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Warren Gerds/Critic at Large: A passing: Michael J. Arendt, conductor

Critic At Large

Manitowoc, Green Bay music leader

Michael J. Arendt


Northeastern Wisconsin musical leader Michael Joseph Arendt died unexpectedly at his home in Manitowoc Tuesday, July 16, at age 74.

Arendt was especially active in the Manitowoc area, including founding the Lakeshore Wind Ensemble.

According to his obituary, Arendt was a native of Luxemburg, born Jan. 10, 1945.

He started playing French horn as a boy.

Arendt earned a bachelor of music degree from St. Norbert College in De Pere. He earned a master of music degree in conducting, performance and music theory from Wichita Kansas State University.

He was founder and conductor of the University of Wisconsin-Manitowoc Lakeshore Wind Ensemble and the Lakeshore Big Band.

He was professor emeritus of Music at UW-Manitowoc, where he taught music theory, music history, applied French horn and conducting from 1971 until his retirement from teaching in 2006. He stepped down from the conductor’s podium in 2014.

Arendt served a term as chair of the Department of Music of the University of Wisconsin Colleges and was an associate dean at UW-Manitowoc.

He received a Citation of Excellence from the Wisconsin Chapter of the National Band Association and was recognized by the Wisconsin Music Educators Association for his dedicated service.

In the greater Green Bay area, Arendt was assistant conductor and principal horn with the Green Bay Symphony Orchestra and principal horn with the Pamiro Opera Company Orchestra, the Sebastian Chamber Orchestra and the St. Norbert Community Band.
Additionally, Arendt was active in the Manitowoc and Green Bay communities.

In Manitowoc, he was a lector and communion minister at St. Francis of Assisi Parish; a past president of the former Holy Innocents Parish Council; and a member of the Manitowoc International Relations Association, the Capitol Civic Center, the Woodland Dunes Nature Center and Preserve and the Rahr/West Museum.

In Green Bay, Arendt served as a lector and communion minister at St. Francis Xavier Cathedral; a member of the St. Francis Xavier Cathedral Parish Council; and a president of the Green Bay East Side Catholic System School Board. He also was a Knights of Columbus Fourth Degree (inactive).
Memorial services will be held at 11 a.m. Tuesday, July 23, at St. Francis of Assisi on Waldo, 1121 N. 14th St. Manitowoc. The Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated by Rev. Doug LeCaptain with entombment to be held at Nicolet Memorial Park in Green Bay.

The family will greet relatives and friends at the Harrigan Parkside Funeral Home from 5 to 7 p.m. Monday, July 22. A prayer service will be held at 6:30 p.m. led by Deacon Mark Knipp. The visitation will continue Tuesday at St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church on Waldo from 10 a.m. until the time of services at 11 a.m. Online condolence may be sent to the family at

In lieu of flowers, the family would appreciate memorials to St. Francis Assisi Parish; the Lakeshore Wind Ensemble Association, Inc. Manitowoc; and the UW-Manitowoc Foundation, Beatrice and Matthew Arendt Talentship Fund.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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