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Eau Claire Native Nick Poss Was Raised With Music, and Now He’s Schooling a New Generation


Nick Poss 


Sara (wife); sons Carsten (9) and Oliver (6); cats Henry and Ada; dog Rosie


Eastside Hill, Eau Claire


Growing up in Eau Claire, Nick Poss’ childhood was filled with music – rock, funk, jazz, and liturgical. Now, as owner of the Eau Claire Music School, he’s sharing that passion with new generations in the Chippewa Valley. After getting a bachelor’s degree from UW-Eau Claire, Poss moved away to receive master’s and doctoral degrees at the Ohio State University, where he studied ethnomusicology – specifically traditional Hmong music. After starting a family, he and his wife, Sara, a Stevens Point native, decided to return to Wisconsin. While living in Waukesha County, they visited Eau Claire to attend the inaugural Eaux Claires Music & Arts Festival in 2015. On the bus to the festival grounds, a friend, Shawn Smets, said his family was planning on selling the Eau Claire Music School. “Almost as a joke, I suggested that we buy it and move back to the area,” Nick says. But the joke soon became serious, and the Poss family bought the music school and settled in Eau Claire. “It has been a huge learning curve – having no experience with running a business,” he says. “But it allows me the freedom to pursue my passion for music and education.” In addition to running the music school, Nick founded the Chippewa Valley Youth Chorus and the Chippewa Valley Ukulele Orchestra and started the Music Education Fund, a non-profit to create opportunities for area children to learn music with others. He talked with Chippewa Valley Family about tubing at Big Falls, staring at his garden, and his secret super power.

We love the Chippewa Valley because it provides a balance of affordable living, access to art and education, and opportunities for getting out in nature. Also, it’s the only location for Egg Roll Plus.

  • I couldn’t live without my family. Playing music is pretty great, too.
  • I make sure to never miss Eaux Claires (or at least Oxbeaux this summer).
  • My favorite place to take the kids is Big Falls for swimming and tubing.
  • My family has taught me that the best thing in life is spending time together.
  • I never leave the house without first checking to see how our garden is doing.
  • Our typical weekend is after I teach a music class (or two) and play music for church, we work around the house, hit up a park for a picnic, and try to find a new place to explore.
  • In the summer, you’ll find us camping, hanging out at the public library, and riding bikes.
  • When the kids are with a sitter, we love to get dinner downtown and see some live music.
  • My spouse always laughs at me because I spend a lot of time standing in the yard staring at the plants in our garden.
  • My spouse would say my super power is napping.
  • My kids will tell you that their dad makes up the best bedtime stories.

If I could pass on one bit of advice it would be to spend less time complaining about what you don’t like about our community and spend more time making it what you want it to be.