The La Crosse Symphony Orchestra announces Conductor Wannabe candidates

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) - Six community volunteers are competing for the opportunity to conduct the La Crosse Symphony Orchestra (LSO) this summer.

Each candidate has chosen a non-profit organization that will receive half of the money they raise during the campaign, according to a press release from the LSO.

The candidates are soliciting votes and each "vote" is $2.00, with one dollar going to the LSO and the other to the candidate's chosen charity.

The winner and runner-up with the most votes received by June 5, will conduct the LSO on June 9.

“The Conductor Wannabe competition is one of the symphony’s most anticipated annual fundraisers,” says Tracy Gaskin, Executive Director. “The candidates spend a generous amount of time and effort in to garnering public support and raising awareness of the great things we are doing in the community.”

The contest provides a competitive environment for raising funds to help support the growth of the LSO and the selected non-profit organizations. The top two contestants with the most votes will conduct the full Symphony Orchestra with the help of it's conductor, Alexander Platt.

Conductor Wannabe Contestants:

Contestant #1 -  Chuck Berendes is the General Manager at Gerrard Hoeschler and an Attorney at Law and his chosen charity is Shelter Development. He is the Shelter Development Vice President, a board member of La Crosse SOUP, Committee Chair of FSPA Homelessness Initiative Expanding services, Finance and Pastoral Council for Mary Mother of the Church, Midwest Music Fest board member and Cub Scout Pack 28 Activities Chair and Assistant Den Leader.

Contestant #2 - Scott Mihalovic is retired from the School District of La Crosse in 2014 after 32 years in Public Education and 28 as a high school administrator.  His chosen charity is The La Crosse Public Education Foundation. Scott is presently an Assistant Professor at Viterbo University working as an Educational Leadership Specialist. Scott's volunteer activities include the La Crosse Public Education Foundation Board, La Crosse Boys and Girls Club Board, Public Health Community Advisory Committee for UW-La Crosse, Heroin and other Illicit Drugs Task Force, Lighthouse Committee for development of La Crosse Peer Respite Center.

Contestant #3 - Nick Ragner is the Director of Development and Public Relations at The Salvation Army and is representing his organization. Nick is also a Rotarian and helps with the Salvation Army Emergency Disaster Services. 

Contestant #4 – Roz Schnick is retired from the US Fish and Wildlife Service and now dedicates her life to volunteering! Roz’s chosen charity is the Gundersen Medical Foundation, Hospice Program. Roz is a Rotarian, a committee member of Early Childhood Collaborative, Sustainability Institute Board of Directors, Aquaponics Projects Advocate, River Advisory Board of US Representative Ron Kind and fundraises for Aptiv, YWCA and the Women’s Fund.

Contestant #5 - Amy Stodola is a Financial Advisor for Edward Jones and her chosen charity is HorseSense for Special Riders. Amy serves on the board of directors for HorseSense for Special Riders and most recently on the YWCA Board as well. She is a strong supporter of JDRF and is very involved in her Edward Jones volunteering. She really enjoys giving back to the community that she loves!

Contestant #6 – Adam Weissenberger is a Realtor for Coldwell Banker River Valley Realtors and will be splitting his donations between the Trane Park Project and the Freedom Honor Flight La Crosse. He is also a board member/founder/past-president of the La Crosse Area Autism Foundation. Adam is a board member and part of the flight crew for Freedom Honor Flight La Crosse and a board member of the Trane Park Project, YWCA Taste of the Coulee Region and the Firecracker 4 mile.

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