Connect with us


Conductor “wannabe” competition starts for La Crosse Symphony Orchestra



La Crosse Symphony Orchestra "Wannabe" conductor candidate Courtney Lokken brought hockey equipment to a March 20, 2024, news conference (PHOTO: Brad Williams).

It’s campaign season in La Crosse for a yearly honor, involving the performing arts.

The “wannabe” conductor competition for the La Crosse Symphony Orchestra has started with six candidates ready to collect donations in hopes of leading the musicians at a May concert.

Eva Marie Restel, executive director of the La Crosse Symphony, said at a Wednesday news conference the conductor contest helps orchestra audiences become familiar with charity groups around town.

Restel added that the wannabes do not need any prior conducting experience to pick up the baton.

“They don’t have to have any musical talents, ” Restel said, “but if they win, the two winners, they do have a lesson with (LSO conductor) Alexander Platt the night before.”

Candidates for guest conductor of the La Crosse Symphony gathered on March 20, 2024 to promote the “wannabe” contest (PHOTO: Brad Williams)

The conductor candidates this year are:

  • Courtney Lokken, raising money for River City Youth Hockey
  • Nyhus Schaffer, for Chariots 4 Hope, Wisconsin
  • Michael Scott, for the Parenting Place Diaper Bank
  • Shaundel Washington-Spivey, representing Black Leaders Acquiring Collective Knowledge (B.L.A.C.K.)
  • DeeAnn Romanowski and Britni Walz, for the EndAlz Fest Foundation

Each vote online or by phone will cost at least $2. Last year’s candidates raised over $80,000 in donations to their charities.

The top two finishers in the fundraising process will get to conduct the Symphony at its May 4 concert. The contest ends on April 29.

A native of Prairie du Chien, Brad graduated from UW - La Crosse and has worked in radio news for more than 30 years, mostly in the La Crosse area. He regularly covers local courts and city and county government. Brad produces the features "Yesterday in La Crosse" and "What's Buried on Brad's Desk." He also writes the website "Triviazoids," which finds odd connections between events that happen on a certain date, and he writes and performs with the local comedy group Heart of La Crosse. Brad been featured on several national TV programs because of his memory skills.

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *