by Marlys Kruger
Those of you who have attended high school band concerts, attended sporting events or watched the marching band perform at Colfax High School or community events would probably recognize the leader of the band, Jim Woodford. Although he has been known to dress up as various cartoon or famous TV characters (usually at the homecoming game performance), Woodford is also well known outside of Colfax as the leader of the Ludington Guard Band which gives performances every Tuesday night in Menomonie. At the end of the final performance last season, Woodford was informed by the president of the band Carroll Rund, he had been approved for membership in the prestigious Wisconsin Bandmasters Association (WBA).
The WBA is an honorary organization whose members have been recognized by their peers as having exemplary school band programs or community bands. Members are known for their efforts to promote music in their communities and they represent all areas of Wisconsin. Active WBA membership in the association is only for those band directors actually engaged in directing bands in Wisconsin. Directors must have a fair knowledge of music, theory and harmony, band instrumentation, band scoring and literature, recognized ability as a conductor and high standard of professional ethics.
Woodford has been the middle school and high school instructor in Colfax for 30 years and is in his tenth season leading the Ludington band. He is the 12th conductor in the history of the 125 year old Ludington band and is the only one to be accepted as a WBA member. He was nominated by Bob Koepsel, an active member and past WBA president.
“I was very surprised when it was announced at our performance last year,” Woodford said. “It is not something you apply for on your own. Someone has to nominate you and the committee listened to recordings of me conducting the Ludington band. The whole process took a year to go through and I feel very honored that I have been chosen by my peers to receive this award.”
Woodford attended a ceremony in Manitowoc in June for his official induction and was presented a plaque and a pin and now has his name inscribed on the official registry with all the other WBA members. The WBA committee has been considering having the next ceremony in Menomonie and have asked Woodford to help with the organization of it.
“Teaching band in a school setting and conducting a band with adults has been very rewarding for me and I truly enjoy all the time I put into it. Playing a musical instrument is a lifetime skill and I encourage everyone, young or old to become or stay involved with music,” he concluded.