Bruce Hering, Bob Baca, and Nobuyoshi Yasuda are instrumental figures to our community. Both literally and figuratively. All three are music teachers in Eau Claire. Bruce is the director of bands at North High School (after almost 20 years at Memorial), and leads the marching, pep, concert, and jazz bands there (seven total).
Bob is a professor of trumpet and director of jazz studies with UW-Eau Claire, and he leads UWEC Jazz Ensemble I. Nobu, as he’s affectionately known, is an associate professor of music with UW-Eau Claire (specializing in violin and orchestra) who directs/conducts the UWEC Symphony Orchestra. Not only do they lead school groups, but all three have also bridged the gap between the classroom and the community with their involvement in community-shaping events and groups such as Eau Claire Jazz Festival, Chippewa Valley Symphony Orchestra, Chippewa Valley Jazz Camp, as well as performing themselves in several groups and productions.
All of this has led to considerable acclaim and prestige, from Hering’s eight appearances at NYC’s Essentially Ellington and regional jazz festival awards for his high school jazz bands, to Baca’s ensemble being a six-time Down Beat Magazine award winner and two-time Grammy nominee. And that’s not even mentioning the scores of area youths they’ve instructed, encouraged, and developed into the amazing musicians and individuals we now have in our community today. In fact, it’s hard to picture our acclaimed arts scenes today without thinking of the talented educators like these three that we’re blessed to have in our community and who planted the creative seeds and nurtured them in the first place.