Judy Keene – Principal French Horn

Picture of Judy Keene

My name is Judy Keene, and I am principal French Horn in the MFSO.  I first started playing with the orchestra about 25 years ago. 

I have always enjoyed music, and I think this interest originated with my mother. Music had been a very important part of her life, and she played violin, marimba, and French horn.  Naturally she wanted to instill that love of music in her kids as well.  I started out playing piano. When I was old enough to play a wind instrument, I followed my mom’s lead and took up the French horn.  This was a decision I regretted in grade school when I had to carry the heavy case around!  In Junior High I began to appreciate the beautiful mellow sound of the instrument, and the way the horn fit into the ensemble. 

When I went off to college, I was specializing in the sciences. I wasn’t sure how much time I would be able to devote to music.  Initially, I decided that I was just going to play in the orchestra. But by the time I graduated, I was taking almost as many music credits as in my major.  Music had become such a key part of my life. I have continued to try to find a balance between the arts and sciences.

Currently, I work in the field of toxicology at ACL Laboratories, a part of Advocate Aurora Healthcare.  In my free time, I play in a number of musical ensembles. These include concert bands, brass groups, pit orchestras, and my favorite — the Menomonee Falls Symphony Orchestra.  I find playing in the orchestra both challenging and very rewarding.  The horn is often given independent and musically interesting parts which are really exciting to perform.  The four-part harmonies that can be produced by the full horn section are particularly fun to play. The teamwork involved makes it even more gratifying.  

There have been many memorable concerts with the MFSO. The one that stands out most was a performance of Mahler Symphony No. 1.  It is an amazing piece of music, and we had a great six-person horn section.  Playing with bells up at the end of the piece was literally a “blast.”  

The MFSO is also a special group to play with. It has had a close relation to the community over the years.  Highlights include the Armed Man performances on the anniversaries of 9/11, the Messiah sing-alongs, the Valentine’s Day concerts featuring local musicians, and the outdoor Falls Fest performances.  The orchestra has always programmed music that appeals to everyone. Mike and some of the orchestra members have made excellent arrangements as needed!

When not at work or playing my horn, I spend time at my cabin in Northern Wisconsin. I enjoy hiking, kayaking, photography, and playing with my two dachshunds. 

Shannon Iler, Concertmaster

What is your role with the MFSO? How long have you been with the MFSO and in what capacity? 

I’ve been the concertmaster since 2016. I joined the MFSO first violin section in 2004 after moving to Menomonee Falls and became principal 2nd a few years later. After a break in 2015, I was happy to be able to return as concertmaster. 

Picture of Shannon Iler

Do you play with any other orchestras?

I’m a member of the Wisconsin Philharmonic and I sub with Festival City Symphony. In the past I’ve played with the Racine, Kenosha, and Green Bay Symphony Orchestras.

What is / was your working profession?

I’m a Certified Public Accountant and have worked in mutual fund and tax accounting. Currently, the majority of my time and attention goes to my 1 and 3-yr-old daughters. They are a blast and keep me very busy. Our days often include baking, ballet, biking, books, and blanket forts. 

Do you have any hobbies?

Apart from music, I enjoy running, yoga, being outside, spending time with friends and family, traveling, and reading widely. 

Do you play any other instruments?

Viola, singing and a bit of piano. I have dabbled with wind and brass instruments, but strings are a better fit for me. I love teaching all ages. 

What are some memorable concerts you recall and why were they special? 

We have had so many fun concerts and memorable soloists over the years. I loved playing Cosi fan tutte [the opera], The Armed Man  [by Karl Jenkins], various Valentine concerts, and soloing with the Dvorak concerto back in 2011. I have missed performing and seeing everyone in 2020, but looking forward to resuming this fall. Hope to see you at one of our concerts!

Nancy Wiecki

Portrait of Nancy Wiecki
MFSO Principal Flute

My name is Nancy Wiecki (vee-ET-skee), and currently I am the principal flute player with the MFSO. Since 2002 I have served secretary on the MFSO Board of Directors. I have been a member of the orchestra since 1995, not long after I moved here to begin my current job as a high school music teacher at St. Thomas More High School.

I have always loved playing music! I started on piano, added flute a few years later, and added saxophone during high school so that I could play in jazz band. During my senior year of high school, four of my classes were music: band, jazz band, choir and show choir. It doesn’t matter the instrument; I just love to perform. That love of music led me to a career in music. I have a B.A. in Music Education from the College of St. Teresa in Winona, MN and a M.M. in Music Education from Northwestern University. I also did post graduate work in flute performance at the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities.

Currently, in addition to the MFSO, I am a member of the Gutekunst Flute Choir and have been playing 3rd flute/piccolo with the Cardinal Stritch Community Orchestra. I look forward to when we can go back to performing again!! I always enjoy playing in the “pit” for musicals; but one of my favorite memories performing is when the MFSO performed The Armed Man by Karl Jenkins at the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist. I was looking forward to performing Peter and the Wolf with the MFSO before last season was abruptly ended.

Career Highlights

A few highlights of my career: in 2004 the Milwaukee Civic Music Association awarded me their Milwaukee Teacher of the Year award, after being nominated by a group of my students and their parents; in 2010 I was awarded one of the Herb Kohl Teacher Fellowship awards; and in 2013, after being nominated by a former student who was graduating, the Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE) awarded me their Excellence in Teaching award.

When not performing, I enjoy attending a variety of live performances. The most memorable concerts include hearing the French flute player Jean-Pierre Rampal at Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis; seeing Andrew Lloyd Weber’s Phantom of the Opera at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts; and hearing the National Symphony Orchestra providing live accompaniment for one of the Harry Potter movies at the Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts.

Music is certainly a big part of my life, but when I have time, I love spending time with family and friends, kayaking, traveling (especially to Lake Superior!) and reading.

Lillian Bautch

Lillian Bautch

Violin

I joined the Milwaukee Catholic Symphony Junior Orchestra in 1946. It was under the leadership of Eugene Wilczewski. In High School I transferred to the Senior Group under the leadership of Edward Zielinski. I continued to perform with the group in many concerts and various venues. In 1986, Michael Kamenski became our conductor. In 1997, we became the Menomonee Falls Symphony Orchestra. I have continued to perform with all the various moves as I enjoy the music selections, the fellow members, and just being able to keep my playing intact. After 72 years with this orchestra, I retired as a playing member. I still perform with the Silver Strings (a senior group which performs at various senior citizens’ homes). I will continue to serve on the MFSO Board of Directors. I am not quite “out to pasture” yet!

Chris Hastreiter

My name is Chris Hastreiter. I play Timpani and Percussion with the MFSO.  I joined the orchestra in the Fall of 2013 when I moved to Milwaukee. I have performed in musical ensembles continuously since 8th grade, but the MFSO was my first orchestra since college. While in college, I played with the Keweenaw Symphony Orchestra – principal timpanist for my last two years. Currently, I am also a member of the Knightwind Ensemble of Milwaukee and the South Milwaukee Municipal Band. Occasionally, I also get the opportunity to work with other Milwaukee area wind bands when they are short on percussionists.

Picture of Chris Hastreiter
Timpani

My percussion studies started in 4th grade, and I play piano. In the last three years, I have dabbled with alto clarinet – though I’ve likely lost all my chops during the pandemic.

Professionally, I am an electrical engineer at Eaton Corporation in the Switchgear Products Division where I design recloser controls. (Reclosers and the other associated products made by Eaton’s Power Systems Group are the devices you see hanging on utility poles.)

Beyond playing music, my hobbies include water skiing, alpine skiing, electronic design and repair – specifically audio equipment and amplifiers, and working on my hobby-car – a 1981 DeLorean. As for other parts of my life, I read a little of everything from engineering textbooks to theology to novels (think Tom Clancy), I enjoy cooking and trying new foods, and I direct the Handbell Choir at my Lutheran Church.

When listening to music, 1960’s-70’s rock is my primary background music, but you will catch me listening to just about anything from Bach to today. In the realm of classical music, I tend to gravitate toward pieces that I have dug into and performed. The amount of mental dedication involved in learning and performing a work enhances the listening experience.

The MFSO provides for me a creative right-brain activity and an escape from spending my days thoroughly entrenched in the left-brain world of engineering. It offers mental balance, a reset, and a refreshing contrast to my work and other hobbies.

When I recall some of the concerts I have done, one favorite concert moment was when we played Fanfare for the Common Man by Aaron Copland. I had a couple little boys sitting in front of me on stage that practically jumped out of their seats when I played. (They were totally enthralled during the rest of the piece!) I don’t recall the piece we played immediately afterwards, but it was highly contrasting in nature – quiet and melodic. As I prepared for my entrance, the boys, who were still watching intently, frantically covered their ears. They were quite surprised to find that I could play quietly as well!

I have continuously played in music ensembles year-round since 8th grade – sometimes up to 5 groups at a time. This year-long break starting March, 2020 is the longest I’ve ever gone without a performance. I greatly look forward to returning to the MFSO soon!