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Instrumental music staff –

Lisa Sauer –

Mrs. Sauer teaches 5th grade band and all lessons at all three Waconia elementary schools.  She was one of the Waconia Marching Band directors from 1989 – 2001.

Mrs. Sauer completed her undergraduate degree in Instrumental Music Education at Bemidji State University, and holds a Master of Arts Degree in Music Education at the University of St. Thomas.  Her main instruments are saxophone and piano.

In her 25 years employed by Waconia School District, Mrs. Sauer has seen grade level population increase from 75 to over 300, and 5th grade beginning bands grow from around 50 students in 1988 to nearly 200 each year.  She is now teaching students whose parents are her former 5th grade band students.  Mrs. Sauer loves teaching middle school band, and is grateful to be part of a district where music and the arts are valued highly and supported by the school and community.

In addition to teaching at the elementary schools and being Mom to two adults, Mrs. Sauer also teaches Sunday School music and sings in a Contemporary Worship Choir at church.  She enjoys reading (especially mysteries), baking, and spending time with friends and family.


Phil Snyder –


Mr. Snyder serves as a full time band director for Waconia Middle School.  Mr. Snyder’s duties include conducting 6th and 7th grade concert bands, , Middle School Jazz Band, and small group lessons.  Mr. Snyder also teaches high school marching band and jazz band.

Mr. Snyder is a graduate of the University of Minnesota where he studied music education as well as the University of Wisconsin Eau Claire where he studied trumpet performance.  At both institutions Mr. Snyder held principal trumpet positions in top orchestras and wind ensembles.

On top of his teaching and performing schedule Mr. Snyder has become an accomplished marching band drill designer writing 7–10 competitive and noncompetitive marching band shows for bands throughout the Midwest.   Bands that have used Mr. Snyder’s drill designs have been responsible for 11 state championships. Mr. Snyder is also on the instructional staff for The DCI World Champion Finalist Colts Drum and Bugle Corps, DCA World Champion Minnesota Brass Drum and Bugle Corps, and DCI open class Colt Cadets Drum and Bugle Corps.

Mr. Snyder is an outspoken advocate for music education at all levels and enjoys a busy schedule as a guest clinician, adjudicator, and freelance trumpet player.

Outside of the music world Mr. Snyder enjoys distance running, nordic skiing, and spending time with friends in the greater twin cities area.

John Pohland –


John Pohland teaches band and music courses at Waconia High School.  During the school day, John sees 3 curricular bands, the Wind Ensemble, Concert Band and Symphonic Band.  He also teaches or co-teaches courses in music theory and music appreciation.  Outside of the day, he directs or co-directs two of the high school jazz bands, the pep band, and the varsity show choir band, MegaWatt.

John completed his undergraduate education at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, MN (2006).  Mr. Pohland has degrees in Instrumental Music Education and Trumpet Performance.  While at St. Thomas, John was selected to the 2004 CBDNA Honor Band, and was chosen as a Festival Orchestra soloist both his junior and senior years, where he received the opportunity to play concertos with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra.  John received his Master of Music in Music Education degree from Michigan State University in East Lansing, MI.  Mr. Pohland has studied with trumpet professors Chris Volpe (St. Thomas) and Richard Illman (Michigan State University).

John aims to advocate for music education and the arts whenever possible.  He has been selected as a presenter at the MMEA Mid-Winter Clinic multiple times, and has published articles in the Collegiate MENC (now NAfME) online journal.  Mr. Pohland’s professional affiliations include the Minnesota Music Educators’ Association, the National Association for Music Educators, the Minnesota Band Directors Association and the International Trumpet Guild. Mr. Pohland was  named District 110 “Teacher of the Year,” for the 2016-2017 school year.

Alli Wilmes –

In Waconia, Ms. Wilmes conducts both 8th and 9th grade band, and teaches lessons to students in grades 6-12.  She also works with the Waconia High School Marching Band, WMS Percussion Ensemble, Purple Jazz band, and Jazz 2 PM. She also teaches private lessons to a few of our percussionists.

Ms. Alli Wilmes is a Music Education graduate from UW-Eau Claire, originally from Stillwater, Minnesota.  She was the principal percussionist in the UWEC Wind Symphony, where she was the spring 2016 recipient of the Donald George Outstanding Musician Award.  Ms. Wilmes also played vibraphone in Jazz Ensemble I and II, played bass drum for four years in the Blugold Marching Band, and played in many percussion ensembles in her time at UWEC.  In the summer of 2015, she played vibraphone with the Oregon Crusaders Drum and Bugle Corps, and played marimba in 2016 for Minnesota Brass Drum and Bugle Corps. Ms. Wilmes now teaches the front ensemble at Eastview High School in the fall.

Ms. Wilmes completed her student teaching placement at Cumberland Middle/High School, where she worked with all four bands daily for the entire fall semester.  Post graduation, she had the amazing opportunity to intern for Mr. Chris Gleason, the 2017 Wisconsin Teacher of the Year and National Teacher of the Year Finalist this past spring semester.  During this internship, she worked with Mr. Gleason’s 7th grade band students and conducted a world premiere at their spring concert.

In her free time, Ms. Wilmes likes to spend time with her friends and family, play board games, work on jigsaw puzzles, play in community band, and watch Disney movies.