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Willy Bolliger

Willy Bolliger lives in Olten, is married and has four grown-up children. He was born in 1942, grew up with his four siblings on the parental farm and finished his apprenticeship as a mechanic in 1962. Parallel to his professional work as a toolmaker he did an apprenticeship as an electronic technician, which allowed him to accept an interesting, diversified occupation out in the field.

When still a teenager he played brass instruments. In his time off he attended wind player- and conducting courses at the EMV (Swiss Music Association). Because music fascinated him more and more, he decided to study at the music academy in Basel at the department of orchestra, his major subject being bassoon. Around 1970 he changed to the conservatory in Lucerne. During his time there, he co-founded the “Camerata Luzern”, a septet-formation of young music students from the conservatory in Lucerne. Furthermore, he played as a longtime member with the “Raicha-Bläserquintett” (the Raicha wind-player quintet) in Lucerne.

In spring 1972 he graduated with a diploma as wind band conductor, followed by a year of study in Paris, which concentrated on playing the bassoon.

In 1974 he started to work as a music teacher at the municipal musical school in Olten. At the same time, he was offered the position as solo-bassoonist at the symphony orchestra of the Canton of Aargau. An active concert occupation at home and abroad followed. In 1984, he was elected director of the musical school. Due to this challenge, he gave up the orchestra position and the bassoon-classes at the public academic high schools in Aarau and Olten. He stayed director of the musical school until his early retirement in February 2003.

After his father-in-law died in 1979 he was appointed conductor of the church choir of the Christian-Catholic church in Olten. Afterwards, he was trained as church musician at the church music school in Lucerne.

In the year 1984 he got to know the Place of Grace St. Michael in Dozwil to which he was connected with conviction from the beginning. Thereat, he volunteered to help with the church music and directed wind music, choir and orchestra of the St. Michael’s association from 1990 until his calling to priesthood in February 2003.

Thomas Graber

Thomas Graber lives in Rorschacherberg, is married and father of three grown-up children. He was born in 1951 and grew up together with his five siblings on a farm.

After graduating from high school, Thomas Graber attended the teachers training college in Rorschach. From 1971 until 2006 he taught at the middle school in Rorschacherberg. Furthermore, he worked as a head of traineeship in the field of teacher training.

Thomas Graber got to know the Work of St. Michael in the early stages of Paul’s ministry. When he attended his first psychology course given by Paul Kuhn in Rorschach, he was hardly 15 years old. From the very first course he was aware that he could successfully apply what he has learned in school, family and in sports. His sportive passion was weightlifting. Several times he became Swiss champion with the juniors, the elite and with the team.

Since 1983 he directed a children’s- and later on also a youth choir at the Work of St. Michael. From 1968 until his calling to priesthood in February 2003 he was part of the big church choir.