Lutheran Band Camp at Camp LuWiSoMo had its beginning during the schoolyear of l968-1969. The band directors from Milwaukee Lutheran High School, the newly opened Martin Luther High School, and the recently established Milwaukee Lutheran Elementary Band Program saw a band camp as an activity to promote musical growth and performance enjoyment in their music students. At the same time the relatively young Camp LuWiSoMo was looking for ways in which the Lutherans of the South Wisconsin District could utilize the camp’s facilities. Under the leadership of Michael Holtz, band director of Milwaukee Lutheran High School, and with the encouragement of Daniel Rieck, representative of Camp LuWiSoMo, plans moved forward. Consequently, Lutheran Band Camp became a reality during the week of August 17-23, 1969. David H. Krubsack, Director of Music at Martin Luther High School, served as the first Lutheran Band Camp conductor. Other faculty members included Michael Holtz and Lutheran elementary school band instructors Gary Lohmeyer and Delevan Schmidt. Thirty-six eager musicians from grades 5 to 10 enjoyed six days of band rehearsals and music classes, morning Bible studies and evening devotions, and recreational activities and Christian fellowship. When all was said and done, faculty and students alike agreed that Lutheran Band Camp was a total success and definitely should be continued.
During most of the 1970s the directors felt that two weeks of camp—one for elementary students and one for high school students would best serve the campers at their musical experience level. Therefore, the elementary camp included students in grades 5-9, and the high school camp included students in grades 8-12. Devotional topics, band music, and recreational activities were tailored for each of the two age levels. The plan worked well. Each year the campers enjoyed a fulfilling, productive and exciting camp experience. During this time enrollment for the first week grew from 26 to 49; enrollment for the second week grew from 17 to 39.
By the end of the 70s high school students were having a more difficult time attending camp because of driver’s education classes, summer jobs, and school athletic practices. At that time it seemed more practical to continue Lutheran Band Camp as a one-week activity involving students in grades 5 to 9. That plan was and continues to be a successful decision.
In 1979 and 1980 Lutheran Band Camp was moved to a different location. From 1981 to 1985 Lutheran Band Camp was not offered.
In 1986 Lutheran Band Camp at Camp LuWiSoMo was revived under the youthful and enthusiastic leadership of Kathryn Krubsack who had recently joined the faculty of the Milwaukee Lutheran Elementary Band Program. Camp curriculum and activities followed the effective and meaningful traditions of the earlier camps. Lutheran Band Camp continued to offer a one-week camp to students in grades 5 to 9. Bible studies and devotions, music theory classes and music appreciation classes, sectionals, ensembles, and full band rehearsals as well as recreational activities constituted the core of the program. From the initial 35 students in 1986 the camp’s enrollment grew, at times, to 100 plus students a week. Lutheran Band Camp became an important and valuable summer experience for instrumental music students. In 2010, Camp LuWiSoMo was not able to open for summer camps and for several years Lutheran Band Camp did not occur.
In 2014, there was a new beginning for Lutheran Band Camp. Jessica Kindschi Walter, Instrumental Director at Martin Luther High School, and Matthew Wolf, Instrumental Director at Milwaukee Lutheran High School (both former campers and counselors), brought Lutheran Band Camp back with much success. In 2015, Erica Rosebrock (another former camper and counselor) joined the team. In 2017, Mr. Wolf left the faculty, and Pastor Benjamin Schimm, theology and music teacher at Racine Lutheran High School, joined the Band Camp team. In 2019, Mr. Wolf returned as guest conductor while Mrs. Kindschi Walter was on maternity leave. While the faces have changed, the goal of the camp remains constant: bringing students a musical, educational, social and spiritual experience in a loving, family-like setting.
The Faculty and Staff
Over the years, the nucleus of the camp’s music faculty was the band directors from Martin Luther High School, Milwaukee Lutheran High School, and the Milwaukee Lutheran Elementary Band Program. The counseling/teaching staff—youthful, energetic, and musically experienced—was formed from the ranks of Lutheran elementary and high school teachers, Lutheran college and university students preparing for the teaching ministry or a career as a professional musician, and talented Lutheran high school students.
In addition, distinguished guest conductors who could offer expanded musical perspectives and motivate campers to a higher level of performance were invited to direct the camp band each summer. During the past these conductors included Quentin Marino of Concordia College (Ann Arbor, Michigan); Victor Hildner, Roger Gard, and Dr. Richard Fischer of Concordia University (Chicago, Illinois). From 1995-2009, Dr. Donald Krubsack, Band Director at Wayzata High School in Wayzata, Minnesota, served as guest conductor and skillfully led the campers through a week of enjoyable band experiences.
From 1986-2009, the faculty members who made up the core of the staff were Kathryn Krubsack, administrator and instructor; David Krubsack, Bible class leader and instructor; and Del Schmidt, instructor.
In 2014, Jessica Kindschi Walter and Matthew Wolf served as co-directors and teachers. In 2015, Erica Rosebrock joined the staff as teacher, and in 2017, co-directed with Mrs. Kindschi Walter. In 2017, Pastor Ben Schimm joined the staff as Bible class leader and teacher. In 2019, Mr. Wolf returned as guest conductor while Mrs. Kindschi Walter was on maternity leave. In 2020, Band Camp was not held due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Band Camp: Staycation 2021 will be held in a day camp format at Martin Luther High School in Greendale, WI.
The goal of the faculty and staff is to give each camper a musical, educational, social and spiritual experience and in a loving, family-like setting. For nearly 50 years, the Lord has blessed the camp’s efforts to attain these goals, and, with His guidance and grace, Lutheran Band Camp will continue to carry on its unique ministry to young instrumental musicians for many years to come.