EVENT: Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra performance, Marcus Center/Performing Arts

In keeping with the mission of the CIVIC MUSIC, we honor educational administrators who have shown outstanding support to music education and music educators. The Educational Administrator of the Year is chosen annually by the CIVIC MUSIC Awards Committee from nominees that have been identified as worthy of this award. Do you have someone in mind that is deserving of one of these awards because of their dedication and contributions to area music programs? If so, please nominate them today!

Click here to see the 2020 Educator Award recipients just announced!



Mary Pat Michels is an active free-lance musician and professional music educator in Southeastern Wisconsin. She earned degrees in Violin and Viola Performance and her Music Education Certification at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, with post-bac work in education and music education from UW-Milwaukee, Cardinal Stritch University, and Wisconsin Lutheran College. While at UW-Milwaukee, she was the Orchestra Music Librarian/Project Assistant and the Assistant to the Director of Bands. She also managed the UW-Milwaukee Brass Choir and was the Program Coordinator for the UW-Milwaukee Youth Wind Ensemble.

Mrs. Michels has taught in the School District of West Allis-West Milwaukee since January, 1997, and is currently the Orchestra Director at Frank Lloyd Wright and West Milwaukee Intermediate Schools, as well as serving as the Music Coordinator for the district. Mrs. Michels is also Director of the WAWM Shining Strings, an extra-curricular orchestra of forty students in grades 7-12 that performs at over 25 community events each year. She was an instructor for three years with the Waukesha Symphony’s Success Through Music Program which provided string instruction to underprivileged minority students in Milwaukee and Waukesha Counties. She also maintains a private violin/viola studio out of her home.

Mary Pat (Subjak) Michels is a Music for Youth/Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra Alum having played violin and/or viola in all of the orchestras from 1982-1991. The highlight of which was the trip to Scotland as principal viola of MYSO Sr. Symphony and the Aberdeen, Scotland Festival Orchestra. From 1991-2000, Mrs. Michels was on the faculty and staff of the Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra where she coached various orchestras and chamber ensembles, and was the clerical/library assistant. In September, 2008, she returned to the MYSO staff as the Orchestra Director for the Progressions Program, an award-winning program for inner city students that serves as a model for programs throughout the country. She also coaches string ensembles for MYSO's Davidson Chamber Ensemble Program. In November 2015, the MYSO Community Partnership Program, of which MYSO Progressions was the founding program, was awarded the 2015 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award by First Lady Michelle Obama and the White House.

Mrs. Michels was recognized by the Civic Music Association of Milwaukee as the recipient of the Certificate of Excellence in Instrumental Music Instruction on May 17, 2015, for her work in the WAWM School District and with the Milwaukee Youth Symphony Organization, She was also recognized by the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra at their education concert in May, 2015 "for distinguished contributions to music education in Wisconsin". It was just announced that she was named the 2018 Educational Administrator of the Year (for her work as WAWM Music Coordinator) by the Civic Music Association of Milwaukee and will receive that award at a CMA Reception in conjunction with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra's March 10th concert.

Mrs. Michels is currently Principal Viola of The Wisconsin Philharmonic (formerly the Waukesha Symphony), where she has been a member since 1996. An integral part of The Wisconsin Philharmonic, she holds the positions of Music Librarian and Personnel Manager. She also is a judge each year for the Shining Stars Scholarship Auditions and coordinated the return of the side-by-side concert, which she herself participated in as a high school violist. She served as Principal Viola of the Racine Symphony Orchestra from January, 2000 through July, 2007. During this time she had the opportunity to solo with the Racine Symphony twice: in February, 2003, playing (and recording) Britten’s Portrait for Viola & Orchestra and in January, 2006, playing Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante with then RSO concertmaster, Paul Lundin. She again had the opportunity to play the Britten, with the Waukesha Symphony in February, 2010. An active free-lancer, she is often called to play viola and violin for various orchestras and chamber ensembles in Southeastern Wisconsin, including, the Milwaukee Ballet Orchestra, Bel Canto, the Kenosha Symphony Orchestra, the Bach Chamber Choir and Orchestra, the Lutheran A Capella Choir and Orchestra, the Festival City Symphony, and Les Artistes. As the manager and founder of the Lakeside Strings, Mrs. Michels enjoys the opportunity to perform in various chamber music capacities at special events throughout Wisconsin & Illinois. Active at church as well, Mary Pat is the organist, a member of the choir, and the editor of the weekly church bulletin.


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