Michael Halstenson, a native of North Dakota, is the principal conductor of the Lake Wobegon® Brass Band.
Mr. Halstenson studied music performance and composition at the University of North Dakota, Webster College in St. Louis, and the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis with composers Leigh Gerdine, William Boehle, Dominic Argento, Paul Fetler, Eric Stokes and Alex Lubet.
A prolific composer, Halstenson's works have been performed by many amateur and professional groups, including the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, the Minnesota Orchestra, the University of Minnesota Opera Theater, St. Olaf Band and others.
In addition, several of his compositions have sounded in Carnegie Hall, Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center and Tampere Hall, Finland. Halstenson's "Winger Trilogy" has been broadcast over Minnesota Public Radio in numerous St. Paul Orchestra programs.
In 1996 the Lake Wobegon® Brass Band premiered Halstenson's "The Hill Called VØerbjerg," which was the band's first major commission, and can be heard on their CD recording, "Bravura!"
Halstenson has served as the director of the North Suburban Band, North Suburban Chorale and Music Director at Peace Lutheran Church in Coon Rapids, Minnesota. He currently is the director of the Northern Symphony Orchestra and teaches at Anoka High School, where he directs the orchestra program and is music director of the school's theater program. Humbly, he inspires and mentors students - both past and present - as they develop their own performing, conducting, and composing skils.
Charles B. Olson, founding conductor of the Lake Wobegon® Brass Band, has been involved with bands in Minnesota for many years, conducting all levels, including elementary bands through adult bands. He now brings his conducting talents to the medium of the British Brass Band.
From 1978 to 1997 Mr. Olson was the director of the fine Bethel College Concert Band. At Bethel, he was coordinator of instrumental music and instructor of instrumental conducting; taught brass and woodwind pedagogies, introduction to music, jazz lab, music education, and instrumentation; supervised student teachers; and conducted the Concert Band, Jazz Ensemble, and the Chamber Wind Ensembles.
Upon earning a Bachelors of Science degree from St. Cloud State University, Mr. Olson taught in the Anoka Public Schools. While teaching at Anoka Senior High, his program earned a reputation throughout the Midwest as one of the state's top band programs. A Master of Arts degree was earned at the University of Northern Colorado, where he has also completed extensive graduate work. His conducting teachers include Dr. Frederick Fennell, Wayman Walker, Elizabeth Green, Gene Corporon, Craig Kirchhoff, and H. Robert Reynolds.
Mr. Olson is a sought-after clinician and conductor in the United States and Canada.