For more than 40 Years, the Wausau Conservatory of Music in Wausau, Wisconsin, has been dedicated to bringing music education to everyone in our community.

We started in 1981, when piano teacher Bellamy Holser gathered music teachers together to create a Conservatory dedicated to providing a higher level of training for area musicians. The first year, they taught 138 students in the former Performing Arts Foundation building at 407 Scott Street. 

It wasn’t until 1987 that the Conservatory found a permanent home in the former St. Mary’s convent, next to the church’s rectory. The Convent, originally built in 1898, housed the sisters of the St. Mary’s Church.

With more space, the Conservatory could start expanding its offerings. The Conservatory grew further in 1994, when WCM merged with the Wausau Area Suzuki Institute adding 125 Suzuki students , expanding the Conservatory’s student population to 250 students.

By 1996, the Conservatory had outgrown the convent and needed an expanded studio and rehearsal space, and a performance hall. A capital campaigned by Executive Director George Tepping, raised over $1.4 million dollars to build a north wing that accommodated more than 700 students and 25 faculty members. Additionally, the late Caroline S. Mark contributed to the capital project and creating an endowment to support operations in perpetuity. We continue to honor Caroline Mark’s legacy through the many performances held in the 156-seat Caroline S. Mark Concert Hall.

Today WCM reaches over 3,000 individuals annually through private instruction, classes and ensembles, summer camps, concerts, recitals, events, and community programs. WCM has expanded programming beyond the walls of the Conservatory into the public schools, and in community partner venues. 

WCM has more than 20 artist faculty who specialize in their instrument and other fields including music theory, history, and jazz. Thousands of students have experienced the joy of music, and hundreds have continued to pursue music in higher education, inspired by their journey here at the Conservatory.  

Wausau Conservatory of Music remains a musical center in the central Wisconsin community where students of any age can perform, collaborate, learn, and excel. We remain steadfast in our commitment to offer all students opportunities to learn and explore music and the arts. 

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