Michael Butler, the newly appointed Director of Bands and Assistant Professor of Music, has high hopes and goals for the future of the music department.
Butler said he hopes to “continue to pursue musical excellence. To continue to pursue what I love. This isn’t really a job. It’s what I love doing and to be able to continue to do that until I can’t anymore.”
Beginning his career as an educator in 2006, Butler was still a graduate student at the University of Florida when he taught conducting and led the concert band. He went on to teach at two different high schools in Daytona and Orlando, where he had the opportunity to perform with his students at Carnegie Hall.
Butler returned to the University of Florida for the past three years with the intentions of working on his doctorate, teaching music courses and guest conducting various ensembles.
Although the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point is a much smaller university than he is used to, Butler does not feel hesitant about the transition.
“(UWSP) is not that different than my undergrad experience and is one of the things that certainly appealed to me looking at this school and talking to the committee members,” he said.
Butler noticed that, similar to his undergrad, UWSP has a strong music department, a close knit group of students and collegial faculty.
“I thought this was pretty representative of something that I wanted to be a part of,” he said.
Along with his energetic passion for music, Butler has many ideas he hopes will allow the music department to reach new heights and help push students to new levels of musicianship. He hopes to expand performance opportunities for the bands and said he will look into various possibilities, such as playing at the state conference, festivals and other prestigious venues. He also wants to collaborate with the dance department.
Not only does Butler want to develop the music department, he hopes to reach out to university students who are not currently involved with music on campus.
“We have 9,000 plus students here. If you think about how many of those students were involved in their high school band program, it’s probably a significant chunk, and out of those that are not involved here at UWSP in the band program, I bet quite a few are pretty talented. We would love to have them here,” he said.