Humans of North: Mr. Kellenberger


Ciaran Cole

If you’ve strolled down the music wing anytime recently, you’ve probably bumped into Mr. Kellenberger. Not only does he teach all three of North’s orchestras, but he also runs another duo of them at Appleton West. As a busy teacher who has to travel across town to teach students scales and music theory, it can seem like a hectic routine. Yet, he is capable of keeping up with the quick tempo. He’s worked with the Appleton Area School District for eight years with additional experience as an orchestra teacher at South Milwaukee High School.

Born and raised in Appleton, Mr. Kellenberger grew up with his other five siblings in this same city. After turning six years old, he started learning to play the piano just like the rest of his brothers and sisters. While beginning to dabble in the world of music, he started to take up the violin as well. However, in fourth grade, he decided to take a break from strings and switch to french horn. Receiving his diploma at Appleton West High School, he headed off to Lawrence to begin his college education. But even though Mr. Kellenberger joined the school band and remained dedicated to improving, music wasn’t his only dream.

In fact, he switched between five different majors before settling down during his college career. Obtaining a Bachelor’s Degree at Lawrence, he explored different disciplines before eventually coming full circle, returning to his childhood ambitions. Moving on to Baylor to receive his Masters in Conducting, Mr. Kellenberger finally knew what he wanted to do with his life. Along with professional horn playing at the time, he decided to revisit orchestra at the collegiate level.

While getting his first taste in the teaching business, other doors outside the educational world  opened to him. Moving down to Cudahy, WI after being offered a job led him to a exciting life outside of Milwaukee. Soon, he took part in the Racine Symphony and then moved later back to the Fox Valley. More importantly, he started a family in the very town he grew up in among friends and other family members scattered around the area. While his kids grew up and attended the same high school he did, Mr. Kellenberger got involved in some more individual projects. One recent example includes a small band, Vento Winds, which he is proud to say he is a member of. Also, he spends time working with he Fox Valley Symphonia, a local organization that raises hundreds of thousands of dollars a year.

In addition to his past, Mr. Kellenberger has many exciting things going on his life right now.


Noctiluca: What’s new this school year with you?


Mr. Kellenberger: ¨Last year, my youngest daughter graduated West and left for college this year. Technically, I´m an empty nester now, though my sons who are in college still live with me.¨


N: Are you involved in any special orchestra events this year?


Mr. Kellenberger: ¨Yes!  I got invited to conduct the Upstate New York Honors Orchestra, which consists of the state’s best High School’s musicians. I’ll be flying out there in November for the concert.¨


N: Are you involved in any clubs or sports at North?


Mr. Kellenberger: I coach the Kimberley-West swim team every year. Sometimes, I also get to conduct the pit orchestra for the school’s musical, like last year. But, I don’t do that every year.


N: Currently, how do spend your weekends?

Mr. Kellenberger: During swim season, you can usually find me at a meet. Otherwise I’m at home reading or watching whatever catches my eye on television. Lately, I’ve been binge-watching Person of Interest. I have also taken up photography as a hobby and have taken wedding photos for family members in the past.


N: Do you have anyone you look up to as a musician?


Mr. Kellenberger: I recently read a book on Leonard Bernstein. He was a really amazing intellectual who contributed to both sides to music, theory and expression. I think he was very talented, but he had major flaws as a person. In his personal life, he did not treat others well, so I don’t look up to him for that. Yet, I admire his giftedness with music.