Stories from the Driftless

Creating Opportunity and Sharing Joy through Music in Viroqua, Wisconsin — PRTP9



This episode of the Proud Rural Teacher Podcast is part of the Stories from the Driftless Series, a series dedicated to telling the digital stories of the teachers in the Driftless Region. The series is made possible thanks to a grant from the Rural Schools Collaborative. The grant is part of RSC’s I am a Rural Teacher campaign, a national advocacy effort that is supported by The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.  

Today we are talking about opportunity, community support, and the love of music in the Viroqua school district. Set in the heart of Wisconsin’s Driftless Region, the district is 25 miles Southeast of LaCrosse, with a student population just under 1200. Today you’re meeting Brad Thew, the MS/HS band director and music educator of 35 years. In this episode, he’ll share with you how he turned challenges into unique opportunities to create impactful moments for both his students and the community.  I hope as you listen, you’ll feel a sense of inspiration as we move into the second semester. 

Watch the performances 👇👇👇

VHS Marching Band Tailgate Party 2020 with High Mileage (Vernon County Broadcaster news article, October 13, 2020)

VHS Marching Band playing at the Vernon Memorial Hospital (Vernon County Broadcaster news article, November 5, 2020)

VHS Marching Band playing at a local senior care facility

Additional moments of opportunity not mentioned in the podcast audio: “Coffee, Camaraderie and Keys”  features student & local musicians playing a short 30 minute concert at the start of each Wednesday (Viroqua’s staff only days). What a lovely way to begin a hectic day and show the value of Music Education!

If you have questions, you can contact Brad at and/or follow him on Twitter @digitalbaton.

You can also like the program on Facebook at

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