William Wieland’s Long Biography (created at the request of my students) William Wieland
I grew up on a livestock and small grain farm near Dazey, ND where my brother and his family still live. My wife grew up on a similar farm near Kathryn, ND. We and our children enjoy spending time on the farms and continue making fond memories with those rural communities. The church of my childhood was St. Mary's Church, Dazey, ND.
Math, &
Though I took piano lessons from the 3rd grade through college, during high school I wanted to be a dairy farmer and had not chosen a major when I enrolled at Valley City State College in Valley City, ND. After declaring a math major, I gradually decided that music classes were easier and more fun for me and changed to a music major. I still earned a minor math minor and my calculus professor, Roger Rand, was my advisor until I graduated. Playing piano in the late 70s
Mary Ann Mary Ann and I met at VCSC in choir. (choir tour bus ride) To satisfy half of our phy ed requirement, we enrolled in Social Dance and Raquetball together. Fast forward a quarter century—my middle-school-aged daughter and I enrolled in Daughters and Dads Dancing through the Aberdeen Parks and Rec.
Twin Cities
& Badlands
I lived in Minneapolis, MN for two years while working on my master's degree at the The University of Minnesota, spending the summers in Medora, ND, next to the Theodore Roosevelt National Park. I played keyboards in the Medora Musical (192 shows). Mary Ann worked for a time in both Minneapolis and Medora.
Skydiving While studying in the Twin Cities, my cousin, Mike, and I went skydiving in Baldwin, WI. I had never flown before skydiving. For several months I could say that I had taken off in a plane, but never landed in one.
Wedding After I graduated with a Master of Arts, we enjoyed a hot air balloon ride as our early wedding gift to each other. We celebrated a traditional country wedding in Kathryn, ND with over 200 guests. Marvin & Solveig Nelson, Mary Ann and me, Peggy & Jack Wieland
Chicago After our honeymoon in the Canadian rockies, we moved to Illinois and for six years lived eight blocks north of Chicago in Evanston, IL while I worked on my doctoral degree in music composition at Northwestern University. Mary Ann's job paid the bills. We frequented ethnic restaurants, museums, theatres, Orchestra Hall, and Lyric Opera of Chicago.
In 1990 we decided to join the Peace Corps. This was a dream of mine for many years. After completing the lengthy application and interview process, the Peace Corps turned us down because of my heart condition. We asked them to return our file. “Laos couple” was handwritten on our application.
In 1994 we moved to South Dakota and I began paying the bills. We had three children in Aberdeen, SD. Fortunately, Mary Ann was able to stay at home with our kids.
Teaching The courses I teach and most of my course materials are on my homepage. I teach first-year theory every day of the week. This fosters great camaraderie among the music majors. I teach piano lessons and class piano. (Every music major must demonstrate keyboard competency.) I also teach music composition (I complete about one commissioned composition per year.) and upper level music theory courses including an online class. Educators at small universities wear many hats.
German I speak only German to my children. When they were young, our favorite books included Usborne's vocabulary/picture book First Thousand Words in German, Eric Carle's Die kleine Raupe Nimmersatt, and Marcus Pfister's Der Regenbogenfisch. We also watched the animated film, Muzzy in Gondoland, (in German) many times. When they were a little older, we enjoyed several books by Janosch including Oh, wie schön ist Panama, Post für den Tiger, and Ich mach dich gesund, sagte der Bär. When they started school we enjoyed Astrid Lindgren's Pippi Langstrumpf and Otfried Preußler's Der Räuber Hotzenplotz. Later, we read the first Harry Potter book in German. How I Learned German
Literature I enjoy listening to my wife read aloud. I tried reading to her, but put her to sleep. My wife does great voices. I suspect that few have read all of Moby Dick aloud! We particularly like Jane Austen as well as series like The Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter. Books Mary Ann has read aloud to me (Excel file) Books recommended by Joe Stickler, a retired science professor
Health If you're unhealthy, you can't do anyone any good. Better health is one of my top priorities. I exercise, eat right, and get enough sleep.
Exercise Mary Ann and I both walk for exercise, though not together since we walk at different speeds. (She says walking with me is like walking a golden retriever. She wants a leash.) I walked my kids to elementary and middle school almost every school day from 2002–2014. Most days I take an early morning, 30+ minute walk before breakfast. Every date divisible by 3 or during inclement weather, I do calisthenics. I have had no lower back pain since I started this regimen.
Eat Right I eat vegetables, fruit, whole grains, protein, and skim milk at every meal. My breakfast is Cheerios with milk, frozen peas (just thawed), a little canned salmon, and an orange. I eat meat at least once a day and tuna canned in water once a week. I snack on unsalted peanuts, unsalted sunflower nuts, and raw pumpkin seeds. I consume little or no pop, candy, dessert, or fast food. I enjoy a single glass of dry red wine or can of low-carb beer in the evening. I seldom eat between 7:00 pm and 7:00 am. Menu (ideas)
Sleep Getting a good night's sleep is more challenging as we grow older. I have scheduled a power nap most days of the week. Mary Ann benefits from morning sleep, so I try to be quiet in the morning.
My Heart I had open heart surgery in June 2014. I was born with a heart condition and today I have two artificial heart valves. Please read more at My Heart Story.
Conservation We are conservationists. Reduce, reuse, recycle, renew! On long trips, we drive small cars which get 35 to 40 mpg. In town, we drive an electric vehicle. We have owned two: a 2015 Nissan Leaf and now a 2023 Chevy Bolt. We compost, mow with a rechargeable electric mower, and have no dryer. Mary Ann hangs all of our clothes to dry. After the first hard frost, we invite family and friends to our basement to press apples into juice. Our press is the Homesteader from Happy Valley Ranch. During summer vacation I use a solar oven which I designed and built: 2007 Solar Oven. I learned much from the Solar Cookers International Network website. We also installed Solar Panels.
Clothes To keep my life simple, I have four categories of clothes.
  1. Dress Clothes (important holidays, concerts, weddings, funerals, etc.) — 2 suits (both charcoal black so they don’t go out of style), a few dress shirts, and a number of ties including a bow tie so it looks like I own a tux.
  2. Teaching Clothes (school, church, business casual, etc.) — a few pairs of black pants, a few pairs of khaki pants (I alternate between black and khaki each day.), about a dozen long-sleeved shirts, and another dozen short-sleeved shirts. The shirts match the black and/or khaki pants.
  3. Saturday Clothes — clothes that are too worn for teaching, but good enough to wear when I run errands and might see someone I know.
  4. Work Clothes — clothes that are so worn or patched that my wife only allows me to wear them when I work in the garden, mow the lawn, shovel snow, etc. I relax at the end of the day in work clothes and wear them when I exercise in the morning.
Smartphone I resisted buying a smartphone until the summer of 2021 when we realized that we would save about $1,000 if we disconnected our landline and I joined my family’s plan. For many years I did not get a flip phone, cell phone, or smartphone because I have a phone in my office, we had a landline at home, and I was not interested in phone calls while walking or teaching.
Philanthropy My wife and I give money and time to many organizations. My wife assisted with our local elementary school so often that the secretary who buzzed her in once said, “We need to get you a badge!” BBB Wise Giving Alliance, Charity Navigator, and Charity Watch, among others, can help you choose reputable national charities.
In about the seventh grade, I began playing the organ at St. Mary's, a rural church next to our farm. I still lead the music at their Corpus Christi celebration every summer as well as Christmas every even year. The summer before ninth grade, my wife began playing organ at St. Paul's in Kathryn, ND. While studying at the University of MN, I played a keyboard at the Newman Center and, during the summers, at St. Mary's in Medora, ND. In Evanston, Mary Ann and I sang at St. Nicholas Church. I also played organ for a year at St. Paul's German church and substituted at churches in the Chicago area. In Aberdeen, we sing and play at St. Mary's. Since 2009, I have led the “Latin Choir”. We sing mostly Latin, a cappella polyphony once a month during the school year. Since 2013, I have sung and helped accompany the All-Faiths Chorus in Hoven, SD. They present the “Christmas on the Prairie” concert with the SD Symphony.
Summers Since 2006, I have joined over 100 music theory instructors from across the country for one week each summer and correct over 18,000 AP Music Theory exams. We have met in Ewing, NJ; Lincoln, NE; Cincinatti, OH; and Kansas City, MO. Most summers since 1995 I have taught piano at the International Music Camp (week 4) on the Manitoba/North Dakota border. I am currently the piano camp coordinator. My youngest son was a piano camper from 2015–2019. It was wonderful to share that time with him. (I missed these summer events in 2014 because of my open heart surgery as well as 2020 and 2021 because of COVID-19.)
Travel My mother-in-law, father-in-law, wife, and I drove to Alaska in 1996—8000 miles in 4 weeks. Mary Ann and I have traveled to Germany and Norway several times including a train trip from southern Germany to Bodø, a Norwegian city above the Arctic Circle. I took my eldest son to Germany for a month when he was three. Though I am a fourth generation German-American, I still keep in touch with my distant cousins. From August, 2009 to March 2010, we hosted a German foreign exchange student, my 3rd cousin Franz-Georg Wieland. Mary Ann corresponds with her Norwegian relatives. My wife grew up taking a family trip each summer. Our immediate family has continued this tradition and we have adopted a three-year cycle: regional trip, national trip, and international trip. (Don't overlook what is in your own backyard.) Jet Lag Experiment
2003 — Seattle & Port Angeles, WA
2004 — Sioux Falls & De Smet, SD
2005 — Iceland, southern Norway,
southern Germany, & Salzburg
2009 — SD Badlands & Black Hills
2010 — Washington D.C. (Amtrak)
2011 — Iceland, northern Norway,
southern Germany, & Alsace
2015 — Omaha, NE
2016 — Rocky Mtn. Natl. Park
2017 — southern Germany and
 a day trip to Switzerland
2006 — Winnipeg & northeast ND
2007 — Chicago
2008 — Seattle (Amtrak),
 Port Angeles, WA & Victoria, BC
2012 — Twin Cities & central MN
2013 — Yellowstone Natl. Park
2014 — Minneapolis, Chicago,
 Interlochen, & Terrace Bay, ON
2018 — Mason City, IA & Chicago
2019 — Boston
2020 — COVID-19 Pandemic
 (no family trip)
Miscellany For almost 2 decades, I was a board member of the Aberdeen Community Concert Association. For 9 years I was the Lincoln Maids and Spaids 4-H Club leader and served a term as the Brown County 4-H Leaders Association Secretary. I currently belong to the local Pax Christi group, a peace organization, as well as the Friends of the Aberdeen University/Civic Symphony.
You've read my story. Please tell me about yourself sometime!

Bill and Mary Ann Wieland
1521 South Main Street
Aberdeen, SD 57401
Wieland GenealogyOld Photos

Our Heritage Dazey, North Dakota 1883 – 1983
2013 Peggy Wieland Interview:  Part 1Part 2Part 3

2012 Ray Arbuckle Interview:  Part 1Part 2Part 3
Family Crests:  Wieland (Larger)  Berger (Larger)  Wieland/EberleRist/WielandHistoryBook of Heraldry (2 examples)