Episode 11: Ray Cramer, Director Emeritus, Indiana University, and Michael Fiske, Director Emeritus, Joliet Central High School

TWO GUESTS this time around.  Steve and I sit down with Ray Cramer, Indiana University, and Mike Fiske, Joliet Central High School, and realize that they're both better at hosting a show than we are.  

We had a great conversation with Professor Cramer and Mr. Fiske, covering everything from selecting good music, being a role model outside of just music, and even Mike's time as a graduate student under Professor Cramer. 

So much history and information, and so little time!  We hope to have both of these great educators on again.  Press play below, or subscribe on iTunes/Android devices - you won't want to miss episode 11.


Ray E. Cramer was a member of the Indiana University School of Music faculty from the fall of 1969 through May 2005. In 1982, Mr. Cramer was appointed Director of Bands. Under his leadership the Indiana University Wind Ensemble earned an international reputation for outstanding musical performances including the 1982 ABA Convention, Indianapolis; the 1984 joint American Bandmasters Association/Japan Bandmasters Association Convention, Tokyo; the 1988 NAfME National Convention, Indianapolis; the 1991 National CBDNA Convention in Kansas City, the 1994 National NAfME Convention in Cincinnati, the 1995 ABA Convention in Lawrence, Kansas, the 1997 National CBDNA Convention in Athens, Georgia, the 2003 CBDNA National Convention in Minneapolis, MN, a 2000 spring tour to Japan performing in six cities and the All Japan Band Clinic plus numerous regional and state conventions and a 2003 performance at The Midwest Clinic.

In addition to his administrative responsibilities as the Department Chair, Mr. Cramer taught graduate courses in wind conducting, history and literature. He also conducted the University Orchestra for seven years during the fall semester.

He is a member of ABA, CBDNA, NBA, WASBE, NAfME, IMEA, IBA, CIDA, and is affiliated with Phi Mu Alpha, Kappa Kappa Psi, Tau Beta Sigma, and Phi Beta Mu. Mr. Cramer is a recipient of the Student Alumni Council Senior Faculty Award (1983), the Kappa Kappa Psi Distinguished Service to Music Award (1988), the CIDA Director of the Year Award (1988), the Phi Beta Mu, International Assembly, Outstanding Bandmaster Award (1988), the Kappa Kappa Psi Bohumil Makovsky Memorial Award (1991), the Goldman award (2002), and the 2005 Midwest Medal of Honor. He is a past National President of the College Band Directors National Association, the American Bandmasters Association and has served as president of the Indiana Bandmasters Association, the North Central Division of CBDNA and the Big Ten Band Directors Association. He is the current President of the Midwest Clinic, an international band and orchestra convention held in Chicago each December.

Mr. Cramer is actively involved in clinics and guest conducting engagements nationally and internationally. He has served as regular guest conductor for the Musashino Academia of Music in Tokyo, Japan from the fall of 1990 to the present.

A native of Illinois, Mr. Cramer has a B.A. and Honorary Doctorate from Western Illinois University and an MFA from the University of Iowa. He taught at Indiana University for 36 years, and served as Director of Bands for 24 years.

Michael Fiske is the Director Emeritus of the Joliet Central High School band.  Mr. Fiske returned to his beloved school district when he was appointed the fourth band director of the JTHS Band at Central Campus in 2002. Prior to coming to Central, Mr. Fiske enjoyed a successful 25-year career directing high school bands in Illinois and Indiana, most recently at Morris High School.

Under Mr. Fiske’s direction, the Central Band has continued a tradition of excellence. They were Grand Champions at Illinois State University in 2003, and have been Best in Class several times since then in the Illinois State University Contest. The band has had annual representation in the Illinois Music Educators Association District and All-State Festivals. They have performed in Orlando, Atlanta and New York City. They were Grand Champions at the New York National Freedom Festival in 2006 and Best in Class at Festival Disney in 2008. They also performed at Walt Disney World in 2004 and 2012, and at Six Flags Over Georgia in 2010. Locally, the Central Band remains a favorite in downtown parades and at home basketball and football games. The Central Big Band gives numerous performances each year in Joliet and Chicago. The band maintains an active concert schedule during the school year, having just completed the 106th concert season.