Dynamic duet

Gleason brothers hitting the right note

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Posted 3:03 p.m. Friday, July 29, 2022

Kudos are crescendoing for two La Crosse-inspired musicians and alums. 

The Gleason brothers, Tim, ’93, and Chris, ’02, have both been recognized as excelling music educators. They follow the footsteps of their father, Jerry, who taught music at various Wisconsin high schools.

My father was a music educator, so I grew up in the band room,” explains Tim. “I had excellent teachers at UWL who helped me find my way to this vocation.”

Tim traveled upriver to Winona, where he’s led the high school’s band for 28 years. He’s also head girls basketball coach and co-head coach for the Winhawks’ boys and girls track and field team.  

Tim, who leads the student motivational program "Breakfast for Champions" Thursday mornings before school, was selected by colleagues as the education association’s teacher of the year in fall 2021. He says the honor was humbling. 

“I am fortunate to be surrounded by many great educators in Winona,” he says. “To be recognized by these people is one of the most humbling moments of my professional career.” 

Tim has also been named to a national organization of band directors.

Younger brother Chris has made a name for himself directing bands at Sun Prairie Middle and High schools for 18 years. He began working full time with the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction in June. He also runs a non-profit, Beyond The Notes Music Festival Inc., that has inspired more than 40,000 young musicians and 70 future music educators.

Chris has been a semi-finalist twice for the Recording Academy and Grammy Museum Music Educator Award — one of the top 25 music educators nationwide nominated. He’s also one of five to receive the National Education Association Foundation Horace Mann Award for Teaching Excellence. Chris, also recognized with other awards, is known for his passion of giving students the groundwork they need to become budding musicians.

“Every student is wonderfully unique and complex; their intelligence is diverse and distinct,” he notes. “As such, my curriculum and daily instruction mirrors this complexity and richness, allowing students to learn about and through music in many different ways.”

The brothers, both tuba enthusiasts, have fond memories of energetic, inspiring music educator mentors, along with camaraderie.

Tim remembers “the hours spent on the Coate Hall practice field with the marching band,” which led to a Holiday Bowl band trip, numerous NFL games and the national championship football game in Bradenton, Florida.

“I'm grateful for my family and all those who have supported me along my journey thus far,” adds Chris. 

Tim Gleason, '93, teaches music and coaches at Winona (Minn.) High School. He was recently recognized by his peers.


Tim Gleason, ’93

  • Attended three high schools: Arcadia (9-10); Durand (11); La Crosse Logan (12)
  • Bachelor’s in music education
  • Currently: Music educator and coach at Winona (Minn.) Public Schools, 28 years
  • Favorite instrument: “It has to be the tuba!”

Chris Gleason, ’02

  • Attended La Crosse Logan Middle and High Schools
  • Grad degree: Master’s of Education Professional Development
  • Currently: Sun Prairie Patrick Marsh Middle School band director through June 1, then Arts and Creativity Consultant with the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction.
  • Favorite instrument: “Tuba!”
Chris Gleason, ’02, recently named Arts and Creativity Consultant with the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, has been a semi-finalist twice for the Recording Academy and Grammy Museum Music Educator Award — one of the top 25 music educators nationwide nominated. He received the UWL Altman Teacher Education Award in 2017.