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Instrumental music staff –

Jake Esterberg –

Mr. Esterberg is the Elementary Band Director in Waconia at Bayview, Southview and Laketown Elementary schools.  He also works with the WHS Marching Band Drumline during the Summer.

Mr. Esterberg is a graduate of UW – Eau Claire holding a Bachelors of Music Education.  His primary instrument is Percussion, but enjoys playing all the Band instruments with the 5th Graders!  Mr. Esterberg performed with the Wind Symphony, Blugold Marching Band, Percussion Ensemble, Symphony Orchestra, Contemporary Music Ensemble, Jazz Band,  and University Band (playing Alto Saxophone and Bassoon) while at UWEC.  He also marched with the Colts Drum and Bugle Corps, Minnesota Brass Drum and Bugle Corps, MBI Indoor Percussion and the Govenaires Drum and Bugle Corps.

Outside of Waconia, Mr. Esterberg is an active Marching Arts educator and designer across Minnesota, Iowa and Wisconsin.  He is currently the Percussion Caption Head for the Colt Cadets Drum and Bugle Corps (2019 DCI Open Class Finalist) as well as the Assistant Director of MBI Indoor Percussion.  He has also instructed the Percussion section of the Minnetonka Marching Band since 2014 (Awarded Outstanding Percussion 2016, 17, 18).

When not teaching Music, Mr. Esterberg enjoys playing music (recently picking up Ukulele!) and listening to his growing record collection.  He also enjoys exploring new things to cook and relaxing by the lake.


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.