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.

Auditions | Rehearsals | Fees | Concert Dates | EligibilityWho We Are | Philosophy | Our Supporters



SPRING AUDITIONS 2016-2017 The UWM Youth Wind Ensemble (UWAY) and Youth Percussion Program provide talented woodwind, brass, and percussion students the opportunity to perform exceptional repertoire in an artistic environment with other musicians who share a commitment to excellence. Rehearsals take place at UW-Milwaukee on Tuesday evenings from 6:30-8:45pm.

All students (returning and new) must qualify for membership by participating in the SPRING AUDITIONS.

1. Choose a date and location.

2. Schedule your audition:

3. Find the audition requirements below.
4. Prepare and perform your audition.

5. Notifications by June 15, 2016.


Monday, May 2
Muskego HS Band Room 3:00-5:00 pm
Tuesday, May 3 UW-Milwaukee Zelazo Center 6:00-8:00 pm
Wednesday, May 4 Menomonee Falls HS Band Room 3:30-6:30pm
Wednesday, May 4 Oak Creek HS Band Room 3:00-5:00pm
Thursday, May 5
Germantown HS Band Room 2:30-5:00pm
Monday, May 9
Arrowhead HS Band Room 3:00-5:00pm
Tuesday, May 10
UW-Milwaukee Zelazo Center 6:00-8:00pm
Monday, May 16
Nathan Hale HS Band Room 3:00-5:00pm

If the audition 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 (all new and returning students must schedule a performance evaluation/audition for acceptance to the program).

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)

Percussion (a performance evaluation/audition is required for acceptance to the Youth Wind Ensemble/Youth Percussion Ensemble) 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.  

Youth Percussion Ensemble (primarily students grades 10 - 11- 12).Students selected for the Youth Percussion Ensemble will serve as the percussion section for the Youth Wind Ensemble. Members will rehearse on their own 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.  



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

Youth Percussion Ensemble (primarily students grades 10 - 11 - 12)
Rehearsals: Tuesdays, 6:00pm-6:50pm and with the Wind Ensemble, 7:00pm-8:45pm.

Zelazo Center for the Performing Arts (2419 E. Kenwood Blvd.) top top



There will be no increases in tuition for the upcoming season.

2016-17 tuition will be:

First-year UWAY students: $350 ($50 reduction)
Returning UWAY students: $300 ($50 reduction)
Youth Percussion Ensemble (UWAY fee covers participation in this ensemble)


2016-17 Concert Dates

Sunday, October 16 at 3 PM
Sunday, December 4 at 3 PM
Tuesday, March 7 at 7:00 PM
Sunday, April 30 at 7:30 PM


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 2016.


Who We Are

The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Youth Wind Ensembles program (UWAY) is an out-reach program of the Peck School of the Arts Department of Music, and operated by the University Bands area. Professor Emeritus Thomas Dvorak founded the group in 1982 as the Greater Milwaukee Youth Wind Ensemble. Since then the program has become nationally and internationally recognized. The program is an integral co-curricular component of the Peck School of the Arts, and Youth Wind Ensemble participants have the opportunity to work with UWM Music Faculty and Staff, and gain the invaluable experience of furthering their musicianship by performing in a university setting. The Youth Wind Ensemble program works in cooperation with high school music programs, and relies on the support of school band directors and private teachers throughout Southeastern Wisconsin.

About the Conductors

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.   


Our Philosophy

The UWM Youth Wind Ensemble program (UWAY) is designed to supplement the instruction students receive from their school music programs and private teachers. Musical experiences include opportunities to perform symphonic and chamber wind-band repertoire with other exceptionally talented students from the region, being led and inspired by artist-faculty from UW-Milwaukee, and working closely with other musical members of the university community.


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

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)