My parents settled in the Central Wisconsin city of Stevens Point, a “college town” with an active and energetic community. I was born and mostly raised in “Point,” as were my younger siblings.
My parents were born and raised in South Central Wisconsin, where, for the most part, six generations ago our ancestors choose to emigrate from Europe to the New World. As far as I can tell, most of them emigrated from Prussia, the dominant non-Austrian Germanic state that eventually unified modern Germany. Around the mid-nineteenth century my Great-Great-Great Grandma and Grandpa Schultz left what was then Bromberg, Prussia (now Bydgoszcz, Poland) and settled in WI. He was a school teacher and fought in the U.S. Army during the American Civil War. On my mother’s side of the family, one set of our ancestors, according to my late Great Uncle Ingwald, arrived from Prussia at the beginning of a harsh winter, joining some family members that had already emigrated. They proceeded to dig a sod home and were given a half a bag of potatoes with the admonition not to eat them all because they needed to plant some in the spring. On my mother’s side, part of our family may have some Polish roots another part of the family (French, Scottish and English) probably took a different path to WI.
After completing my undergraduate music studies and traveling the country as a student and, later, staff member of major music festivals, I followed in the tradition of several of my ancestors and enlisted in the United States Army, becoming a tuba player in the West Coast’s (only active duty) Army Band. I first worked with PNB in 1998 while finishing my Army Band commitment (I won the Principal Tuba audition in 2000). At PNB I met my partner, Emily Lunde. My daughter Anneliese, was born in Seattle in 2008. To me, being an American is about being mindful of where we come from, who we really are and have been, and thoughtful about the future of this great nation.