Our Purpose

At Wenger Corporation our purpose is clear:
to enrich lives by enabling and inspiring great performances.

With a legacy spanning over 75 years of excellence in the arts, we are committed to fostering moments of greatness. We’re inspired every day to empower those who teach, work and perform, while igniting passion in all that we do.

Our founder, Harry Wenger, believed in the transformative power of music. John R. Clancy, founder of J.R. Clancy, believed in innovation and enhancements for theatrical rigging. At Wenger Corporation, we believe in powerful moments, whether these moments unfold in a classroom, under the spotlight of a stage, or behind the scenes. We recognize the profound impact that music and theatre can have on young minds, cultivating creativity and inspiring a sense of accomplishment.

Harry Wenger Harry Wenger

In 1946, music programs were booming in schools all across America. And during this time in Owatonna, Minnesota, Harry Wenger was the local school band director and known around town as the “Music Man”. His passion was music education, and he built the local programs into national award winners. The one thing that troubled him was the lack of good equipment – so, when he needed something, he invented and built it himself.

After tinkering in his basement, Harry started putting his unique equipment designs into the hands of his fellow music educators. His story is a classic American success story, fueled by passion to make music education more enjoyable and ensure that music was available to anyone who had the desire.

john R Clancy john R Clancy

When the London melodrama, “The Romany Rye” made its way to New York in 1882, word quickly spread that the elaborate play had staging challenges well beyond the scope of the day’s theatre rigging. In Syracuse, at the Grand Opera House, young stagehand, John Clancy knew his basic hardware store pulleys didn’t have the capacity to fly the complex and heavy scenery the production required. As opening night approached, he labored in his home workshop, ultimately devising a series of heavy-duty pulleys, sheaves, and other inventions that would not only make the scene changes possible but reinvent theatre rigging as we know it.

Soon the reputation was spreading of how a brilliant young inventor “saved the show.” Letters requesting his specialized rigging poured in from theatres across the country. In 1885 John Clancy left the opera house to found J.R. Clancy, Inc.

Dave Thomas Dave Thomas

quote markIn March 2023, shortly after becoming CEO at Wenger, I was at home in Detroit Lakes for the annual all-city band concert, a combined concert of junior high and high school bands that takes place in the high school gym. That year, it was particularly special as my daughter performed as a member of the 6th grade band, looking up to her brother performing with the high school band, and aspiring to be a percussionist like him.

I realized early in the concert that this will likely be the one and only time that I will see both of my kids playing music together, at least in a school band environment. And as I listened to the performance and looked out at the sea of kids and audience members, as well as the hundreds of Wenger music stands, another thought struck me: we describe our company as one that provides products and services primarily to music education and performing arts markets. But what dawned on me is that we do so much more than that. We don’t just make music stands, we contribute to the making of music. We don’t just make music chairs, we enable the experience of that first concert, or that first solo.

That night, watching my children perform together, underscored the significance of our work—we create memories, not just products. It was a reminder that at Wenger, regardless of your role, our business is not just stands and chairs, our purpose is to enrich lives by enabling and inspiring great performances.