The Milwaukee metro area is very fortunate to have an active arts scene. The number of community bands and orchestras is huge compared to other areas of the country. A friend of mine moved to the South where there were two community bands in the entire state. He's glad to be back and playing every week - it is a type of relaxation he can get no where else.
If you have thought about getting back into playing, or you were just interested in the different groups in the area, this post is for you. I've published this information for the last few years, and I still get emails from folks new to the area looking for a group to play with. It all comes down to a simple fact:: if you live in the Milwaukee area and want to play with a community music group, there are lots of opportunities at all skill levels!
Here's the list that I have. If you have more information about other groups, send me an email and I'll add it to this post.
Sunday: The Milwaukee Metropolitan Community Concert Band is under the direction of Karen Lippert. They welcome all players regardless of ability and play traditional concert band music. Unfortunately, they do not have a web site at this time. If you are interested in more information, post a response or send an email and I will forward your information to the director.
Monday: The Menomonee Falls Symphony, under the direction of Mike Kamenski, rehearses on Monday evenings in Sussex at Hamilton High School. An audition is required. Their web site is under construction at this time. If you are interested in more information, post a response or send an email and I will forward your information to the director.
Tuesday: The Wauwatosa Community Band, under the direction of Donna Kummer, rehearses at Longfellow Middle School. Tosa Band performs as a symphonic band and also as Tosa Jazz, so those folks that like both genre's of music may find a good fit with this group. See their web site for more information.
Tuesday: For the folks in the western suburbs, the Waukesha Area Symphonic Band also rehearses on Tuesday. The group is directed by Rick Kirby, who has also composed music for some of the concerts. Their web site also has more information.
Tuesday: The Milwaukee Festival Brass, the only British style Brass Band in the area, rehearses on Tuesday as well. This group is unique in that they have an apprentice program for high school students as well as a youth British Brass Band. All the details are on their site.
Wednesday: The Milwaukee American Legion Band is a traditional, patriotic-style community band. They are directed by Mike Van Pelt. Their site has information on their history, which is extensive, and on joining.
Wednesday: The Lakeshore Symphonic Band serves the north shore and Ozaukee County communities, performing their concerts at the Cedarburg Performing Arts Center. Click here for their information.
Wednesday: The Knightwind Ensemble is the most decorated community band in the area, having been awarded the Sudler Silver Scroll from the John Phillip Sousa Foundation. The group performs very difficult music, and performs it well. As a result, auditions are required. Their web site has all the audition and history information. In the spirit of full disclosure, I am a volunteer for the group.
Thursday: The Milwaukee Concert Band is another group with a long history, having been sponsored at one time by the Civic Music Association. Unfortunately, they do not have a web site. There is contact information for this group at the Wisconsin Music Group web site.
Thursday: The Suburban Concert Band is based in West Allis and is sponsored by the West Allis Rec department. Their web site has all the information.
Thursday: The Greendale Village Band welcomes members of all playing abilities. Unfortunately, they do not have a web site. However, the Wisconsin Music Group site does have contact information.
And if I missed information on your group, send me an email and I'll be sure to post it.