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Monthly Archives

September 2018

Making a Mark on Wausau

Making a Mark – Remember Caroline Mark on her birthday week (her 100th)!

Caroline Schumann Mark

Caroline has been described by some who knew her as “unassuming, but she was compassionate, powerful, a force of nature, a force for good.”  (In My Life: Caroline Mark, Kathy Riordan, March 15, 2009)

The young Caroline Schumann from Montclair, N.J and Alice Woodson of Wausau met at school near Washington, DC and formed an enduring friendship. In succeeding years Caroline came west to visit Alice. She liked the community, and in 1956, Caroline and her husband William decided to resettle their family in Wausau, Wisconsin.

Although she was an heiress to family fortune (her father was the president of the General Motors Acceptance Corporation and her grandfather a founder of IBM), Caroline chose to become engaged in purposeful philanthropy, and used her wealth to inspire and spur action in the community she called home.

Making a Mark on Wausau

Caroline and Bill Marks with their children. Photo courtesy of Marathon Co. Historical Society Bob Geisel Collection.

Caroline and her husband, Bill, came to Wausau because they recognized that they could make a difference. She soon found ways to get involved in the community. Deep belief in service and giving, combined with her drive and vision, quickly made her a community leader. She served on the boards of numerous organizations around the Wausau area, as well as the foundations she and her family established. Their family foundations were great patrons of music education, medical research and environmental projects. Additionally, many organization in Wausau have received substantial gifts from them: Community Foundation of North Central Wisconsin, Boys and Girls Club of Wausau, Wausau Symphony and Band, United Way, Red Cross, North Central Technical College, Marathon Co. Historical Society, Wausau Hospital, Women’s Community and North Central Health Foundation.

Investing for Future Generations

Caroline Mark joined the board of the Wausau Conservatory of Music shortly after it was founded in 1981. As the school enrollment grew, the Conservatory needed a dedicated building to be the first school. Mrs. Marks and other community leaders raised money to acquire the Seymour Street property in 1988. In 1992, she pledged $500,000 to start an endowment fund for the Conservatory, and challenged the community to match her pledge to create the Wausau Conservatory of Music Endowment Fund.   This endowment has made it possible for countless students to receive a quality music education, and continues to support music today.   In 1998, she provided a leadership gift to encourage others to join her in building the 11,900 square-foot addition which led to more teaching studios and the concert hall that proudly bears her name.

The Conservatory’s First School 1988

Students and faculty gathered in front of the first Conservatory School at 404 Seymour Street in 1988. In 1986 the enrollment had grown to over 280 students, prompting the purchase of the school in 1987 and a yearlong renovation.


New Addition Opens 1997

Pianist Edwardus Halim and the late Caroline Mark at the dedication of the new building in 1997. Mrs. Mark invested in the future of the Conservatory by supporting the purchase of the first building and substantial donations for the addition.

Caroline S. Mark Concert Hall

Caroline’s frequently shared this:

” The Greatest Obligation of Freedom is the Voluntary Assumption of Responsibility.”  Montclair Junior League

Announcing the NEW Wausau Conservatory Choirs!

Announcing the NEW Wausau Conservatory Choirs!

A dynamic new choral program has been launched for the youth of our area by the Wausau Conservatory of Music Choral Department. The Wausau Conservatory Choirs provide new opportunities that help develop a love in choral musicianship not found anywhere else in the area. Along with the joy of singing with others, we offer fun and interactive programming that enhances the experience through music education in vocal technique, music theory, and understanding of multiple types of music. As voice and musical abilities grow, so will confidence, discipline and opportunities to use these skills in other avenues in school and the community!

The choral team led by Dr. Judith Durocher Sidlowski includes:  Mr. Joshua Olson as Artistic Director and director for the Intermezzo Choir and Mrs. Tiffany Bucheger as Assistant Artistic Director and director of the Poco Voce Choir. Both come from the music department in the Merrill School District. Olson graduated in vocal and instrumental music from the musically-renowned Luther College in Iowa. Bucheger graduated from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse in general and choral music. Pianist Mr. Michael Fischer, a graduate with a Masters from New England Conservatory will accompany the choirs and teach theory. The region is extremely fortunate to have such talented choral directors.

Through the generosity of a Community Arts Grant from the Community Foundation of Northcentral Wisconsin, these new choral programs are now available to youth grades 3-8 who love to sing in central and northern Wisconsin.

Two ensembles:

Poco Voce: for students 3rd-5th Grades and rehearses Wednesdays from 5-6:30 pm.

Intermezzo: for students 6th-8th grades and rehearses Wednesdays 6-7:30 p.m.


For placement in one of the choirs, a simple audition is required. No preparation necessary. You will be asked to do some simple listening and singing exercises by the directors to determine voice and ability level to start out.

Auditions will start at 1 p.m. Sept. 23.   Contact the Conservatory to schedule an audition time for your child. 715.845.6279 x0

The semester tuition is $159 per group.   Tuition assistance will be available from a generous donor, allowing more students to partake in this exciting new program!

Early Child Classes Start next week

Music Together  and Music Explorers preschool programs start next week.  They are perfect classes for a parent or caregiver and one or two preschoolers.  There are openings in both classes.

 Music Explorers is taught by Ann Applegate and has been a long running program that is especially designed for future pianists.  The class gives the option of short piano lessons when the students are ready.  The class meets on Friday mornings.

Music Together, an internationally recognized early childhood music program for infants, toddlers and preschoolers – and the adults who love them.  Music Together is an evidence-based, developmentally appropriate  early childhood music program based on the recognition that all  children are musical. All children can learn to sing in tune, keep a  beat and participate with confidence with early supports in that learning.   Together with parents and/or caregivers, the program provides a rich musical environment in the classroom and adding in musical activities to take home for family participation.   The 10 week Music Together program (Fiddle) is taught by Angela Sedrak at Wausau Conservatory of Music starting Wednesday, September 12, 2018, 10 am – 11 am.   This year’s 10 week classes are:  Fiddle (fall), Drum (spring) Banjo (spring)

 Visit our website under ensembles and classes for more information. 

Register quickly to ensure a space and materials in this fun, enriching class for the family!