UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN River Falls
Michael Drost was born on Aug. 12, 1939, in South Bend, Indiana. After moving with his parents to a farm in New Auburn, WI, he was active in farming, sports, and music. He attended UW-River Falls through the years of 1957-1961 with majors in English, chemistry, and music education. He enjoyed many areas of life. After a few years of band director/music educator work, he went on to Indiana University at Bloomington as graduate assistant, subsequently earning a Master of Music in education and band. Returning to Wisconsin, he taught music and band at Turtle Lake, Rice Lake, and River Falls.
Mike worked with Dr. Abbott in piano tuning and technology while Mike was an undergraduate; he further studied through the Piano Technicians Guild and achieved Registered Piano Technician certification. Subsequently, he served as band director and tuner-technician at Ripon College and tuner-technician at Lawrence University in Appleton, Wis.
Returning to River Falls in 1980, Mike became tuner-technician for UWRF, assisted in selecting and maintaining pianos for campus concert halls, and maintained his private business of tuning, restoring, and maintaining pianos. He was also highly active in the Piano Technicians Guild as a lecturer, and was a local, regional, and national officer. He was awarded the National Member of Note Award. Mike enjoyed many exceptional friends and associates throughout these two careers at the university and in the community. In his free time, he was an avid fisherman and hunter and reveled in returning to the farm and to the North Woods.
Mike developed the Music Minor in Piano Tuning and Maintenance for UW-RF students. He was a top craftsman and incredibly skillful in his work. His great legacy to the university, made possible by a generous grant from Music alumna Mary Ella Jerome, was to renovate and rebuild twelve grand pianos in the Music Department, an enormous task but greatly needed. Today, his son Brian continues his work as the department's piano technician.
He retired from the university in 2003 and lived in River Falls and a cabin in Northern Wisconsin until his death from cancer in 2011. He and his wife Corrine had four children and four grandchildren.