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.