Band director Werner dies at 40

Luke Ulatowski, Managing Editor, Website Editor

On Dec. 8, assistant professor of music and band director Chris Werner passed away of complications with esophageal cancer. He was 40 years old.

Werner joined Lakeland as band director in 2013 with a doctorate in Musical Arts from the University of Nebraska. He had previously served as instrumental music teacher at La Crosse Central High School.

At Lakeland, Werner both instructed music students and conducted for the Lakeland University Concert Band at shows. He also directed Lakeland’s annual Summer Music Camp.

In May of 2014, Werner was diagnosed with esophageal cancer. After surgery, chemotherapy and a four-month absence, Werner returned to work in September of the same year.

In 2015 and early 2016, Werner was often present at Lakeland even while experiencing chemotherapy side effects. In mid-2016, Werner’s condition worsened and he became completely unable to work.

In Werner’s absence, his students honored him at the Fall Band Concert with a performance of “On This Bright Morning” by David Maslanka, a song that Werner had chosen while he was still with Lakeland.

The funeral will take place in Medford. A memorial service will also take place at Lakeland.