Saturday, August 30, 2008

First concert of the fall season

We haven't even made it to September and there is a concert coming up!

The Menomonee Falls Symphony Orchestra observes the seventh anniversary of the September 11th tragedy with a performance of Karl Jenkins The Armed Man: A Mass for Peace. The performance will be on Wednesday evening September 10th at 7:30 PM at the Basilica of St. Josephat, corner of 6th and Lincoln. Joining the MFSO are the choirs of St. Sebastian Parish and the Milwaukee Archdiocese.

Here is a description from the composer's web site: "In a manner reminiscent of Benjamin Britten's War Requiem, The Armed Man interpolates a number of different texts within the usual Mass form. Malory, Dryden, Swift, Tennyson, Kipling, The Koran and the Hindu Mahàbharàta contribute to a compelling account of the descent into and terrible consequences of war."

Tickets are $10. For more information or to purchase tickets, please call 262-679-0779. You can also send email to

Thursday, August 21, 2008

As promised, here's the list!

As promised, here is the list that I have of the community music groups in the Milwaukee Area, the nights they rehearse, and other information. This will give you all an understanding of the different groups, what they offer, and how to contact them. If you'd like more information about a particular group, send me an email at bigbruceb at yahoo dot com, and I'll get it to the correct person.

The post is organized by the day of the group rehearsals. Here we go:

Sunday: There is one group rehearsing on Sunday evening, the Milwaukee Metropolitan Community Concert Band. The band is always looking for new members. If an audition is needed, it is in order to determine where a person would sit. The group performs a more traditional concert band repertoire, and performs most of the year. The group is lead by conductor Karen Lippert. Unfortunately the group does not have a web site at this time. If you're interested in more information, please send me an email and I'll forward it to the conductor.

Monday: There is a community orchestra rehearsing on Monday evenings, the Menomonee Falls Symphony, directed by Mike Kamenski. Auditions are required. The group performs traditional symphony orchestra works. To get more information, see the web site:

Tuesday: There are three groups rehearsing on Tuesday evening: the Wauwatosa Community Band, the Waukesha Area Symphonic Band, and the Milwaukee Festival Brass, the area's only British style brass band. First, the Wauwatosa Community Band is sponsored in part by the Wauwatosa Parks and Rec department and welcomes any and all players. Their concerts are lighter in nature with some more serious works for band. See their web site for more information: http://www.arcfile/com/wcb/index.html

Also on Tuesday is the Waukesha Area Symphonic Band. WASB performs more serious works and more difficult works for band. Auditions are required. Their web site is If you have problems displaying the web site, I do know that their site maintenance is going on now. Send me an email and I'll forward your contact info to the correct people.

Finally on Tuesday is the Milwaukee Festival Brass directed by Dr. Pat Backhaus, one of my favorite groups. If you are a brass or percussion player, this group offers something different from most community groups as the instrumentation is that of a traditional British Brass Band. The music is a wide variety from Pops favorites to very difficult brass band competition pieces. Auditions are required. See the web site for more info:

Wednesday: There are three groups rehearsing on Wednesday evening: the Sudler Award Winning Knightwind Ensemble, the Lakeshore Symphonic Band, and the Milwaukee American Legion Band. The Legion band is modeled on the traditional patriotic military band. Not sure if they require auditions. Please see the web site for more information:

The Lakeshore Symphonic Band is located in Ozaukee County in Grafton. Their performances are at the Cedarburg Arts Center. You can get more information from their web site:

The Knightwind Ensemble also rehearses on Wednesday evening. The Ensemble specializes in performing newer works for band and wind symphony. Their web site has the list of the pieces performed in concert over the past 10 years plus, and it includes international award winning pieces. Auditions are required, and the band will add you to the waiting list if the section is full. See the web site for more information: The Ensemble received the Sudler Silver Scroll from the John Philip Sousa Foundation in December of 2005. of the tens of thousands of community bands eligible for the award, the Knightwind Ensemble is one of 34 groups to EVER receive the award. Quite the accomplishment!

Thursday: Three groups rehearse on Thursday evening. The first is the Milwaukee Concert Band. As they do not ave a web site, it is difficult to get information about the group. However, if you are interested in a Thursday rehearsal, send me an email and I will make sure that the director receives it. Also rehearsing on Thursday is the Suburban Concert Band in West Allis, and the Greendale Village Band. These groups do not have web sites either. However, the Wisconsin Music Group Band list at has contact information for them. The problem is that the list is a bit out of date and I do not know if the contact information is correct or not. However, if you are interested in these groups, this is the best information available.

And that wraps up the list of community music groups in the Milwaukee area. If I missed one that you know of, please email me or add a comment to the post. I'll be sure to add it to the list.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Summer is near the end...

However, in the last week, I have been out of the area vacationing. And it was very nice, thank you very much! However, it also means I did not work on the list of community music groups, when they rehearse, whether an audition is needed, etc. So I promise to do that in the next week and post it on Sunday the 24th.

Thanks for your patience.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

We're lucky, and that gives you options

The summer community band season is winding down. Many groups have completed their summer season while a few have a couple of concerts left. So get out and support your local community band!

But if the summer season is winding down, that means the fall season preparations are underway. Many groups are selecting music, and some are scheduling auditions. We're lucky here in the Milwaukee Metro area in that we have so many different community music organizations of all different skill levels. We have a community orchestra in Menomonee Falls, a number of concert bands all over the metro area including one that is nationally recognized, lots of different types of groups playing for church services, and a number of jazz big bands. We even have a British Brass Band. Very few communities can make that boast. And one of my co-workers who has had assignments all over the world has mentioned that there are areas of our country where there two or three community bands in the state. He was always amazed that our area had so much musical talent to support the many musical groups in the area. We are really lucky!

Another of my friends made this observation: if someone in the metro area wants to play in a band or orchestra, and they find that they are not doing so, they only have themselves to blame!
And that statement is also true. There are so many groups at different talent levels, rehearsing on different nights of the week, that it would be difficult NOT to find a group to play with.

So in the next few posts, I'll be going over the different community music groups in the area. So if you are debating about joining a community music group, you'll have a number options to evaluate. Until then, it's time to get out the instrument and dust off your beginner or intermediate method books and get those musical genes working again. Rehearsals will begin in the next few weeks!