Tom Strini
Milwaukee Scribe

7 things I’ve been meaning to tell you

The Pfister, Bel Canto, MYSO, Conservatory, Wis. Philharmonic, Lynden Garden and the Haggerty all have news.

By - Mar 6th, 2013 05:00 pm
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Richard Hynson, the Bel Canto’s music director.

1.The Pfister Hotel has named Stephanie Barenz its fifth artist in residence. Barenz will start her one-year term in April. She will succeed fiber artist Timothy Westbrook. The artists in residence work in public view in a glass-walled studio in the lobby of the classic downtown hotel. Barenz intends to create 20 to 30 paintings during her Pfister tenure and to collaborate with Jenna Kashou, the hotel’s narrator/writer in residence.

2. Congratulations to Richard Hynson, who is celebrating his 25th year as music director and conductor of the Bel Canto Chorus. In honor of the milestone, the Bel Canto has commissioned a new work from composer Alexander Levine. The BCC and the Bel Canto Boy Choir will premiere Levine’s Prayers for Mankind at 3 p.m. Sunday, March 9, at the St. Joseph’s Center Chapel. Hynson will conduct and Levine will attend the premiere. The chorus will also sing Rachmaninoff’s substantial All Night Vespers. Details here.

3. The Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra has raised nearly $2.1 million for its Fran’s Fund scholarships. The Fund benefits children whose families would not otherwise be able to study music or play in an orchestra. Margarete Harvey and Tom Ellis chair the fund, which was established in 2008. Fran’s Fund responds growing scholarship needs among MYSO’s students and supports the Community Partnership Programs, an array of diversity and outreach initiatives dating to 2003. CPP includes Progressions, an intensive string training program for City of Milwaukee third and fourth graders; Jazz Studies; a Calypso steel pan ensemble; and partnerships with the Boys &  Girls Club and the UCC’s Latino Arts Strings Programs, String Orchestra Central, Prelude Orchestra, a Strings Initiative in the Waukesha School District and an extensive outreach performance program. Approximately 300 young people, many from inner city schools and diverse populations, benefit from direct music training provided by these programs each year, in addition to the 5,000+ served in outreach concerts.

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Tom Strini, hard at work at TCD headquarters.

Fran’s Fund — named for Fran Richman, MYSO’s former executive director, will be particularly important in enabling MYSO to provide for the growing financial needs of students continually advancing from these Community Partnership Programs into higher level MYSO ensembles. Today MYSO provides nearly $200,000 in tuition and lesson scholarships to low-income students, fulfilling a commitment made since it held its first rehearsal in 1956: that no student shall be denied participation due to financial need.

4. The Board of Trustees of the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music has appointed Kurt J. Thomas as the organization’s new board chairman. Thomas, vice president of human resources for Mortgage Guaranty Insurance Corporation, also chairs the Management Curriculum Advisory Committee at Milwaukee Area Technical College, serves on three boards for the the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. At the conservatory, he succeeds James A. Holtz, who will remain an active member of the board. The conservatory board also appointed Robert L. Banner vice chairman.

5. The Wisconsin Philharmonic Orchestra will hold its annual gala, “Mad Hatter’s Ball,” at 5 p.m. on March 16 at The Legend in Wales. At the Philharmonic’s largest fundraiser, Lewis Carroll’s characters will lead guests on a journey through Wonderland. Performers include the Terry Smirl Dixie Band, students from Waukesha South High School enacting an Alice in Wonderland skit and Wisconsin State Dance Champions Vadim and Leinani Gazda. Students from Waukesha South High will present an Alice in Wonderland skit. Auction prizes include a fresh-water chocolate pearl set from Krumrich’s Jewelers, a hand-painted violin by artist Carole Reiland, and Disney collection Alice in Wonderland figurines from Gallery 1 in Delafield. For reservations ($100 per person), visit the orchestra’s website or call the Philharmonic office, 262 547-1858 by March 10.

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Mark Bradford American, b. 1961 Untitled (Suite of 6), 2012 Etching, photogravure, and chine colle 20 x 16 in. 2012.18a-f Museum purchase Collection of the Haggerty Museum of Art

6. Passing this along, from the Lynden Sculpture Garden: “The heavy snow makes ice-skating difficult at Lynden. Moving large quantities of snow around tends to make the ice tip and crack. However, we will offer skating on the Big Lake on Saturdays and Sundays from 12- 4 p.m. when weather and ice conditions permit. Please visit us on Facebook for ice-skating updates.”

7. The Haggerty Museum of Art has acquired a suite of six prints by contemporary artist Mark Bradford. Bradford employed etching, photogravure, and chine-collé techniques in these prints, which reflect his interest in found materials. Each print includes a border created from discarded etching plates and central text-based imagery appropriated from a body of work known as “Merchant Posters,” collages of found advertising signs gathered from the streets around the artist’s studio.

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