Meet Our Instructors

KRIS BRYAN—Brass Instructor & Section Leader

Kris Bryan, originally from the Milwaukee area, earned her degree in Music Education from Lawrence University. In 2011 she retired after teaching elementary and middle school instrumental music for 40 years, the last 35 of which were in the Little Chute Area School District.

Kris played horn in the Fox Valley Symphony for 40 years prior to retiring and still performs with the Appleton City Band and in her church brass ensemble. She was a charter member of the Wisconsin Symphonic Winds and has performed with the Serpentine Brass and Wolf Winds. She has also served as a church organist and choir director and played in the Tonka Street Consort recorder ensemble.

“I see music as a life-long gift, both the making and the receiving of it. From birth, or even pre-birth, all the way into the senior years, our hearts and souls are enriched by music of all kinds. From personal experience, I know the blessings that music provides to people at all stages of their lives. I feel very privileged to be able to share this gift in the New Horizons Band program.”


AN R. GEHRMANN—Woodwinds Instructor & Section Leader (and Band Member – Trumpet)

An R. Gehrman is a graduate of Appleton’s Xavier High School and  earned her degree in Music from St. Norbert College, De Pere. After 38 years of service, An retired from her career as band director for ACES /Xavier, the last 17 of which were at St. Joseph Middle School.

An has spent a lifetime learning, teaching and performing music, including 40 years with the Fox Valley Symphony. She is also president of the Appleton City Band and has been performing with them for 50 years.

Owing to her many years of teaching, An can play all band instruments except tuba. Although, her primary instrument is Clarinet, followed by other woodwinds, she recently joined the NHBFV’s trumpet section because she “wanted a new experience in performing concert music.”

“Considering I have been in music as a student, teacher and performer for so many years, I can attest to the joys of playing an instrument in concert bands and ensembles. The effort and hard work of practices and rehearsals give such a good feeling with the goal and result of the actual performance. I am amazed to hear some of the stories of the members, some of whom have been away from playing an Instrument for 20 years and who want to have that friendship and camaraderie of working together and enjoying the success of a performance, and are thus willing to put in so much personal time to meet that challenge.”


MICHAEL RATSCH—Percussion Instructor & Section Leader

Michael Ratsch is a magna cum laude graduate of Lawrence University and holds a Master of Music Education degree from the University of Michigan. In 2004, he retired after teaching instrumental music in the public schools for 32 years, the last 30 of which were at Little Chute.

Michael currently operates a private music studio at Appleton Christian School, where he instructs both young and adult students.  He also teaches percussion for the Lawrence Arts Academy and is on staff for the New Horizons Band Fox Valley adult band. He is active as an adjudicator and clinician for the Wisconsin School Music Association.

In 2009, Michael retired from the Fox Valley Symphony after performing as a percussionist with that organization for 39 years, and he has been a member of the Appleton City Band for over 30 years. He has also performed with the Green Bay Symphony, the Peninsula Music Festival Orchestra, and the Green Lake Music Festival Orchestra.

“Music has brought profound beauty and joy into my life. It is indeed a privilege to share my love of music with others through teaching.”