of music, woodworking, science fiction, and a new found interest in triathlons.

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Mr. James Neujahr - FVL High School Director

Mr. James Neujahr currently serves as the high school and FVL Schools Band director at FVL. At FVL he conducts the Marching Band, Pep Band, Symphonic Band, Jazz Ensemble and various ensembles during the school year.

Mr. Neujahr is a 1980 graduate of FVL. He holds a B.S. in Education degree from Dr. Martin Luther College, New Ulm, Minnesota, and also a Master of Music - Conducting degree from the American Band College of Southern Oregon University. He has also received continuing education credits from Lawrence University, Vandercook College of Music, the University of Miami (FL), and Viterbo University.

He very much enjoys attending the WMEA Convention in Madison and the Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic in Chicago on a regular basis. He is a member of WSMA, and in 2013 was honored to be inducted into the Wisconsin Bandmaster's Association. Mr. Neujahr also serves as the Executive Director of the Lutheran Vanguard of Wisconsin - an award-winning marching band consisting of students from 9 WELS area Lutheran high schools.

Mr. Neujahr's primary instrument is trombone.  He has performed with various local ensembles and community bands. He has been a trombone player with the Dorf Kapelle, a professional 17-piece ensemble playing the finest authentic folk music of Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and the Czech Republic. He was also a long-time member of the Fond du Lac Symphonic Band, and has played with the Wisconsin Symphonic Winds. He is a member of Mount Olive Lutheran Church, Appleton. He truly enjoys spending time with his family and his grandchildren.