Conductor: Dr. Norman Wika

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Dr. Norman Wika currently serves as the Director of Bands at Saginaw Valley State University, where he directs the Cardinal Marching Band and conducts the Wind Ensemble and Concert Band. Additionally, he teaches conducting and music theory.  Prior to joining the faculty at SVSU, Dr. Wika taught at Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, OK and Providence College in Providence, RI.  He holds a Doctor of Musical Arts in Conducting and a Master of Music in Music Education from the University of Connecticut, where he conducted the Wind Ensemble and Orchestra.  He holds a Bachelor of Music in Music Education from the University of Miami.  Prior to pursuing graduate studies, Dr. Wika was a high school band director in the south Florida area.   

Dr. Wika has presented research at the Texas Music Educators Association Conference, the Michigan Music Conference, and the College Music Society.  He has made conducting appearances with the Tulsa Camerata and the Classic Brass Band, Willimantic, CT.  He is also an active trombone player, giving recitals and appearing with ensembles such as the Tulsa Symphony and the Saginaw Bay Symphony Orchestra.

Associate Conductor: Karen Welser

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Karen M. Welser has lived in Midland with her family for the past 25 years.  She is currently on staff with the Midland High School Chemic Band and loves encouraging students to stretch themselves musically, to try new things, reminding them to always take risks and step out of the box to be better.  Karen grew up playing the flute and piano and has continued indulging in her love for music. She has played in many groups throughout the years including Midland Concert Band, Chemical City Band, flute choirs, and also at weddings and in church.  She has also played percussion in many of those groups and has performed with The Resonators Adult Percussion Ensemble.

Karen’s love for music started in her home as a young child with her mother being the church choir director and father singing for over 50 years.

Karen would like to recognize Mr. Greg Smokovitz, retired director of Bullock Creek High School Band. He saw potential in her and invited her to come to band camp as a flute coach in 2006.  His encouragement and guidance started the journey to becoming a paraprofessional assisting students in band class, a private flute teacher, and ultimately the director of the Mid Michigan Brass Band.