Everyone on our staff at Griggs Music takes pride in being a part of our company’s rich, 116 year history. We all channel our unique passion for music every day into helping our fellow musicians, aspiring musicians, and music lovers in the Quad Cities area. In this way, we are honored to be writing our own chapter of the storied history of Griggs Music.
Meet the Staff at Griggs Music
Chris Foster – Educational Representative and Percussion Specialist
Chris joined the Griggs Music staff in 2006 in sales. A local percussion teacher with experience in all aspects of percussion, he has a bachelors degree in Music Education from South Dakota State University and a Masters in Percussion Performance from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. His teachers include: Jim McKinney, Adam Mason, Jeff Prosperie, Jason Trigg, Jim Drier, Dan Moore, and William Moersch. His students have a reputation of making All-State in Illinois and Iowa. He is a member of Phi Mu Alpha Fraternity and the Percussive Arts Society.
Kurt Ockelmann – Retail Sales Associate
Kurt joined the Griggs Music staff in early 2007. He is a graduate of St. Ambrose University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music Education. Working in the retail music industry since 1991, Kurt has vast experience in print music as well as school music programs. His current duties include music instrument and accessory purchasing for the company, and he serves as in-store brass specialist. Kurt is also a trombonist who performs locally with various groups and ensembles.
Mark Wagler – Combo Retail Sales Associate
Mark joined the Griggs Music staff in 2001. He is a graduate of the Guitar Institute of Technology (GIT) in Hollywood, California. He has been playing guitar since 1982 and has been teaching guitar since 1992. Mark can be seen playing in local bands: Old Man’s Curse, Toxic Blonde in the Muscatine and Quad City area and the O’Connell Brothers in the Cedar Rapids area.
Al Moore – Educational Representative
Al Moore is a graduate of the University of Northern Iowa where he received his Bachelor of Music Education degree. Al pursued graduate studies in performance on tuba at McNeese State University in Lake Charles, Louisiana. He has taught music in both public and private schools in Iowa.
Billy Heller – Educational Services Coordinator
Billy joined Griggs Music as a part of our seasonal staff in the Fall of 2010 and later transitioned into a full time staff member as our print associate. He has since been moved to the post of Educational Services Coordinator. Billy’s main job is in-store support for the Educational Representatives, but he can also assist you in sheet music, accessories, or leasing or renting of band instruments.
Michael Wahlmann – Retail Sales, Orchestra Specialist
Michael joined the Griggs Music staff in 2015. He is a graduate of Augustana College and has been playing cello since 1982. As a cellist, Michael has taught privately since 2004, plays in local string quartet Quartrio, the Clinton Symphony and has played in groups from pit-orchestras for the Clinton Showboat Theater, Quad City Music Guild, Opera at Augustana and Opera Quad Cities to groups backing acts like Foreigner,The Moody Blues, Transiberian Orchestra, Mannheim Steamroller and Josh Groban at the TaxSlayer Center. As a vocalist Michael is co-music and choir director for St. John’s Lutheran Church in Rock Island, sang with Nova Singers for 20 years, and occasionally, Quad City Choral Arts and Opera at Augustana’s summer collaboration with Rock Island’s Genesius Guild. On Sunday evenings Michael can be heard over the radio airwaves of Northwestern Illinois and Eastern Iowa hosting WVIK-Quad Cities NPR’s classical program, Serenade.
Dean Kurtz is a native of Washington, Iowa where he services schools in southern and southeast Iowa. A graduate of Truman State University in trumpet & jazz piano, he taught band for 11 years, and is a skilled instrument repair technician. He is married to Cheryl & they have 3 children and 7 grandchildren.
Rich Wagor – Cedar Rapids
Double bassist and electric bassist Richard Wagor currently resides in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Mr. Wagor, in earning his BA in music from the University of Iowa and a MM from Manhattan School of Music, has worked with various teachers including Eldon Obrecht, Diana Gannett, Homer Mensch, and Robert Kassinger. Mr. Wagor has also performed in a wide variety of professional settings. Mr. Wagor has played orchestrally as a member of the Memphis Symphony Orchestra, as principal bassist with the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Symphony, and as both assistant principal and principal bassist with the Dubuque Symphony. Additionally, Richard has performed as a substitute bassist with the Des Moines Symphony, Orchestra Iowa, the Quad Cities Symphony, the Illinois Symphony, The Arkansas Symphony, the Brazos Valley Symphony, the Delta Symphony, the Kenosha Symphony, the Austin (Texas) Symphony, and others. Mr. Wagor has also played other genres of music with Bobby McFerrin, Sutton Foster, Sachal Vasandani, Five by Design, Leni Stern, Adam Schroeder, Love is Here to Stay: A Gershwin Experience, the Five Seasons Jazz Trio, the Roots of Rhythm Trio, Pat Smith, Jennifer Lee, Tim Daugherty, the Yale Repertory Theater, NOWIS, the Bill Shepherd Big Band, the Rod Pierson Not-So-Big Band, Ben Schmidt, Peter Hart, and the Bernemann Brothers Band to mention a few. As a teacher, Mr. Wagor has formerly held positions with the University of Northern Iowa; the Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp; Coe College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa; Cornell College in Mount Vernon, Iowa; The Eastern Iowa Arts Academy; and teaches at the Cedar Rapids based Five Seasons Chamber Music Festival each June.
Eric Beenk – Band Instrument Repair Technician
Eric Beenk is a 1993 graduate of Red Wing Technical College, Red Wing, Minnesota with a degree in band instrument repair. He has been employed with Griggs Music as a repair tech since 2001. Eric lives in Grand Mound, Iowa with his wife, children, many cats and Chloe, a Great Pyrenees dog.
Call us today at 877-391-9001 or contact us for more information or to find a location nearest you. We look forward to serving all of your musical needs!