Janice Wade

Past Music Director & Conductor

Dr. Janice Wade founded the Des Moines Community Orchestra in 1976, together with a group of dedicated local musicians. She served as Music Director and Conductor until 1987, when she joined the faculty at Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa. She retired from Wartburg in 2011. The following describes her career at Wartburg.

In 1987 Dr. Wade took a position at Wartburg where she was Professor of Violin and Viola, and Music Director and Conductor of the Wartburg Community Symphony Orchestra (WCSO). She retired after 24 years as Professor Emerita from Wartburg in 2011 and was the longest serving conductor and the only female in the WCSO's 60-plus year history. Her distinguished musical history is housed in the national women's history archives in Washington, D.C.

Wade commissioned and premiered five new works by composer Linda Robbins Coleman. She also secured the rights to the "Ford Made in America" project, making the Wartburg Community Symphony the only symphony in Iowa granted rights to perform the state premieres of America the Beautiful, a composition by Joan Tower.

As concertmaster for the Bijou Players, a silent film touring group, Wade used her experience and knowledge of the genre to create an authentic experience. Screenings were accompanied by the orchestra performing from the original cue sheets of the films.

Before joining the Wartburg College faculty, Wade founded and was conductor of the Des Moines Community Orchestra. In addition, she was principal second violinist of the Des Moines Symphony, served as editor of the Private Teachers Forum in the national journal of the American String Teachers Association, maintained a private teaching studio, and served on the faculty of the Interlochen National Music Camp.

As member of the Metropolitan String Quartet Wade has been a frequent soloist and has received numerous accolades, including the Leopold La Fosse Outstanding Studio Teacher award from the American String Teachers Association. In 2007 she received the Key to the City of Waverly for her many contributions to the community with the Wartburg Community Symphony.

Dr. Wade earned her Bachelor of Music Education and Master of Music Education degrees from Drake University and completed her Doctor of Musical Arts degree at the University of Iowa in 1992.

Janice passed away on April 10, 2018. Her talent, strength, friendship, and leadership will be long remembered by those who knew her. DMCO would not be what it is without Janice at the start.