At that juncture, Richard Francis, who had been serving as President and Manager of the Band for several years, approached a young music professor by the name of Ray Wifler about taking over the group.
Called by some the "communiversity" approach, Wifler
was among the first in Wisconsin to apply these ideas to an established group in need of a transfusion; as it turned out, he
was the right man in the right place at the right time to get the job done.
In January, 1974, Wifler
sent a letter to his
music teaching colleagues, former students, and musician friends and acquaintances throughout the area, inviting them to become part of his
new undertaking: the Fond du Lac Community Band.
credentials among fellow musicians already well-established, the response still went far beyond his
expectations, as over seventy musicians turned out to begin rehearsing at the UW Center music room.
The Buttermilk Festival, a series of four or five concerts by guest artists from around the state, was originally undertaken as a "side" project by the Band's director and manager, Ray Wifler and Mary Arthur.
With a consistent membership of 65 to 75 musicians during the school year and no home for this large band's concerts except the heavily-scheduled theater at Goodrich High School
came up with two innovations that have grown into local institutions.
In 1985 Dr. Wifler left the Center to develop an instrumental music program at Marian College and the Band moved with him, establishing an "in residence" status which continues to the present time, to the mutual benefit of both entities.