Sunday, December 28, 2014

Happy New Year!

Well, almost!

The Milwaukee Community Music Blog takes a week off between the Holidays.

Next week will be the Concert Calendar for the second half of the 2014 - 2015 concert season.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

The roots of community music

The Holidays always are more festive with music.  Whatever your choice is for celebration at this time, there is a good chance that your friends and neighbors will be volunteering their musical talents to make those celebrations more wonderful.  Be sure to thank them for their music making.  The musicians playing church services or Holiday concerts at senior centers are the roots from which the community bands and orchestras grow.

And whichever Holiday you keep, may it be a wonderful one for you!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Horns A Plenty Christmas

This event is a special Holiday treat for performers and listeners alike.  The Horns A Plenty Christmas event is part rehearsal, part concert, part master class, and all fun.

The event is open to all French Horn players regardless of ability.  You can show up and register, get a Horns A Plenty T-Shirt to wear during the concert, and the book of music to play.  All of the proceeds go to horn scholarships.  This year, Horns A Plenty Christmas events have happened in South Milwaukee and Kansas City, and will happen in Appleton on Saturday December 20.  This year the event returns to the Fox Valley Lutheran High School on Appleton's north side.

This year's special guest is Sarah Schmalenberger.  She teaches Horn at the University of St. Thomas in Minneapolis.  She will lead the master class at 11:30.  All performers are invited to attend the master class.  The concert rehearsal for performers is set for 1 PM.

For non-players, the concert is free and enjoyable, will take about an hour (no intermission), and will begin at 2PM.  If you enjoy the music and want to contribute to the scholarship fund, there will be an opportunity to do so.  And all contributions go directly to the fund.

For more information, you can see the Horns A Plenty web site or the Facebook page.

Take some time out of your schedule to enjoy this performance.  It is well worth the effort.  And I love the Cherry Tree Carol!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Milwaukee Festival Brass and Waukesha Area Symphonic Band concerts

The Milwaukee Festival Brass will present Holiday In Brass on Saturday evening December 13th at their new home:  the Performing Arts Center at Pius XI High School on North 76th Street in Milwaukee.  Music Director Mark A. Taylor was kind enough to summarize the program for us.
“Holidays rituals are richly interwoven with music,” said Music Director Mark A. Taylor.  “Everyone has treasured songs and traditions that unleash a flood of memories.  But the season also provides us with an opportunity to hear new melodies – or sometimes even familiar ones in a new way – that teach us to appreciate our loved ones and our communities with a fresh perspective.”  The concert will feature no fewer than thirty unique Christmas and Hanukkah songs in a program compiled from master composers and arrangers for the brass band. 

The band is honored to devote the second half of its program to the brass band works of local musician, Andrew Wainwright.  Currently based in Milwaukee, Mr. Wainwright is a noted arranger and composer with a lengthy list of accolades gained from performances with some of the finest brass bands in the United States and United Kingdom.  The Milwaukee Festival Brass is especially pleased to be presenting many of Mr. Wainwright’s works in their regional premieres.  These works are sure to surprise and delight brass band enthusiasts and merrymakers.

More information, including group rates, are available from the MFB web site.  The MFB Holiday concerts are always wonderful.  I hope to see you there.

On the evening before you can join the Waukesha Area Symphonic Band on Friday December 12 at 7:30 PM in Shattuck Auditorium on the campus of Carroll University for some festive music of the season.  Not only will the full band perform, but many chamber ensembles from within the band will share their music.  It is definitely worth taking some time out of the busy schedule to enjoy this music. 

And the best part is that the admission is free!  The folks at WASB ask that you bring non-perishable food items to help stock the local food pantry. 

For more information, or to see their concert poster, just check their web site.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Holiday Concerts and the Concord Chamber Orchestra

Here's the list of Holiday concerts I have.  The first weekend of December is a busy one!


Christmas Dinner provided by the Concord Chamber Orchestra

The Concord Chamber Orchestra presents their Holiday concert Christmas Dinner on Saturday December 6th at the Basilica of St. Josephat on 6th and Lincoln in Milwaukee.  The Orchestra will feature the Winter Bonfire Suite for Chorus and Orchestra by Prokofiev.  I have to admit I am not familiar with the piece and am looking forward to hearing it.  I always enjoy the Overture to Russlan and Ludmilla, and that is a great piece to open the concert.

The CCO is also performing a Sing-Along of Handel's Messiah.  This used to be performed annually in Milwaukee, but has fallen to the side over the last couple of years.  It's great to see that the CCO is bringing it back for 2014.

You can get more information and purchase tickets at the CCO web site.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving to all

No post this week...just the best of wishes for you and yours as we all celebrate living in this wonderful country and give thanks for all the blessings we have received.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

An appreciation of Community Music

The fall concert season has pretty much completed.  All of the groups are preparing for their mid-winter of Holiday concerts. 

I have a request of you.  As you celebrate the Holidays, from Thanksgiving through New Years, if there is musical entertainment at your church service, tree lighting ceremony, or other events, take some time to thank the musicians (assuming that you enjoyed their performance).  In a lot of cases, these musicians are volunteering their time and talents for the good of the community.  This is true community music.

I especially enjoy thanking the middle school musicians that play at the tree lighting ceremonies, or perform short concerts at the shopping malls.  They do well for where they are in their development and need to be encouraged.  So, even if you hear a few wrong notes in Winter Wonderland, give them some encouragement.  You'll brighten their day and yours!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Oshkosh Horn Choir Performs

The Oshkosh Horn Choir under the direction of Dr. Bruce Atwell, will perform on November 11 at 7 PM in the Music Hall in the Arts and Communications Center on the UW Oshkosh Campus.  If you have never heard a choir of French horns, it is very special.  The sound and textures are wonderful.

Dr. Atwell has chosen a wide variety of music for the Horn Choir, from music by Bach to the music of Freddie Mercury.  One piece on the program that I am looking forward to is an arrangement of Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody for 15 French Horns.  FIFTEEN!  That will truly be an event!

If you are anywhere near the Fox Valley on Tuesday the 11th, you must attend this concert. 

One final note:  the concert is free.  Just show up and enjoy the music!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Some upcoming concerts

There are three concerts coming up on the calendar.  Unfortunately, I do not have information on the music being presented.

On Saturday November 8th, the Waukesha Area Symphonic Band performs at Carroll University at 7:30 PM.

On Sunday November 9th, the Milwaukee Concert Band performs at Brown Deer High School at 2PM.

And on Thursday November 13th, the Milwaukee Metropolitan Community Concert Band performs a joint concert with St. John's Lutheran School in Lannon.


Sunday, October 26, 2014

Milwaukee Festival Brass Concert

Don't forget the Milwaukee Festival Brass concert coming up on Sunday November 2 at 3 PM.  The MFB will be celebrating their 30th year of music making with a concert entitled Not much...You? 

Here's some details of the program from Music Director Mark Taylor:

The first half of the program is devoted to music with specific connections to Wisconsin.  Turning 30 is a great time to look back and reflect on the people and places that have influenced our history.  We are deeply grateful to the people of the Milwaukee and Southeast Wisconsin community who have shared so much to shape who we are today.”

Longtime fans of a popular radio quiz program based in Madison will recognize the show’s signature opening question (Q: “Whad’Ya Know?”  A: “Not Much…You?”), as well as its host’s singular celebration of all things Wisconsin.  The concert opens with a fanfare penned by the band’s founder, the late Wayne Becker.  We celebrate the achievements of the Milwaukee area’s many outstanding music teachers as veteran Kenosha band director and MFB principal baritone Paul Taylor performs John Golland’s "Rhapsody for Baritone No. 2".  Philip Sparke’s "A Quiet Moment", composed in memory of the late James Krofta, will be presented.  Finally, Percy Grainger’s iconic "Lincolnshire Posy", which premiered in Milwaukee in 1937, receives yet another Wisconsin premiere for a brand new brass band version arranged by John MacKay. 

The concert’s second half takes a more literal approach to the theme of “Not Much,” as the band explores a variety of works related to minimalism, a style in which composers use the smallest possible musical inspiration to create an entire piece.   In this portion of the program the band will perform works by Richard Saucedo, James Ord Hume, William Himes, Dave Brubeck, and Johan de Meij. 

The Milwaukee Festival Brass will present “Not Much…You?” on Sunday, November 2, 2014 at 3:00 p.m. at First Presbyterian Church, 810 North East Ave., Waukesha, WI.  Tickets are $12, or $9 for seniors and students.  Group rates are available.  For more information, please visit the MFB website at

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Two concerts coming up

There are two concerts coming up in the next couple of weeks.  The first is on Sunday October 26th at 3 PM in the Schwan Concert Hall of Wisconsin Lutheran College.  The Milwaukee Metropolitan Community Concert Band performs Autumn Colors of Red, White and Blue, a concert of Patriotic music.  While I do not have a list of music to be performed, the concerts are always fun.  You can find more information on the MMCCB web site.

The second concert is just two days later.  Join the Wauwatosa Community Band for some Halloween fun on Tuesday October 28th at 7 PM in Wauwatosa's Longfellow Middle School (76th and North).  This is a great concert for the trick-or-treaters in your house, as anyone wearing a Halloween costume is admitted free to the concert.  And there are treats after the concert as well.

Get into the spooky spirit of Halloween with the classic Night on Bald Mountain.  Also on the program is music of Disney movies, including Brave and Frozen.  Your little goblins will have a great time. 

If you choose not to dress the part, you can get tickets at the door.  If you need more information about the concert, check out the Tosa Band web site.

One final comment:  both of these groups perform wonderful concerts for the younger ones in the audience.  Concerts like this can help develop an appreciation of symphonic music.  I highly recommend both groups.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Menomonee Falls Symphony upcoming concert

The Menomonee Falls Symphony Orchestra will present "The Anatomy of an Orchestra" on Saturday evening October 25 at 7:30 PM in the Hamilton Fine Arts Center, at Sussex Hamilton High School. 

The MFSO Music Director, Michael Kamenski, has chosen light classical works to showcase the different areas of the orchestra.  This concert will be wonderful to expose students to the different types of sounds that instruments make, and how the classical composers assemble the sounds into music.  While I do not have the program details, I do know that one of my favorite pieces is on the program:  The Procession of the Nobles by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, from his opera-ballet Mlada.

Tickets are available at the Hamilton Fine Arts Center box office.  You can also buy tickets and get more information about the concert at the MFSO web site.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Upcoming Concert

The concert season is beginning.  The Concord Chamber Orchestra 2014-15 season begins on Saturday October 18 at 8 PM at St. Matthew's Lutheran Church in Wauwatosa (1615 Wauwatosa Avenue).  The overall theme for this season's concerts is A Musical Buffet.  The summer concerts were Picnics in the Parks.  Now in October, the CCO presents the Fall Feast.  As the CCO concert flier says: 
"Snuggle in to the warm, lush Viennese sounds of Beethoven and Brahms, with the added spice of crisp harp notes. Would you like a little whipped cream with that?" 
This is wonderful music you can sink your teeth into! 

The most interesting piece on the program in my opinion is the Harp Concerto by former Milwaukeean Dan Lawitts.  Dan now resides in upstate New York, but while in Milwaukee was a member of the CCO, and was their resident composer.  He has since moved on in his career but his music returns for a CCO performance.  The soloist that evening is Lauren Finn, a student of Milwaukee harpist Ann Lobotzke. 

Here is the full program for the concert:
  • Coriolan Overture by Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Harp Concerto by Dan Lawitts
  • Pavane, Op. 50 by Gabriel Fauré
  • Serenade No. 1 by Johannes Brahms
As always, more information and tickets are available at the Concord Chamber Orchestra web site.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

New web site for the Milwaukee Concert Band

The Milwaukee Concert Band now has a web site.  It details the history of this group, going back to 1940.

If you are looking to play in a community band that rehearses on Thursday evenings, you may want to review their web site.  You can send a message to the band from the Schedules page, for more information.

And it states that the fall concert will be on Sunday November 9th at 2 PM at Brown Deer High School.  I have updated the calendar of concerts to include this.  When the winter and spring concerts are announced, I will add them to the calendar as well.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Celebrate with the Milwaukee Festival Brass

This year marks the 30th Anniversary Season of the Milwaukee Festival Brass, Milwaukee's only British style brass band.  I recently received a letter from MFB.  Rather than paraphrase it (and risk getting something wrong), I thought it best to post the letter here for all.

Dear Friends of Milwaukee Festival Brass,

Welcome to the 30th Season of the Milwaukee Festival Brass!  What a fantastic milestone for us to celebrate together.  Thirty years of bringing together thirty of Milwaukee’s finest brass and percussion players.  Thirty years of making music to dazzle and delight audiences.  Thirty years preserving and advancing the traditions of the British brass band.  This season, we will take a look back at our journey here, while also eagerly anticipating what our future holds. 

We kick off the season with this bi-directional outlook right away on our Autumn program, which is enigmatically titled “Not Much…You?”  Longtime fans of the iconic Wisconsin-based NPR radio quiz “Whad’Ya Know?” will recognize the show’s signature opening tag line (borrowed as our concert theme), along with its singular celebration of all things Wisconsin.  We begin by highlighting a number of different achievements in music made by Wisconsin musicians, composers, and arrangers.  But after intermission, our focus shifts to a different kind of “not much” as we explore the musical phenomenon known as Minimalism, in which composers challenge themselves to take the smallest fragment of music possible and somehow spin it into an interesting composition.  

Both our traditional Holiday concert and our Winter program will mark the band’s move to our new home performance space, the beautifully renovated Wendy Joy Lindsey Theater in the Father Robert V. Carney Performing Arts Center on the campus of Pius XI High School.  The December concert will feature a number of traditional holiday favorites, including new arrangements for brass band by Wisconsin’s own Andrew Wainwright.   

Our 30th Season Gala Concert Event will be one you won’t want to miss!  Welcoming back performers, soloists, and conductors from our thirty seasons together, we will celebrate the many accomplishments and fellowship shared by Milwaukee’s only British Brass Band.  We will also look forward, as we present a preview of the band’s upcoming journey to Fort Wayne, Indiana to perform in the annual North American Brass Band Championships. 

“Impressions of Japan” will conclude our 30th season, featuring works of Japanese composers and arrangers, folk melodies, and conceptual themes.  This special concert will also spotlight performances by the talented young artists of our High School Apprentice Program. 

I would like to especially draw your attention to the activities of our program for younger, developing musicians: the Milwaukee Festival Youth Brass.  This exciting ensemble yields tremendous rewards for younger brass and percussion students, and is an ideal place for them to grow in technique, musicianship, and brass band camaraderie.  If you know of a young person who could benefit from this outstanding program, we invite you to visit our website to learn more. 

We look forward to seeing you soon with the Milwaukee Festival Brass.  Here’s to the next thirty years! 

Warm Regards,

Mark A. Taylor

So there you have it.  I think the best way to celebrate the 30th Anniversary of the Milwaukee Festival Brass is to attend their concerts!  And I bet Maestro Mark Taylor, and all the volunteer members of the Milwaukee Festival Brass, would agree.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Concert Calendar for the upcoming season

Here is the calendar as I have it. If I missed some dates or I missed a group entirely, please send me the information and I will add it to the calendar and get the information out in a post. Thanks for the help and enjoy some of these concerts!

2014-15 Milwaukee Community Concert Calendar


Sunday, September 7, 2014

Community Music Groups in Southeastern Wisconsin

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 nowhere 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. You can check their web site for more information.

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.   You can get more information on the concerts, and on joining the orchestra, from their web site.

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 performs very difficult music, and as a result, auditions are required. Their web site has all the audition information.

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.  They use Facebook instead of a web site and you can find it here.

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.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Enjoy the weekend!

I hope everyone has (or had) a wonderful, relaxing Labor Day weekend.  The post of the different community music groups will happen next week.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

The Summer Season is completing

The last concert of the summer season is Sunday August 24 at the Racine Zoo.  The Racine Concert Band performs and hosts its Summer Sweepstakes Spectacular, giving away prizes after every piece of music in the concert.  It is always a lot of fun and a lot of folks walk away with nice gifts including dinner certificates for restaurants in the Racine area.

After the Labor Day holiday, I will be publishing the list of community music groups in Southeastern Wisconsin followed by the 2014-2015 Concert Calendar.  Something to post to your refrigerator door!

Have a great Labor Day Weekend!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Sorry about that

I thought I had set a post for the last couple of Sundays while I was vacationing.  However, that was not the case.

As it turns out, the summer season is winding down.  The Concord Chamber Orchestra has completed their summer performances.  The Racine Concert Band performs their final concert of the season on Sunday August 24th at the Racine Zoo.  It is also the Summer Sweepstakes Spectacular, where all the great prizes are given away to folks who have played the Racine Concert Quiz during the summer.  The concert will be fun and the prizes will be given out after each piece.  Even if you have not attended any of the performances this year, you can get in on the prize drawings by playing the Racine Concert Band Quiz on the 24th.  So, get to the Racine Zoo for one last summer concert in the park on the 24th and join in on the fun!  See you there.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Great concert in Racine coming up

The Racine Concert Band is in the middle of their summer season, and has some wonderful guest artists this year.  One such vocalist is mezzo soprano Allison Hull.  She joins the band on Sunday July 27 at 7:30 at the band shell in the Racine Zoo on Main Street.

Ms. Hull will perform music of Mozart and Denza in the first section of the concert, and will follow with popular music by Gershwin and Arlen.  Even the announcer Dan Rosen from WRJN radio commented on her "great pipes" during last year's performance.  It will be worth a special trip to hear this concert.

The band will be playing a much-lesser-known work by John Philip Sousa:  The Foshay Tower Washington Memorial March.  The backstory on this music is fascinating, but the march itself is excellent.  I always look forward to hearing this one.

See you at the Racine Zoo on the 27th at 7:30 for the Racine Concert Band and Ms. Allison Hull.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Last concert for the Shorewood Concert Band

The last concert of the season for the Shorewood Concert band is Thursday July 17 at 7 PM in Atwater Park in Shorewood (corner of Capitol Drive and Lake Drive).  Maestro Clay Wacholz will have a great program for the group to play.  The music is always fun and the view of Lake Michigan in the background is gorgeous.  This is a great venue for a band concert.

Bring a lawn chair or a blanket and relax for about an hour on the 17th.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

If you are in Racine

Starting July 6th, the Racine Concert Band will perform on Sunday evenings at the Racine Zoo.  In July, the concerts will begin at 7:30.  In August, the concerts will begin at 7 PM.  The concerts are always fun, with a mix of light classics, show tunes and marches.

As in years past, the audience gets to participate in the Racine Concert Band Quiz, where the answer is a useless piece of trivia.  The winner will receive an American flag from Ace Heating and Cooling.  And all participants will be include in the big drawing at the last concert of the season, the Summer Sweepstakes Spectacular!  Audience members who participated in the quiz during the season are entered in the drawings for free dinners provided by Racine area restaurants.  The concerts are always a great time.

So, mark your calendar for Sunday evenings at the Racine Zoo with the Racine Concert Band.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Enjoy the Holiday and a new season begins

A lot of community bands and music groups will be performing in celebration of our Independence.  Be sure to take in a parade, a concert, or a celebration.  A lot of volunteer musicians are sharing their talents in celebration!

I'm not sure if this is the first of the patriotic celebrations, but the Milwaukee American Legion Band performs at Humboldt Park on Tuesday July 1 beginning at 6:30 PM at the Chalet.  Don't miss this Milwaukee tradition.  I'll be there and I hope you will too.

Enjoy the Holiday!

One other thing:  the 2014 summer season for the Racine Concert Band begins at 7:30PM at the Racine Zoo on Sunday July 6.  See you there!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Concert Reminder

Join the Shorewood Concert Band for their first Thursday concert of the season on June 26 at 7 PM.  The new Music Director, Clay Wachholz, will have a great mix of fun music, marches, and show tunes to keep you entertained for an hour or so at Atwater Park, corner of Capitol Drive and Lake Drive.

Unfortunately, if Mother Nature decides we need some rain, the concert will be cancelled.  Hopefully we will have great weather for the concert.  I hope to see you there!

Sunday, June 15, 2014

A tradition continues

The Milwaukee American Legion Band will perform at Humboldt Park again this summer.  The date is Tuesday July 1 beginning at 6:30 PM.  The band has been performing in Humboldt park for as long as I can remember.  Stop by and enjoy a traditional Concert In the Park.  The Band, under the direction of Mike Van Pelt, will present traditional marches, show tunes and light classics.

Come and enjoy a Milwaukee tradition:  The Milwaukee American Legion Band!

Sunday, June 8, 2014

A quiet week

Not a lot of news this week as most summer bands are just getting ready for rehearsals.  But it is a good time to remind everyone that the Shorewood Concert Band performs this Saturday the 14th at noon in Atwood Park (Lake Drive and Capitol Drive in Shorewood) as a part of the Chicken Dinner hosted by the Shorewood Mens Club.

Stop by for some chicken for lunch and enjoy the Shorewood Concert Band under the baton of new Music Director Clayton Wacholz.  You will have a great time and a great lunch!  The chicken is prepared by Rupena's.  None better in my opinion.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Summer Concerts by the Concord Chamber Orchestra

The Concord Chamber Orchestra is preparing for its summer series of concerts  There will be four opportunities to see and hear the CCO in performance this summer for free.
Something tells me that it would not be a summer concert without the 1812 Overture, but that is just a guess on my part.

Be sure to take advantage of one of these free concerts.  Or better yet, take in more than one!

Sunday, May 25, 2014

The first concert of the summer season

As usual, the first concert I hear of for the summer season will be performed by the Shorewood Concert Band on Saturday June 14 at Atwater Park at noon, as a part of the Shorewood Men's Club Chicken Bar-B-Que fundraiser.  Not only should you stop by and enjoy the concert, you should also enjoy the chicken.  I can tell you from experience that it is wonderful!

The Shorewood Concert Band also has news.  It is now being led by new Music Director Clay Wachholz.  Mr. Wachholz is the Director of Bands at Cedarburg High School and an accomplished musician in his own right.  He will continue the history of fun performances by the Shorewood Concert Band.

It will be a fun concert and a delicious afternoon.  Stop by for the music and fun and enjoy the chicken!

Sunday, May 18, 2014

You can help in a couple of ways

First way:

You can support the Concord Chamber Orchestra on Sunday May 25 by enjoying a nice dinner and maybe a craft beer or soda.  On that day, the Horny Goat Hideaway at 2011 S. First Street (just north of Beecher Street on First) will donate a portion of their proceeds between 11 and 5 to the Concord Chamber Orchestra.  And if you print out the official flyer found at the CCO web site, the Orchestra will receive an increased donation.  So, you can enjoy an early dinner and a beverage and support the CCO at the same time.  Sounds like a good way to spend an afternoon.  I hope to see you there!

Second way:

There are many community bands that perform during the summer season that I have trouble putting together a calendar of all the performances.  If you have information about a band or two, especially if you have their performance schedule, please email me with that information.  I'll be sure to include it in the summer calendar.

The spring concert season is just about completed and the summer season will begin soon.  Send me your concert dates.  Thanks for the help.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Memorial Day is coming up

There will be many concerts observing Memorial Day.  One you should know about will be in Memorial Hall at the Milwaukee County War Memorial downtown.  The Milwaukee Metropolitan Community Concert Band will perform Sounds of our Memories at 4 PM.  As is customary for the MMCCB, there is no admission charge.  Enjoy the concert and remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice so that we have our freedom!

And don't forget the Milwaukee Festival Brass concert on May 18.  Check their web site for all the details.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Concert Preview - Milwaukee Festival Brass

Don't forget the Concord Chamber Orchestra and the Menomonee Falls Symphony both perform Saturday evening May 10.

Now onto the concert preview.  The Milwaukee Festival Brass performs Impressions of Cornwall on Sunday May 18 at St. John's Lutheran Church at 20275 Davidson Road in Brookfield at 3 PM.  Music Director Mark Taylor passed me his thoughts on the concert and I decided to post them directly for you to enjoy.

Fresh off its second place finish at the 2014 North American Brass Band Championships, the award-winning Milwaukee Festival Brass will present “Impressions of Cornwall,” the final concert of its 2013-2014 season.   This program is designed to take listeners on a musical journey, visiting the sights and sounds, the people and places of England’s southwest corner.

“The Cornish people have a rich history, full of proud traditions and a fiercely independent spirit, sprinkled with the stuff of legend.”  Some historians believe the fabled King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table ruled in Cornwall.  Another royal couple, Wagner’s ill-fated Tristan and Isolde, sang their final love duets in Cornwall.  Once a separate kingdom independent of England, the region is home to an ancient language (Cornish) still spoken by a few residents but gradually making a comeback in schools there. 

The concert will include Malcolm Arnold’s Four Cornish Dances, an evocative look at the Cornish landscape, complete with peasant dancing, abandoned tin mines, church hymns, and village parades.  From the band’s tenor horn section, new member Courtney Balk, a recent music graduate from Illinois Wesleyan University, will perform the third movement “Rondo” from Mozart’s Horn Concerto No. 3.  Other selections will include two Cornish marches, a beautiful prelude on the hymn tune “St. Agnes,” and works by Cornish composer and arranger Goff Richards, one of the most prolific writers for brass band in the 20th century.

This concert also provides the band an opportunity to celebrate its High School Apprentice Program.  This year’s apprentice, tenor hornist and University High School sophomore Robert Mason, will be joined by his entire section in a transcription of Scott Joplin’s Maple Leaf Rag.

The Milwaukee Festival Brass will present “Impressions of Cornwall” on Sunday, May 18, 2014 at 3:00 p.m. at St. John’s Lutheran Church, 20275 Davidson Road in Brookfield, WI.  Tickets are $12, or $9 for seniors and students.  Group rates are available.  For more information, please visit the band’s website.

Hope to see you at the concert!

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Concert Preview: Concord Chamber Orchestra

The Concord Chamber Orchestra will perform Diamonds, the final concert of their season, on Saturday May 10 at 7:30 in St. Matthew's Lutheran Church in Wauwatosa.  The church's address is 1615 Wauwatosa Avenue, but I remember it as the church that is across from Tosa West High School.

As stated by Music Director Jamin Hoffman, "Our final concert of the season will deal you a hand of perennial favorites, one-hit wonders, and newly mind and underperformed gems!"  Included will be music by Rossini, Albinoni, Satie, Mascagni, and Arriaga.

And during the intermission, the Orchestra will have a silent auction.  You can enjoy great music and possibly bring home a bargain.  But be sure to bid high - you get the item and the CCO gets needed financial help.  Everyone wins!

And don't forget you can meet and mingle with the orchestra members at the complementary reception immediately after the concert. 

For more information or to order tickets, see the CCO web site.  And you can download a copy of their poster here.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

The Holidays

If you are Christian, the observance is Easter.  If you are Jewish, the observance is Passover.  There are other springtime observances as well.  And many include music, a lot of which is performed by volunteers.

As you take part in the observance of your choice, be sure to stop the musicians and thank them for sharing their talents with everyone.  Church and temple services may be the largest display of community music in the nation.  And while this blog supports many of the concert producing community music groups, the people who volunteer at their churches and synagogues deserve our thanks as well.  I don't mention it enough.  So let me do it now.

Thank you for sharing your musical talents!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Reminder and More news

First the reminder.  The Oshkosh Horn Choir performs this Tuesday April 15 in the Music Hall.  Note that the start time is 8:30 due to a student recital at 7 PM.  Why not take in both?

Next, the news is that the Menomonee Falls Symphony will not perform with Lorna Luft as planned for the last two years.  I do not have the details of what happened, but a new show for Mothers Day is set to replace it.  Joining the Menomonee Falls Symphony is Milwaukee favorite Tom Anthony performing singing Songs for Mom, with Love

The concert is still on Saturday May 10 at 7:30 PM in the Sussex Hamilton Fine Arts Center.  For more information, see the MFSO web site.  You can also order tickets in advance from the Sussex Hamilton Fire Arts Center web site.

Tom Anthony has brought his show to the MFSO before with great results.  This will be another great show.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Upcoming concert

The Milwaukee Metropolitan Community Concert Band (MMCCB) will perform on Sunday April 13th in the Schwan Concert Hall on the campus of Wisconsin Lutheran College.  The concert begins at 3 PM and the theme is Where In The World Is MMCCB?

The concert will feature music from around the world, but you won't know what the selections are until after they are played.  But I bet you will recognize some of them!

I think these concerts are wonderful, especially for families with children.  The kids get to have fun guessing about the music, they learn a bit about the music after they have heard it, and they can associate different countries with the native music.

And the best part for families is that the concerts are free.  All you need to invest is some time.  Now that is a great deal!

See the MMCCB web site for more details.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

This deserves its own post

A couple of weeks ago, I posted about the concert by the Concord Chamber Orchestra.  (By the way, the concert was wonderful.  The CCO performed extremely difficult music with ease and flair.  What an enjoyable concert!)

At the end of the post, I had a link to a short YouTube video about Beethoven's Third Symphony.  It is an absolutely wonderful video and I think anyone who enjoys music should see it.  But the link was hard to see at the bottom of the post, and it was easily missed.  So, I've dedicated this post to the sharing of that video.

Here is the link.  I especially like the reaction of the second horn player when he first reviews his music.  Enjoy the video. 

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Horn Choir Concert in April

For those of you who love the sound of the French Horn, you need to mark April 15th on your calendar and make your way to the UW Oshkosh campus.  The UW Oshkosh Horn Choir will perform in the Music Hall at 8:30 PM.  I hope to have some info soon on the program details.  However, in the past, the concerts have been a mix of classical and pops.  But the sound of a French Horn Choir performing music is something special.  If you have not heard a Horn Choir perform, please consider attending.  It is unique and wonderful.

I hope to see you there.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

News from the Menomonee Falls Symphony

Some may recall that last year at this time the Menomonee Falls Symphony was changing their spring concert programming at the last minute.  They had received word that their special guest, Ms. Lorna Luft, was unable to appear, as she was fighting breast cancer.  The MFSO put together a very nice concert and performed well.  The Lorna Luft concert was rescheduled for this year.

Fast forward to today:  If you watched the Oscar telecast, you saw Ms. Lorna Luft appear in a segment honoring her mother Judy Garland, and the 75th Anniversary of the film The Wizard of Oz.  She looked fabulous.  We also know that she has confirmed her appearance with the MFSO for Saturday evening May 10 at 7:30 PM in the Hamilton Fine Arts Center in Sussex.

The MFSO has the music and rehearsals have begun.  We are all looking forward to a great concert.  For more information or to order tickets, see the MFSO web site.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Concert coming up

Just a reminder this week that the Concord Chamber Orchestra will be presenting their third concert in this season's series based called In The Cards.  Each concert is dedicated to a suit in a deck of playing cards.  In this concert, Spades, the program features experimental or groundbreaking music

The CCO welcomes guest soloist Wyatt Underhill, the winner of the CCO annual Dorothy J. Oestreich Concerto competition.  He will be performing Mendelssohn's violin concerto. 

The program for the concert is:
The concert will be performed at 8 PM on Saturday March 22 at St. Matthew's Evangelical Lutheran Church, 1615 Wauwatosa Avenue in Wauwatosa.  For those who are familiar with the area, it is across the street from Wauwatosa East High School.

For more information or to buy tickets, please see the CCO web site.

Finally, there is a wonderful video on YouTube regarding the Horn Trio in Beethoven's Eroica.  You can find it here.  Take a look - it is wonderful.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Milwaukee Festival Brass concert reminder

This is the time when community groups are rehearsing, and there is no big news to report. 

So, just a reminder to take in the Milwaukee Festival Brass concert on Saturday March 8th at Wisconsin Lutheran College.  Instead of a Sunday afternoon serenade, the concert begins at 7 PM.  For details, see the MFB web site, or check the post from a couple of weeks ago, when I previewed the concert.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Concert reminder

The Lakeshore Symphonic Band performs at the Cedarburg Performing Arts Center on Sunday March 2 at 4 PM.  While I do not have any information on the program that will be performed, I suggest checking their web site for any other details.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Attention High School Musicians

The Lakeshore Symphonic Band will host their annual Concerto Competition for High School Juniors and Seniors. The competition will be held at Pius XI High School on Saturday March 8th.  The competition winner will perform with the Lakeshore Symphonic Band at their Spring Concert on Sunday May 11th.  The winning student will also take home a $500 scholarship.

There are a few more details for the interested student musician, and you can view them at the Lakeshore Symphonic Band's website.  Keep in mind that your application must be submitted by February 21.

So, get those chops in shape and give it your best.  You may be the winner!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Concert Preview: Milwaukee Festival Brass

The Milwaukee Festival Brass will present “Brass at Night,” the third concert of its 2013-2014 season on Saturday March 8 at 7 PM.   In this evocatively titled program, listeners will embark on a journey from the twilight hours of dusk, through the romance of the evening hours, to the mystery and fascination that the late night brings.

When asked about the theme of the concert, Music Director Mark A. Taylor said this:  When we are young children, the night can be scary, dark and full of the unknown.  But as we grow older, the night becomes a magical time – its darkness rich with possibilities for romance, imagination, dreams.  It is perhaps no coincidence that, like bedtime stories, most performances in the theatre occur at night, when our imaginations are a little freer to embrace fiction.

The concert will include a recent arrangement for brass band by noted New York composer Joseph Turrin.  The band’s solo euphonium, David Meyer, will perform the famous “Nessun dorma” aria from Puccini’s Turandot.  Other selections will include “Music of the Night” from Phantom of the Opera, and a beautiful rendition of the Welsh lullaby, “All Through the Night.”  A medley of show-stopping melodies by Broadway legend Cole Porter will conclude the performance.

In anticipation of its upcoming entry into the North American Brass Band Championships, the band will perform selections from its contest program, including Edward Gregson’s Partita and Michael Ball’s Chaucer’s Tunes.

The Milwaukee Festival Brass will present “Brass at Night” on Saturday, March 8, 2014 at 7:00 p.m. at Schwan Concert Hall, on the campus of Wisconsin Lutheran College, 8815 West Wisconsin Avenue in Milwaukee.  Tickets are $12, or $9 for seniors and students.  Group rates are available.  For more information, please visit the band’s website at

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Just a reminder

Time is running out to get your tickets for the Valentine's weekend Dinner / Concert performed by the Menomonee Falls Symphony.  There are two performances:  Friday February 14th and Saturday February 15th, both at 6:30.

Tickets are available via mail order, and all of the information is at the MFSO web site.  Treat your special someone to a wonderful evening of food and music, and support the MFSO.  Everyone wins!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Breaking news and good news

First the breaking news.  One of the premier bands in the nation will perform at Shattuck Auditorium on the campus of Carroll University on Thursday February 6, beginning at 7:30.  The St. Olaf Band, under the direction of Dr. Timothy Mahr, will perform with the Youth Wind Orchestra of Wisconsin.  I have received only a little information about the concert, so I cannot give you a preview of the music.  However, the St. Olaf Band is one of the nation's best.  The New Yorker wrote that the St. Olaf Band is “one of America’s preeminent bands”.  You certainly do not want to miss this concert.  For more information, or to order tickets, check the St. Olaf Tickets web site or call 1-800-363-5487.

And now the good news.  Last summer I wrote about the funding issue with the Racine Concert Band.  The City of Racine is, like all other local governments, having an issue with funding all of its different programs.  In the initial budget proposal from the mayor, the Racine Concert Band was cut from the budget.  But it turns out that in the final budget that was adopted, the Band did receive reduced funding. 

The budget cut brought about two things.  First, the concerts during the school year, in which the Racine Concert Band joined the High School Bands at Horlick, Park, and Case, had to be cancelled for this current school year in order to continue the summer series of concerts.  Second, the Racine Concert Band itself is working to develop new sources of funding.  This development is now just beginning.

The summer season will happen in Racine in 2014.  Great news!

More as this moves forward. 

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Concert Preview - Menomonee Falls Symphony Valentines Dinner Concerts

One nice annual event is the Dinner Concert performed by the Menomonee Falls Symphony, always scheduled near Valentines Day, and featuring light orchestral and Pops music.  This year, the concerts will again be held at the Silver Spring Country Club on Friday February 14th and Saturday February 15th beginning at 6:30.

The concert will feature special guests Kostia Efimov and Ellen Winters.  Mr. Efimov is a classical and jazz pianist - MFSO fans may remember that he performed with the Darrell Stuermer band for the Music of Genesis concert.  Ellen Winters provides vocals for their review of American Songbook favorites.  And of course, the duo is backed by the full, lush sound of the Menomonee Falls Symphony Orchestra.

The evening features good food, good music, and some fun raffles.  Each section of the orchestra puts together different baskets and items that can be won with a lucky ticket.  The proceeds help support the orchestra.  And the Silver Spring Country Club in February is beautiful to view from the warmth of the banquet hall.  All in all, a wonderful evening that support a great cause!

Tickets are $45 per person.  You can get tickets via mail order from the MFSO web site.  Note that tickets must be purchased in advance and that, in previous years, the dinner concerts have sold out.  So, get your order in the mail right away.  You don't want to miss this one.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Concert Preview - Concord Chamber Orchestra

The Concord Chamber Orchestra will present a concert of chamber music on Sunday January 26th at Nicolet High School.  The concert begins at 1:30 PM.

Different sections of the orchestra have put together some wonderful music for a Sunday afternoon.  Included on the concert will be music for these groupings of instruments:
  • cello quartet
  • woodwind quintet
  • string sextet
  • viola duet
  • woodwind sextet
  • trombone quartet
The groups will perform varied music, from Mozart and Brahms to Cole Porter and Vince Guaraldi.  An intriguing mixture to be sure!

Tickets can be purchased from the Concord Chamber Orchestra web site or at the door.

Note that the concert is scheduled early enough that you won't miss the NFL Pro Bowl that day!

Monday, January 6, 2014

The New Year is here!

And so is the cold!  In fact, the cold weather froze my brain and I am late in posting the second half calendar.  But, better late than never.  Here it is.

·         Sun.  26  1:30 Concord Chamber Orchestra at Nicolet High School performing Chamber Music

·         Sun.   2  3:00 Knightwind Ensemble at South Milwaukee Performing Arts Center
·         Fri.  14  6:30 Menomonee Falls Symphony at Silver Spring Country Club performing Lounging with Lovers
·         Fri.  15  6:30 Menomonee Falls Symphony at Silver Spring Country Club performing Lounging with Lovers
·         Sun.  2  4:00 Lakeshore Symphonic Band at Cedarburg Performing Arts Center
·         Sat.   8   7:00 Milwaukee Festival Brass at Wisconsin Lutheran College performing Brass At Night
·         Tue.  18  7:30 Wauwatosa Community Band at Longfellow Middle School
·         Sat.  22  8:00 Concord Chamber Orchestra at St. Matthew’s Evangelical Lutheran Church, performing Beethoven's Eroica Symphony
·         Sun.   6  3:00 Knightwind Ensemble at South Milwaukee Performing Arts Center
·         Sun.  13 3:00 Milwaukee Metropolitan Community Concert Band at Wisconsin Lutheran College
·         Fri.   2  7:30  Waukesha Area Symphonic Band at Carroll University featuring the winner of the Concerto Competition
·         Sat.  10  7:30 Menomonee Falls Symphony at Hamilton Fine Arts Center performing with Lona Luft featuring The Music of Judy Garland
·         Sat.  10  8:00 Concord Chamber Orchestra at St. Matthew’s Evangelical Lutheran Church
·         Sun.  11  4:00 Lakeshore Symphonic Band at Cedarburg Performing Arts Center featuring the winner of the Concerto Competition
·         Sun.  18  Milwaukee Festival Brass at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Brookfield performing Impressions of Japan
·         Mon.  26  4:00 Milwaukee Metropolitan Community Concert Band at Milwaukee County War Memorial performing a Memorial Day Observance
·         Mon.  26  TBA Wauwatosa Community Band performing a Memorial Day Observance