Joan Draxler-RuffHello.  My name is Joan Draxler-Ruff and I have been the 5-12 instrumental music director for the Alma School District for thirty-one years.   Alma is not only a beautiful place to live, it also has an outstanding school district that is supportive and dedicated to meeting the needs of every student.  The Alma Band has a long tradition of excellence in music going back at least 50 years.  Our band program currently involves 90% of all students in grades 5-12.  The school and community of Alma have tremendous support for the band program and several students go on to perform in college and/or community organizations after high school.  It's not just a class, it's a life-long experience.  My expectations are set high and students know that they need to work hard to make and exceed these expectations.  

Our fifth grade students start band in the summer after completion of fourth grade.  During the summer they learn how to play their first 5 – 7 notes, proper technique and music elements, and also how to maintain care of their instrument.  In the fall, the entire band meets once a week along with small group lessons once a week.   The band performs in December and April. 

The junior band is made up of students in grades 6-8 and is at least 40 members.  We perform a concert in October, December, April, and May.  In January, grades 7 & 8 participate in our solo and ensemble festival, and in April the entire band participates in our large group band festival.  In May, the 8th grade students perform with the senior band for graduation, and the entire band performs in Nelson for their Memorial Day ceremony. 

The senior band is made up of students in grades 9-12 and is between 50-60 members.   We have the following performing groups:  pep band, marching band, jazz band, and concert band.   We also have several large ensembles (flute choir, clarinet choir, brass choir, etc...) that compete in our yearly solo and ensemble festival.  Our school year starts out right away with pep band and a ½ time show for our homecoming football game.  We play for several volleyball, football, and basketball games throughout the year.  Our pep band has been labeled the “Best Band in the Whole Dairyland” and is frequently complimented by visiting officials and schools.  The concert band performs several concerts throughout the school year, along with a combined concert in March with Pepin High School, and the solo and ensemble festival in April.  Each year several solo and ensemble entries advance to the state festival in May at UW-Eau Claire. 

Our jazz band is a volunteer ensemble that performs a Big Band Dance every February.  We perform over 30 jazz charts, polkas, and waltzes for everyone’s dancing pleasure.   We also have several vocalists either sing along with the band or perform as a soloist.  This has been a successful performing opportunity for the band members for over 35 years.  They students work very hard and are excited to perform for the dancing audience.   We have even take the jazz band on the road to perform our Big Band Dance for my hometown of Goodman, WI.   This trip has always been a very rewarding experience for both myself and my students. Every other year I take the senior band on a trip to Valley Fair to thank them for all their hard work and dedication.

I absolutely love my job of bringing music into the lives of my students.  We share our talents, dreams, and visions together as we create music for ourselves and for our audience.  Please feel free to contact me anytime if you have any questions and/or concerns. 

Joan Draxler-Ruff
Director of Bands
Alma and Pepin Area Schools

School:  608-685-4416
Cell:  715-577-2630


Alma Band: The Beat Goes On! 

Contact: Joan Draxler-Ruff
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