Alliance Brass is first Civic Music concert at new Cup O Joy

The Chicago quintet Alliance Brass will perform at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 9, at Cup O Joy auditorium, 525 N. Taylor St., Green Bay.

The concert is the second of the spring for the Green Bay community concert association Brown County Civic Music.  Tickets, already distributed to series subscribers, will also be available at the door on concert night.

Alliance Brass consists of Kelly Longenberg, horn; Amy Nelson, trumpet; Jim Longenberg, tuba; Chris O’Hara, trumpet; and Steven Duncan; trombone. Acclaimed as “the perfect blend of virtuosity and vitality” (Chicago Brass Festival), the Alliance Brass has emerged as one of the country’s most exciting ensembles. Dazzling audiences with a repertoire ranging from the early Renaissance to jazz and beyond, the ensemble has performed all over the world from Canada and Mexico to the UK and Japan, and has shared the stage with major orchestras including the Boston, Chicago and Cleveland symphonies. Members have served on faculty at some of the top music institutions including the Boston University Tanglewood Institute, DePaul University, Midwest Young Artists, the International Festival and Institute at Round Top.

Doors open one hour early, at 6:30 p.m. With general admission seating, patrons are encouraged to use mezzanine seating, if able, to free up floor-level seats (approx. 125) for those with mobility issues. Early arrivals may order from the Cup’s coffee bar/snack station with flavored coffees, sodas, candy, tea, hot snacks and more, and visit with friends in the café lounge area

Ticket prices at the door are Adults $25, Students $10.  Purchasers will also have the option to buy a pro-rated and discounted spring series for $35 ($17 students) for concerts including that night’s Alliance Brass; Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra with pianist Alessio Bax, May 15 at the Weidner. New subscribers will additionally receive tickets to two “make-up concerts” for subscribers to the pandemic-interrupted 2020 Civic Music lineup: Maxwell Street Klezmer Band, June 26 at the Historic Riverside Ballroom; and Washington Saxophone Quartet, Nov. 29 at Cup O Joy.

Dallas String Quartet to mark return of Civic Music on March 14

The Brown County Civic Music Association will host its first concert in two years when the Dallas String Quartet visits the Weidner Center for a concert at 7:30 p.m. Monday, March 14, 2022.

Dallas String Quartet members are classically versed musicians who offer a fusion of contemporary classical and pop/rock selections, DSQ uses both traditional and electric strings performing as a quartet with the full accompaniment of drums and guitar.

The group is a late substitution for what was previously scheduled to be Civic Music’s opening performance of its spring 2022 season: a program for the same night and venue starring the New York Gilbert and Sullivan Players and their touring production of “Pirates of Penzance.” The company postponed its Midwest tour late last month amid uncertainty with the then-rising spread of the omicron Covid variant. “Pirates” will now play the Civic Music series next year, in March 2023.

Dallas String Quartet is a headliner in its own right, known for eclectic renditions of music as varied as “Sweet Child of Mine” by Guns N’ Roses’ and “Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen to familiar melodies by Bach or a medley from the Broadway music “Phantom of the Opera.” They’ve played alongside Josh Groban, Chicago and major symphony orchestras. In 2021 they were selected to perform at the wedding of celebrity couple Blake Shelton and Gwen Stefani.

Members are violist and composer Ion Zanca, violinists Eleanor Dunbar and Melissa Priller, bassist Young Heo, guitarist Anthony Plant and percussionist/drummer Efren Guzman.

Because of the delay in locking down the substitute concert on the schedule, Civic Music has announced that individual tickets to the March 14 DSQ concert will only be available at the door on concert night, at $25 adults or $10 students K-16. Patrons may also purchase a $55 “season ticket” ($20 K-16) to the Civic Music spring series.

The spring series consists of DSQ on March 14; Alliance Brass, April 9 at Cup O Joy auditorium; Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra with pianist Alessio Bax, May 15 at the Weidner. New subscribers will additionally receive complimentary tickets to two “make-up concerts” for those who held subscriptions to the pandemic-interrupted 2020 Civic Music season: Maxwell Street Klezmer Band, June 26 at the Historic Riverside Ballroom; and Washington Saxophone Quartet, Nov. 29 at Cup O Joy.

UPDATE: A letter to Civic Music subscribers, ticket purchasers

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 soonIf 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 Thanks for your past and future support of this grass-roots Civic treasure.  See you at the concerts!
Christopher Sampson
board president, Brown County Civic Music Association

SORRY FOR THE DELAY: New website to debut soon

The volunteers at Brown County Civic Music devoted much attention this past fall to setting the stage for the return of live performances. The result is a three-concert Spring 2022 mini-series that represents, by far, the largest spring talent budget in the organization’s 94-year history.

Unfortunately, among the administrative tasks delayed by our nearly two-year COVID layoff was a functional redesign and total updating of this website.  (The lone exception, of course, is the CIVIC MUSIC NEWS column along the righthand side of the homepage, which is now updated regularly.)

We appreciate your patience and understanding.  Look for a new and improved website by January, and full functionality of online communication and ticketing options.

Symphony highlights return with Spring ’22 ‘mini-series’

The Brown County Civic Music Association is proceeding with plans to offer a three-concert subscription series in Spring 2022.

The programs are:

New York Gilbert and Sullivan Players production of “The Pirates of Penzance,” a fully staged light opera at the Weidner Center at 7:30 p.m. Monday, March 14, 2022;

Dallas String Quartet, at the Weidner Center, 7:30 p.m. Monday, March 14, 2022

* Alliance Brass quintet, 7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 9, 2022, at the Cup O Joy auditorium, 525 N. Taylor St., Green Bay;

* Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra with featured pianist Allesio Bax performing Brahms’ Second Concerto, 3 p.m. Monday, May 15, 2022 at the Weidner Center;

The cost of a three-concert subscription is $55 for adults, $20 for students K-16. Tickets may also be purchased at the door on concert night, when seating is available, at a higher individual-event price: $38 for Civic Music performances held at the Weidner Center, $25 for other venues.

For tickets, call the Civic Music recorded line at 920 338-1801 and leave your question or request, or email

Civic Music shares plan to make good on past cancellations

Brown County Civic Music Association has notified past subscribers, in writing, of the Association’s plan to make up for the three concerts postponed during the initial COVID outbreak in spring 2020.

Subscribers to that disrupted 2019-20 season enjoyed two concerts in fall but then experienced cancellations involving the Maxwell Street Klezmer Band in March, the Washington Saxophone Quartet in April, and the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra in May.

Two of those three concerts are being rescheduled to calendar year 2022, with dates and venues TBD. Series organizers are close to announcing a November date for the Washington Saxophone Quartet. It is expected the Klezmer program will take place in late spring or summer.

Patrons who held tickets for these two postponed events have several options for claiming the admission(s) that were previously purchased:

• They may use the paper tickets they received two years ago, if they kept them on file;
• If they didn’t keep them, they should visit the Civic Music check-in table at the door on concert night, where a ticketholder roster will be consulted to issue replacements;
• They may also contact the office ( or 920 338-1801) in advance of the concert in question, if they want to transfer the tickets for will-call pickup by someone else.

With regard to the 2020 postponement of the annual, season-ending finale featuring the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, a determination was made that the MSO’s always-tight schedule and financial factors would not allow for a “makeup” concert that would result in two Symphony appearances for Civic Music in the same calendar year.

Instead, the Association’s volunteer, nonprofit board reached consensus that Civic Music will issue those subscribers additional tickets that can be used for the next MSO appearance in Green Bay, the May 15th, 2022, concert at the Weidner Center. (Actually, the tickets will be “wild card” admissions for one or the other of the two Weidner concerts: the MSO or the March 14 “Pirates of Penzance” show.) Subscribers will receive one wild-card ticket per each season pass purchased for the disrupted 2019-20 season.

Cautious optimism

The Brown County Civic Music Association, like other presenters in these uncertain times, will continue to monitor public health developments pertaining to the COVID pandemic.

Concertgoers who provide email addresses when ordering their subscriptions will receive reminders in advance of each concert as to any social-distance seating options, general precautions and scheduling adjustments, if warranted. Any such measures will be at the recommendation of our Spring ’22 venues — the Weidner Center and Cup O Joy auditorium — in consultation with Civic Music.

CANCELLED: Spring ’21 makeup concerts delayed again

GREEN BAY – Brown County Civic Music Association announced today (Friday Dec. 18, 2020) that it is postponing all spring 2021 concerts including the annual Green Bay appearance of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra due to continuing concerns over the coronavirus.

Three concerts from the Association’s 2019-20 series were cancelled this past spring at the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak. The makeup dates planned for spring 2021 have now also been cancelled. The changes involve:

• Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, April 23, CANCELLED (new date TBA)
• Maxwell Street Klezmer Band, April 17, CANCELLED (new date TBA)
• Washington Saxophone Quartet, tentative March 14, CANCELLED (new date TBA)

Board president Christopher Sampson says Civic Music intends to honor its commitment to local classical music concertgoers by again rescheduling each of the performing groups as either stand-alone “make-good” concerts or folded into future season series. Subscription passes or individual tickets purchased for last spring’s concerts will be honored at those performances.

Announcement of the new five-concert season and launch of the subscription sales campaign are expected in April.

New series delayed one year; make-ups pushed to spring ’21

GREEN BAY – Brown County Civic Music Association announces today (Friday, June 19, 2020) that it is immediately suspending its just-launched membership campaign and will reschedule classical music groups announced for the 2020-2021 Classical Series to the following season.

Cancellations include not only concerts that are part of the new series but also two that were rescheduled from spring as Covid-19 concerns cut short last season’s series. Cancelled are:
• Maxwell Street Klezmer Band, Sept. 3, 2020 at the Ashwaubenon PAC *
• Sphinx Virtuosi, Oct. 3, Weidner Center
• Janoska Ensemble, Nov. 14, West High’s Holter Auditorium
• Washington Saxophone Quartet, Dec. 12, Holter Auditorium *
• VocalEssence Ensemble Singers, March 13, 2021, Holter Auditorium
• Alliance Brass, April 17, Holter Auditorium
                            * 2019-’20 attractions, previously rescheduled

Board president Christopher Sampson says that as recently as three weeks ago, Civic Music was optimistic that many or all of the scheduled concerts could proceed. Consideration was given to a “split-concert” format that would have spread concertgoers over two separate, shortened performances on a given evening to make social distancing easier.

With a growing cascade of venue cancellations locally and nationally, however, and some agents and artists advising Civic Music of increasing doubts about fall and even spring tours, the Association’s board of directors voted unanimously earlier this week to postpone the upcoming subscription series in its entirety.

Civic Music has a current subscription base of about 650 members. Sampson says the few dozen accounts that have already renewed for the now-postponed 2020-21 Classical Series are being contacted by phone and email. Subscribers will be offered cancellation refunds or a payment credit toward the same five performances when presented as the 2021-22 season.

The Association hopes to present makeup concerts beginning in April of 2021, to bring subscribers the three attractions that were cancelled this past spring. If public health allows, the concerts will be Maxwell Street Klezmer, April 17 at Holter Auditorium; the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, April 23 at the Weidner; and the Washington Saxophone Quartet, date and venue TBD. Tickets purchased for last spring’s concerts will be honored at these events.

For more information, visit or call 920 338-1801.

No rescheduling, yet, for Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra

Brown County Civic Music has rescheduled two of the three spring 2020 concerts cancelled by concerns over the Covid-19 pandemic, with only the postponed Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra concert still unresolved as of mid-April.

The MSO evening at the Weidner Center was to have been the fifth and final scheduled event of the season, initially planned for Thursday, May 7. The venue pulled out in March, and the MSO informed Civic Music in early April that it was cancelling the rest of its spring and early summer concerts.

Christopher Sampson, Civic Music board president, says the organization is looking at late summer and early fall dates for a possible makeup concert. He says Civic Music will make every effort to honor the commitment to this year’s subscribers. However, the second half of 2020 is especially busy for the Milwaukee Symphony with the planned opening of the orchestra’s new home concert hall in downtown Milwaukee and what is already a tight concert schedule.

If the MSO cannot be rescheduled for 2019-20 Civic Music subscribers, Sampson says the association’s board of directors is considering other options. Those could include a substitute attraction; a voucher offer that could bring complimentary tickets for the next regularly scheduled MSO appearance in 2021; or the ability to declare the unusable tickets a tax-deductible donation, or request a nominal, pro-rated refund.