Welcome to our new web site!

To give our readers a chance to experience all that our new website has to offer, we have made all content freely avaiable, through October 1, 2018.

During this time, print and digital subscribers will not need to log in to view our stories or e-editions.

Wisconsin native named CMU Director of Bands

Justin Addison, Editor/Publisher
Posted 4/2/24

Central Methodist University has found its newest director of bands, and for Wisconsin native Kara Metzger, landing the job is a childhood dream come true.

“I knew I wanted to be a band …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

Wisconsin native named CMU Director of Bands


Central Methodist University has found its newest director of bands, and for Wisconsin native Kara Metzger, landing the job is a childhood dream come true.

“I knew I wanted to be a band director from the time I was in seventh grade, so I’m living my dream right now. Very much so,” said Metzger, who will be filling the role most recently held on a non-interim basis by Prof. Roy “Skip” Vandelicht ’77 before his retirement.

Since Vandelicht’s retirement last year, the position has been filled on an interim basis by Dr. Dori Waggoner ’92, Central’s dean of the Swinney Conservatory. But Waggoner is delighted to have the opportunity to hand over the baton to an energetic new director.

“Prof. Metzger has a passion for teaching and performing concert, marching, and jazz music, and her detail-oriented approach to planning festivals and tours will serve CMU students well,” said Waggoner. “We look forward to having her join our community of musician-scholars.”

Metzger says her journey in music began all the way back in her childhood when she asked her parents if she could play marching band with her friends at her fourth birthday party. As she grew older, she liked to follow around a marching band that rehearsed over the summer in her hometown of Waukesha, Wis., and from there, the passion only grew.

“I always knew it was something I wanted to do, to be involved in music, and my first opportunity to do that in the school setting was in fourth grade when I joined orchestra,” she said. “The rest is history. Almost all my free time has been dedicated to band.”

Metzger continued her musical education throughout school, eventually earning a Bachelor of Music Education from the University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire and a Master of Music in Music Education from the University of Minnesota - Duluth. She is currently on track to complete her Doctor of Musical Arts in Wind Conducting from the University of Iowa in May.

On her path to becoming Central’s director of bands, Metzger has been gaining experience as a director and instructor at Grinnell College and the University of Iowa, as well as a teacher at the middle and high school levels. She also has extensive involvement with Drum Corps International (DCI) as a musician, drum major, and instructor.

Metzger says DCI has “been described as ‘marching band on steroids,’” and her involvement in the engaging and entertaining shows put on by DCI’s Colts and Colt Cadets gives her a unique history to bring to an already historic marching band at Central Methodist.

“I really enjoy being energetic in what I do and being passionate about what I do,” she said. “Hopefully, I will be able to bring a bit of modern flair into the marching band.”

While she hopes to bring her own spin to the bands, Metzger says she is excited by the school’s reputation and the quality of the musicians already making up the Sound of Central.

“The band has a really good quality of sound; it has really good musicians already in it,” she said. “Just keeping that level and pushing onto whatever the next level may be is really exciting for a new collegiate educator.”

Metzger added that she is also looking forward to joining a faculty that is “family-oriented and very collaborative” and that it is both exciting and “a little bit” intimidating to come into a role that has such a storied history.

“There’s always a little bit of intimidation when a school has loved its past directors, and I don’t want to be something that the ensembles or the institution doesn’t want me to be,” said Metzger, who now follows in the footsteps of celebrated Central directors like K.K. Anderson, Ken and Nancy Seward, Paul Montemurro, Keith House, and Skip Vandelicht. “But we also know that I’m a different person, and I will always be a different person than those people. So, hopefully, I will keep that legacy going while also adding my own twist. That’s the goal.”

Metzger is expected to attend several alumni events over the spring and summer, including the Alumni Band event on June 8, before getting started with the bands in earnest for the fall semester.


No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here