University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee

Youth Music Ensembles (UWAY)


Play among the BEST in the MIDWEST

The UW-Milwaukee Youth Wind Ensemble (UWAY) and Youth Percussion Program provide the region's finest woodwind, brass, and percussion students the opportunity to rehearse and perform the best of traditional and contemporary repertoire in an artistic environment with other exceptionally talented musicians. Students are led by artist-faculty from UW-Milwaukee, and work closely with other musical members of the university community.

The Youth Percussion Ensemble (primarily grades 10-12) will serve as the percussion section for the Youth Wind Ensemble. Members will rehearse on campus on Tuesdays evenings from 6:00pm-6:50pm and join the Wind Ensemble to rehearse full band literature from 7:00pm-8:45pm. This select group of 6-7 players will study and perform a wide variety of standard and contemporary percussion ensemble literature with a focus on world music, African drumming, jazz percussion, improvisation, and composition.

The Youth Percussion Project (primarily grades 8-10) is a new group for 2015 and offers developing players the opportunity to improve their skills on a variety of percussion instruments. Students will study large scale traditional works, perform in a variety of keyboard and mixed ensembles, compose and improvise, and experience the role percussion plays in cultures around the world. Rehearsals will take place on Tuesday evenings from 7:00-8:00pm.

Fall 2015 Chair Placement Auditions | Eligibility | Fees | Auditions | RehearsalsConductors | Concert Dates | Supporters

Fall Chair Placement Auditions (see schedule below)

UWAY Chair Placement Audition Schedule Sunday, August 30, 2015
Zelazo Center for the Performing Arts
2419 E. Kenwood Ave. Milwaukee, WI

Check-in for auditions will be held in Room 335 at the Zelazo Center for the Performing Arts. Each audition will last approximately 6 minutes and it is important for you to be available for your instrument group as outlined below. You should also allow enough time to warm-up before the start of each audition block.

Please prepare all of the excerpts for the audition. As a reminder, this is NOT an audition for acceptance to the program, you have already been accepted to UWAY. The purpose of this audition is to assign parts for the repertoire we will be preparing for our concerts. Percussionists should note the special instructions for their audition. If you have any questions, please contact me directly at

Click on your instrument to print instructions and excerpts.
Alto Sax
Bari Sax
Bass Clarinet
French Horn
Tenor Sax
The first excerpt is a movement from Prelude, Siciliano and Rondo by Malcolm Arnold, arr. by John Paynter and the second excerpt is Ignition by Todd Stalter. You can find recordings of these works on the internet. You will also be asked to perform at least one major scale (including keys of to four sharps and four flats).

Fall Placement Audition Schedule for Sunday, August 30, 2015

1:00 - 2:00
2:00 - 2:20
2:20 - 2:35
2:45 - 3:45
Clarinets/Bass Clarinets
3:45 - 4:45
Alto Sax, Tenor Sax, Bari Sax                                                                    

1:00 -1:35   Horns
1:45 – 2:30   Trumpets
2:40 - 3:30 
3:30 – 4:15   Tuba, Euphonium                                                                                           

1:00 – 2:30
All percussionists playing in the youth wind ensemble should prepare a snare drum solo (or excerpt) AND a short selection on at least one other instrument such as timpani, xylophone, marimba, or vibes. You may choose your own music, but select excerpts that best represent your musicianship and technique. 
Note for students in the Percussion Project:
The placement audition is only for students assigned to the youth wind ensemble. Students participating in the Percussion Project are not required to attend the Fall Placement Auditions on Sunday, August 30.  Percussion Project students should plan to attend the orientation program on Tuesday evening, September 1, at 6:30pm in Bader Concert Hall located in the Zelazo Center for the Performing Arts.


Student Eligibility

Students may be a part of UWAY by qualifying through the annual spring (May) auditions. Members of the UWAY program must also be enrolled in and remain active with some aspect of their school’s music program.

The UWM Youth Wind Ensemble is open to students entering grades 9 - 12 in Fall 2015.



We are pleased to announce that tuition for 2015-16 has been reduced to make the Youth Music Program more accessible and affordable for families and their students.
2015-16 Tuition information:

  • First-year UWAY or UJAY (Youth Jazz) students: $350 (a $50 reduction)
  • Returning UWAY or UJAY (Youth Jazz) students: $300 (a $50 reduction)
  • Youth Percussion Ensemble (UWAY fee covers participation in this ensemble)
  • Youth Percussion Project: $200

Students who participate in BOTH UWAY and UJAY: $250 per program for a total of $500 (a $100 reduction). Additional scholarships (fee reductions) are available. Information about qualifying for financial assistance is made available to students who are accepted through the spring audition process. Please contact Dr. Climer directly for more information.

Students accepted to the program will receive an Invitation Packet by June 15. Students must accept the invitation by submitting the fee (or portion of the fee) by July 15.


Spring 2015 Auditions

All new and returning students must schedule an audition for acceptance to one of the following programs; Youth Wind Ensemble (UWAY), Youth Percussion Ensemble, Youth Percussion Project.

Audition Process

1. Choose an audition date and location (see below).
2. Schedule your audition using the online Audition Form
3. Double check audition requirements below
4. Prepare and perform your scheduled audition
5. Receive notification by June 15
6. If accepted, return registration fee by July 15

Audition Location & Dates

Monday, May 11 Nathan Hale HS Band Room 3:30-5:30pm
Monday, May 11 Arrowhead HS Band Room 3:00-5:00pm
Tuesday, May 12 Oak Creek High School 3:30-5:30pm
Tuesday, May 12 UW-Milwaukee Zelazo Center 6:00-8:00pm
Wednesday, May 13 Germantown High School Band Room 3:30-5:30pm
Monday, May 18 Muskego HS Band Room 3:30-5:30pm
Monday, May 18 Cedarburg HS Band Room 3:30-5:30pm
Tuesday, May 19 UW-Milwaukee Zelazo Center 6:00-8:00pm
Wednesday, May 20 Menomonee Falls HS Band Room

If the dates and times listed above conflict with your schedule, a special audition time may be arranged by calling the UW-Milwaukee Band Office at:  414.229.5641

Audition Requirements

Woodwinds and Brass

1. A two octave chromatic scale beginning on a note of your choice. You may perform more than two octaves if you wish. Perform the scale in eighth-notes at the tempo of approximately quarter-note equals 112, legato ascending, staccato descending.

2. A slow, lyrical section of a solo or etude demonstrating expressive capabilities and musicianship (2-3 minutes max)

3. A technical section of a solo or etude demonstrating facility and technique (2-3 minutes max)


A performance evaluation/audition is required for acceptance to the Youth Wind Ensemble/Youth Percussion Ensemble and the Youth Percussion Project

All percussionists must prepare a snare drum solo (or snare drum excerpt) of their choice AND a short selection on at least one other instrument such as timpani, xylophone, marimba or vibes. You may choose your own music, but select excerpts that best represent your musicianship and technique.  Prepare 6-8 minutes of music for the audition.



All rehearsals take place on Tuesday nights from 6:30-8:45 pm at UWM’s Zelazo Center for the Performing Arts (2419 E. Kenwood Blvd.)

Youth Wind Ensemble
Tuesday, 6:30pm-8:45pm

Youth Percussion Ensemble (primarily grades 10-12)
Tuesdays, 6:00pm-6:50pm and with the Wind Ensemble, 7:00pm-8:45pm.

Youth Percussion Project (primarily grades 8-10)
Tuesdays, 7:00pm-8:00pm.



climer3_prefered_webJohn Climer is Director of University Bands and Professor of Music at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s Peck School of the Arts. At UW-Milwaukee, John oversees all aspects of the band program, guides the graduate wind conducting area, and serves as conductor of the Wind Ensemble, the University’s premiere wind band. He is also serving as Music Director of UWM’s Youth Wind Ensemble program. Before his appointment in Milwaukee, he served for fourteen years as Director of Bands at Ohio University.

As a guest conductor and clinician, Dr. Climer has led performances at numerous festivals, universities, and concert venues including the Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the Eastman School of Music, and the Rocky Mountain Music Festival among others. Ensembles under his direction have performed for four conferences of the College Band Directors National Association including the 2013 National Conference in Greensboro, North Carolina, the North Dakota Music Educators Association, the Ohio Music Educators Association (1996, 1999, 2002, 2005, 2008), the Wisconsin State Music Conference, and the Society of Composers Inc. This summer the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Wind Ensemble will perform at the 16th International Conference of the World Association for Symphonic Bands and Ensembles in San Jose, CA.

John is the recipient of the Ohio University School of Music Distinguished Teaching Award, the Ohio University College of Fine Arts Outstanding Teacher Award, and in 2007, he received the Outstanding Music Educator Alumni Award from the University of Akron. He is currently President of the North Central Division of the College Band Directors National Association and the former Editor of the Report, an online publication for members of CBDNA. He is a contributing author for the Teaching Music Through Performance in Band series and his professional memberships include Phi Kappa Phi, Pi Kappa Lambda, Kappa Kappa Psi, Phi Beta Mu, the College Band Directors National Association, and the World Association for Symphonic Band and Ensembles. His biography is published in the third edition of Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers.

Climer earned degrees from the University of Akron, the University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music and the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory of Music. His principal conducting teachers were Gary W. Hill and Terence Milligan, and he studied trombone with Edward Zadrozny, Tony Chipurn, and John Leisenring. He has served on the faculties of Ohio University, the University of North Dakota, Ohio Northern University, and Emory University (Atlanta, GA) where he also served as the conductor of the Atlanta Youth Wind Symphony.

john_woger_colorJohn Woger is the Director of Bands at Menomonee Falls High School in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin, having served the district since 1990.  He has also served as the K-12 Music Department Chair and Curriculum Chair for the Menomonee Falls School District. Mr. Woger conducts the Freshman Band, Symphonic Band, Jazz Ensemble and Marching Band.  The excellence of the Menomonee Falls Band program was honored by being named the first runner up for the American School Band Directors Association Dale C. Harris Exemplary Band Award and being recognized as a Grammy Signature School. The Menomonee Falls Bands and Jazz Ensembles have participated in clinics with many of the finest names in music education.  Guest clinicians include The Millar Brass Ensemble with Vincent Chichowicz, The United States Navy Brass Quintet, Dennis DiBlasio, The Dallas Brass, The Third Street Brass and Doc Severinsen. The Menomonee Falls district has also been active in commissioning five new works for band.  TheWisconsin Alliance of Composers selected the North Symphonic Band, under Mr. Woger’s direction, for the Youth Commissioning Project in 2006.

Mr. Woger is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee with a Bachelor of Fine Arts.  Mr. Woger has had the privilege of conducting at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Honors Band festival in both 2000 and 2003.  He has also served as the Principal Conductor for the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Youth Wind Ensemble II (UWAY II).  He was honored with the Civic Music Association of Milwaukee Certificate of Excellence in Instrumental Music in 2009, the Herb Kohl Teacher Fellowship in 1999, the Milwaukee Symphony Recognition for Excellence in Instrumental Music (2009), the Menomonee Falls North PTSA Teacher of the Year Award in 1996 and 2005 and the Superintendent’s Child Advocacy Award in 2006.  He is listed in Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers, Who’s Who In America and The National Honor Rolls Outstanding Teachers. In June of 2011, Mr. Woger was inducted into the Menomonee Falls School District Fine Arts Wall of Fame. 

Mr. Woger is an accomplished trumpeter and has performed with many groups including the Wisconsin Wind Orchestra, The Waukesha Area Symphonic Band, The Bach Chamber Choir Orchestra, and many jazz ensembles throughout the Milwaukee area. Mr. Woger is also active as a guest conductor, composer, lecturer and clinician.

mike_neumeyerMichael Neumeyer is a versatile musician, educator, and composer from Southeastern Wisconsin.  In 2007, he graduated with a Bachelor of Music from The University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, where he studied voice, percussion, and music education with Dr. Robert Peavler, Robert Rosen, and Dr. Judy Bond, respectively.  During this time, Michael also studied conducting with Dr. Brendan Caldwell and composition with Dr. Charles Rochester Young.  In 2011, Michael earned a Master of Music Degree in Instrumental Conducting from The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee where he studied with Dr. John Climer.  While at UW-Milwaukee, Michael also studied percussion with Carl Storniolo and composition with Dr. Keith Carpenter and Steve Nelson-Raney.

Michael is the front ensemble caption head with The Oak Creek Marching Knights (2014 State Champions) and works with the Oak Creek-Franklin School District in various music coaching capacities.  Michael has worked with schools and groups as a percussion instructor including Cudahy High School, The Lighthouse Brigade, and Whitefish Bay High School and has presented as a clinician in Wisconsin, Illinois and Washington.  Michael currently teaches a private studio of eight students who are learning percussion, voice, piano, trumpet, and guitar.  In addition to his teaching, Michael continues to perform marimba, vibraphone and piano at libraries, schools and private events and also plays vibraphone with the jazz fusion group, The Etherium Ensemble, and trumpet with Jaems Murphy’s Vedic Eden.

As a composer, Michael has written with one unique focus being marimba and voice. One of Michael’s marimba and voice works, The Power of Music, was used in a documentary called In Pursuit of Passion. His percussion ensemble works have been commissioned by The UWSP Percussion Ensemble, The Oak Creek Percussion Ensemble, and various groups in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Ohio and Washington.  Michael’s compositions have been published by C. Alan Publications and through self-publishing.  Recently, Michael composed Mikayla for euphonium and marimba duet (commissioned by Steven Darling) and Spaced In, commissioned by The Adna Pirate Percussion Ensemble in Chehalis, WA.  Currently, Michael is releasing recordings, including “Comprovisations,” a 3 volume collection of relaxing marimba solos.   


2015-16 Concert Dates

Sunday, October 18 at 3PM
Sunday, December 6 at 3PM
Sunday, February 28 at 3PM
Sunday, May 1 at 7:30PM


Our Supporters

National Board of Advisors

Dr. Gary Ciepluch (Cleveland Institute/Case Western Reserve Univ.)
Dr. John Climer (Univ. of Wisconsin-Milwaukee)
Prof. Thomas Dvorak (UWM Youth Music Founder/Prof. Emeritus, UWM)
Prof. Michael Haithcock (Univ. of Michigan)
Prof. Gary Hill (Arizona State Univ.)
Dr. Charles Meghini (VanderCook College)
Dr. Scott Stewart (Atlanta Youth Wind Symphony)

UWAY Board of Directors

Clayton Wachholz, Cedarburg High School
Tom Reifenberg, Greendale High School
Jacob Polancich, Hartland Arrowhead High School
John Woger, Menomonee Falls High School
Sharie Garcia, Milwaukee High School of the Performing Arts
James Beckman, Muskego High School
Amy Fuchs, Oak Creek High School
Jon Waite, Sussex Hamilton High School
Kristi Wicihowski, West Allis Nathan Hale High School
Rob Engl, Wauwatosa East High School (retired)