The campus and community music traditions at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville Baraboo Sauk County will continue as both the Concert Band and choir programs welcome new leadership.
Griffin James, band director at Baraboo High School and a longtime player and occasional guest conductor of the campus’ Concert Band, will formally take over as the group’s leader and instructor this fall. Dan Krunnfusz, who has led choral programs around Wisconsin and the world, will take over the Campus and Community Choir. Both programs provide a credit option for students to play and sing, as well as a place for community members to participate in rehearsals and performances throughout the year.
“Music and the arts are a traditional cornerstone of what Boo-U brings to Baraboo and Sauk County,” said Dr. Steve Swallen, UW-Platteville Baraboo Sauk County campus director. “I’m very pleased Griffin and Dan have agreed to join the campus staff and lead these groups.”
James has been a band director in the Baraboo School District for 12 years – four years at Jack Young Middle School and eight years at Baraboo High School – and has deep connections in the local music scene, through school groups, a polka band he leads, and his service as the current president of the Baraboo Theatre Guild. He plans to continue having the Concert Band perform a wide-ranging concert at the end of each semester and is also hoping for other opportunities for the group to perform, while seeking broad inspirations to focus the band’s repertoire.
“I like to find music that tells a story and that shows intention when you choose to learn it and play it – not just music that sounds cool. Although that’s essential, too,” James said.
Krunnfusz directed the Madison Boy Choir for 14 years and has directed both school and community choirs around the country for more than three decades. He’s been a member of the Campus and Community Choir at Baraboo Sauk County, and is eager to take on leadership of the group.
“I think there’s a lot of great music the choir is ready for, and that I’ll be excited to bring forward,” said Krunnfusz, who said he hopes to grow the choir’s membership, including getting more students and new singers to participate.
Susan Lappin, who is the group’s primary accompanist and rehearsal pianist, will be continuing with the choir, and rehearsals will remain on campus one evening each week. Krunnfusz also hopes to continue expanding the selections to include other instrumentations, such as brass, percussion, guitar and more.
“There are so many talented musicians in the area, and we hope to bring them together to explore even more music,” said Krunnfusz.
The Concert Band will continue to rehearse on campus on Monday nights from 6:30-8:30 p.m. during the fall and spring semesters. The Campus and Community Choir will also meet at the campus on Tuesday evenings from 6-8 p.m.