Designed for Growth and Learning
The MYSO Wind Ensemble program is an ensemble for woodwind, brass, and percussion musicians. The students learn and play high-level wind ensemble literature.
Some of the more advanced Wind Ensemble players may be invited to work with Sinfonia during the second half of the season, to rehearse and perform full orchestra repertoire in the Sinfonia Philharmonic.
This is an excellent opportunity for young wind, brass, and percussion players to broaden their musical exposure, gain playing time, and more!
At a Glance
- 60 musicians
- Rehearsals generally on Thursday evenings
- Most students are in middle school or early high school
- Music Director: Mr. Andrew Hacker
The Wind Ensemble Staff
Thomas Dvorak is Professor Emeritus/Director of Bands at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, where he served as Professor and Director of Bands from 1979 until his retirement in 2007. He served as Music Director of Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra’s Wind Ensemble from the ensemble’s inception in 1988 until 2018. He currently serves as the organization’s Conductor Laureate.
Professor Dvorak has had a very distinguished career, appearing as a conductor/guest lecturer in 29 states as well as Canada, Europe, Japan and Australia. In November 2007, he served as the headliner/lecturer for the Manitoba Canada Province Music Educators Conference. He became the first American conductor to serve at the University of Lauceston’s Summer Music School in Tasmania, Australia, where he also performed as Principal Trumpet in the faculty brass quintet in 1994.
He has received numerous awards, including an “Outstanding Secondary Educator of America” award in 1974 for his distinguished work with the McFarland, WI, band program, and he has received the “Citation of Excellence” by the National Band Association six times for his achievements and contributions to bands. He has twice been honored by the prestigious American School Band Directors Association for lectures he has presented at two of their national conventions, in Duluth, MN, and in Brookfield, WI. His former conducting students now hold prominent positions in our nation’s middle and high schools, college and professional conducting positions, with youth orchestras and with the United States Service Bands.
Professor Dvorak is the author of many articles concerning repertoire, composers and conducting. He is the senior author of a repertoire series for school bands entitled “Best Music for Beginning, for Middle School, and for High School Band.”
He has held offices as President and Vice-President in both the College Band Directors National Association and the National Band Association. His leadership and commitment to the profession have involved him in changing, promoting and elevating music education and performances for students and bands/wind ensembles of all ages, and at all levels of performance.
In September 2004, Professor Dvorak was honored by the Instrumentalist Magazine, with a cover photo and interview discussing his music making and philosophy of teaching. This past year, Professor Dvorak was honored by having a doctoral dissertation written on his life as a conductor and educator.
Researched and written by Dr. Scott Corley of the University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA, the dissertation is housed in the library collection at the University of Iowa.
In July 2014, he was honored with the Austin Harding outstanding achievement award for his contributions in the development of American school bands at the 60th annual convention of the American School Band Directors Association (ASBDA).
At UW-Milwaukee, a scholarship for music students bears his name, and each year a deserving freshman is awarded with this prestigious scholarship.
Andrew Hacker is Director of Instrumental Music and Music Department Manager at Menomonee Falls High School. As a community music advocate, he is the music director and conductor of the Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra Wind Ensemble. His previous teaching assignments were with Hartford Union High School, the Waukesha School District, and Waukesha Catholic School System.
Mr. Hacker is an active musician in the state of Wisconsin and frequently performs on tuba, bass trombone, and euphonium with a wide range of ensembles. He Is assistant conductor and principal tubist with the Milwaukee Philharmonic. In 2009, he was invited to lecture on the topic of “Improvisation Through Folk Wind Music” for the international convention of Gauverband Nordamerika and repeated this clinic at the 2011 and 2013 conferences. Mr. Hacker plays an active role in folk wind music in the Midwest and is the founder and music director of Blaskapelle Milwaukee, an 18-piece European-style wind ensemble. In 2007 and 2017, the Wisconsin Polka Hall of Fame inducted him into the organization for the Youth Achievement Award and Youth Mentor Award, respectively. In 2015, the Civic Music Association of Milwaukee named Mr. Hacker as Music Teacher of the Year and the University of Chicago recognized Mr. Hacker in 2020 through a student nomination for an “Outstanding Educator Award.”
Having studied at Carroll University and Cardinal Stritch University, Mr. Hacker holds a Bachelor’s degree in Music Education and a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership respectively. He is currently pursuing a Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA) degree in Music Education from Boston University. Mr. Hacker is a member of the National Association for Music Education, Phi Beta Mu – Wisconsin, and the Association of American Educators.