Wausau Lyric Choir

About Wausau Lyric Choir

The Wausau Lutheran Choir was founded in 1972 by Lowell Larson as an adult vocal ensemble specializing in the performance of sacred music. Drawing on an enthusiastic membership from Luther congregations, the Choir quickly earned renown for excellent performances, especially in the music of F. Melius Christiansen. Under the leadership of Mr. Larson, the choir toured the upper Midwest, performing in Minnesota, Indiana, Iowa, and throughout Wisconsin. During this time, the Choir recorded seven albums for public distribution.

With the Spring Concert of 1981, Lowell Larson's tenure came to a close. He was succeeded by Phillip Buch, a Wausau native (and former high school student of Mr. Larson), who went on the study choral conducting with Robert Fountain at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In the spring of 1985, the Choir was one of nine chosen nationwide to appear with the American Symphony Orchestra at the Lincoln Performing Arts Center in New York City. In addition to its traditional concerts in Wausau and the region, Phillip Buch led the Choir in its first performance abroad.

In 1987, the Choir was selected as one of three choirs representing the United States in a performance of Verdi's Requiem with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in London's Royal Festival hall. During Mr. Buch's nine-year tenure as Director, the Choir routinely sang to capacity houses, produced two record albums, and was invited to perform with the American Symphony Orchestra and the Central Wisconsin Symphony Orchestra.

Dr. David Saladino, Director of choral Music at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, was the Choir's director for the 1990-1991 concert season. During his brief tenure with the group, Dr. Saladino brought a classical flair to the Choir's repertoire. He left the area in 1991 to pursue career opportunities elsewhere.

Dr. Eric Townell, Director of the Central Wisconsin Symphony Orchestra, became the Choir's fourth director in the fall of 1991. With his background in classical music and the orchestra, Dr. Townell expanded the Choir's repertoire by combining with the Central Wisconsin Symphony and other small orchestral groups for performances. Planning for a European tour, a new recording and the Summer Serenade was begun during his tenure.

In 1995-96, the name of the group was changed to the Wausau Lyric Choir to reflect the ecumenical nature of its membership and supporters. Larry Brandenburg was chosen as the Choir's fifth director. As Minister of Music for First Presbyterian Church, Wausau, he brought a strong background in sacred musical literature to the group. In his first season, Mr. Brandenburg produced a CD recording and prepared the Choir for its European tour. In June 1996 the Choir performed concerts during a tour of Germany, Austria, and the Czech Republic. During the 1997-98 season, the Choir celebrated its 25th anniversary and began sharing concerts with other local arts groups. The choir has performed with the Odyssey Brass, Allegro Dance Company, Wausau Pro Musica, Wausau Conservatory of Music Choraliers, and the Wausau Symphonic Band. In the spring of 1999, the Wausau Lyric Choir became a member of the Performing Arts Foundation. Also in 1999, the choir produced its second CD and eleventh recording.

Ann Applegate joined the choir as its accompanist in 1995. She is an artist and instructor of piano at the Wausau Conservatory of Music and a faculty member at the University of Wisconsin-Marathon County.

In the fall of 2000, the choir was pleased to name Lucinda Thayer as its sixth director. She is the director of choral music at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, and the past president of the Wisconsin Choral Directors Association. Ms. Thayer has extensive choral experience at the university level and professional level. During her tenure, the choir has given two complete performances of Handel's Messiah, has collaborated with the Monteverdi Master Chorale in a performance of Mozart's C Minor Mass and has invited area school groups to join them in concerts. The choir was invited to perform for the convention of the Wisconsin Choral Directors Association. In fall, 2006 the choir has commissioned a work by composer Gwyneth Walker and plans to commission other composers in the near future.

The Choir toured Italy in June of 2001, participating in a music festival in Genoa, as well as performing concerts in Rome and Rapallo. In January of 2004, the Choir was invited to sing at the North Central division convention of the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA) in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. The Wausau Lyric Choir was the only choir from Wisconsin represented at that convention.

Lucinda J. Thayer is currently Professor of Music and Director of Choral Activities at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. In the fall of 2000 she was named Music Director of the Wausau Lyric Choir. This adult community choir is dedicated to excellence in the performance of sacred choral literature. In June, 2001 the WLC traveled to Italy to give concerts in Rome and at the International Choral Festival in Genoa. The choir was chosen to perform for the 2004 North Central ACDA convention in Sioux Falls, SD. The group made concert tours to England and Wales in July, 2004. France in June, 2009 and Canada in June, 2014. She retired as conductor of that choir in June, 2015. Read more...

Return to "Who We Are"