The following message — an update regarding the resumption of the Brown County Civic Music subscription series after two years on hiatus through the Covid pandemic — was shared via email and U.S. mail with the Association’s contact list the week of Feb. 20.
Hello, Civic Music members, past, present and future,
This is Chris Sampson, board president. The easiest way to start, with so much to talk about, is simply to get started. Here goes:
We’re still on for spring
Thankfully, with the latest Covid wave showing signs of subsiding, Civic Music will join artists and presenters across the industry who feel confident in bringing back your favorite music, with precautions if need be. We’ve had to make one adjustment to our previously announced spring series (more on this, below), but the dates and venues remain the same.
Tickets will arrive soon
If you purchased a subscription to our three-concert spring 2022 mini-series ($55 per adult), you’ll be getting your paper tickets via U.S. Mail in a few weeks, shortly before our March 14 program at the Weidner Center. If for some reason yours don’t arrive by then, don’t worry. Just check in at our welcome table on opening night.
Sorry, but the return of fully staged opera has been delayed
The New York Gilbert and Sullivan Players informed us a few weeks ago that they have cancelled their planned Midwest tour of the comic opera “Pirates of Penzance.” With omicron then on the rise, they judged it too risky to launch a multi-city extravaganza not knowing if they might lose their irreplaceable leading actress Mabel to quarantine in Dubuque one night, have to leave their pit orchestra’s only oboist in Champagne the next, or sideline their Major General for a recuperative layover in Green Bay after that. The good news is we immediately rescheduled “Pirates’ at the Weidner for March 29, 2023. It will be worth the wait.
Fortunately, the subs are a red-hot headliner
We were very fortunate on exceedingly short notice to land the electric Dallas String Quartet to replace “Pirates” and kick off our spring series on March 14. A one-of-a-kind event like “Pirates” demanded a unique and exciting replacement, and DSQ is a major name in its own right. They open with traditional strings; the latter part of their program is electric and amped up. You’ll hear Bach, but also symphonic-sounding arrangements (with drums) of familiar melodies from Billy Joel, Queen and Led Zeppelin. (“Kashmir,” anyone?) DSQ is hot, having played last year’s Gwen Stefani and Blake Shelton wedding, and I’m reaching out to invite local youth players as our guests. I saw DSQ in person a few years ago. They are wildly entertaining… and very talented string players.
Here, then, is what you’ll find in your ticket envelope
* Dallas String Quartet, 7:30 p.m. Monday March 14, Weidner Center
* Alliance Brass, 7:30 p.m. Saturday April 9, Cup O Joy auditorium
* Milwaukee Symphony with Alessio Bax, 3 p.m. Sunday May 15, Weidner Center
* Maxwell Street Klezmer Band (rescheduled from 2020), 5 p.m. Sunday June 26, Historic Riverside Ballroom
* Washington Saxophone Quartet (rescheduled from 2020), 7:30 p.m. Tuesday Nov. 29, Cup O Joy
* An extra “wild card” ticket to be redeemed at any of the concerts listed above.
Newcomers to Civic Music receive the two makeup concerts as a new-member bonus. Subscribers to the interrupted spring 2020 season may finally use those unused Klezmer and Sax tickets if they kept them, stop at our check-in table on concert night, or use the newly issued replacements.
Reminder on our make-good plan
Regarding the third cancelled concert from the 2020 season, the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, it was not feasible to re-book. Contributing factors included the unlikelihood of a second MSO date in one calendar year, and the reality that an outside, private foundation underwrites this most expensive and ambitious program on our annual series, with no carryover if the concert does not take place. That’s why we have decided to approach the May 15 date as a “new” concert that is a cornerstone of this spring mini-series.
That said, Brown County Civic Music will honor those 2020 MSO tickets for those who kept them and insist on using them. We can only hope that as many subscribers as possible actively support this spring series and purchase the full package which includes new tickets for the May 15 MSO. The package also includes one “wild card” ticket for each membership you held in 2020 or will hold for spring 2022, whichever is greater. Someone with two tickets could choose to use their pair of “wild card” tickets on the MSO concert and bring two additional friends or family members as guests. (What a great way to introduce new people to Civic Music!) We hope many members will agree this is an acceptable solution from their perspective. It’s a solution that best ensures the financial viability of our nearly century-old, all-volunteer nonprofit organization, and positions us to return with another strong, five-concert series for next season.
Winner, winner, chicken dinner
Brown County Civic Music is, give or take a few years, about the same vintage as Green Bay’s Historic Riverside Ballroom. We’ve never married up with them for a concert, but that will change Sunday afternoon, June 26, when we host the Maxwell Street Klezmer Band and the makeup date of their postponed 2020 gig. Klezmer is party music in the Jewish tradition, and we think the nicely restored Riverside will be perfect for a fun, late-afternoon summer celebration. Adding to the festive family feel, Civic Music has arranged with Riverside to offer a sit-down version of their famous and popular chicken dinner (just $12.95/plate) for those who register in advance to arrive early for the 3 p.m. social hour or 4 p.m. meal in advance of the 5 p.m. performance. We’ll get you details closer to the date on how to RSVP for dinner, through Civic Music.
Big plans for next year
Normally by this time of the calendar year, we have our fall-spring concert array for the following season pinned down. We’re running a little behind right now — not surprising — but we have three big blockbusters already in place for 2022-23. We’ll open with the traditional string supergroup St. Martin’s Academy in October at the Weidner, have the aforementioned New York Gilbert and Sullivan “Pirates” in March, and close as always with the Milwaukee Symphony in April or May. Those are three huge events! A fourth attraction is likely to be the in-demand chamber ensemble Frisson, while the fifth seems to be playing hard to get, for now. We’ll have our new series packaged and on sale by May.
That’s it for now. Please email or call me personally if you have any questions (Chris at 920 606-2081 or CSampson@new.rr.com). Thanks for your past and future support of this grass-roots Civic treasure. See you at the concerts!
board president, Brown County Civic Music Association