Sousa Reigns Triumphant

Unless you searched online, you probably missed Warren Gerds’ review of Keith Brion & his New Sousa Band.  However, if you read the complete article about the St. Norbert football team’s season opener (‘Dublin Friday Night Lights’), you may have caught mention that local concert reviews ran on the Press- Gazette website.  But if you missed it, here is the link. In a nutshell, Civic Music’s season opener was a winner!

Review: Soloists spice New Sousa Band concert for Civic Music
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Obvious from the buzz and the smiles, audience members were delighted by the retro concert as they conversed with our guest musicians at the post-concert reception at Titletown Brewing Co. Sousa musicians praised Civic Music’s good fortune to have booked the Calefax Reed Quintet for our next concert and raved about the talents of the musicians in the group.

Press Gazette: Zilberstein central in rare set of concerts

Warren Gerds article about this weekend’s concerts:
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By Warren Gerds | | Oct. 28, 2011

Acclaimed pianist Lilya Zilberstein will perform three concerts in three days in a highly unusual arrangement for Northeastern Wisconsin.

Born in Moscow and today a resident of Hamburg, Germany, Zilberstein proved popular in previous engagements in this area.

Brown County Civic Music Association and the Green Bay Symphony Orchestra cooperated in putting together the coming visit.

Press Gazette: Milwaukee Symphony zesty in Russian program

Concert review
Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra
4 stars out of 4

By Warren Gerds

“Happy Russian composers” may seem contradictory, but that was the tone of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra’s concert Sunday night at Ralph Holter Auditorium of  Green Bay West High School. The concert of spirit and zest closed the 2010-2011 season for Brown County Civic Music Association.

From the opening, brilliant moments of Dmitri Shostakovich’s “Festive Overture” to the aural panoramas of Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s “Capriccio Italien” at the end, the program was dominated by exuberance. Shostakovich’s “Symphony No. 9” playfully scampered in the opening movement. Driving rhythms grew faster and faster in later movements, with conductor Stuart Chafetz driving the frenzy. The program’s style was right down the alley for Chafetz, who likes to interact with the audience and toss hints. In the midst of a piece, he’ll strike a grand, smiling pose as if to tell the audience, “I’m having a great time, and you should, too.”  For Mikhail Glinka’s overture to “Russlan and Ludmilla,” Chafetz lept to the podium and into action. Music often swirled as it bookended passages of regal bearing.

Familiarity was the mark of selections in the second half. Included was the gliding suite from Tchaikovsky’s “The Sleeping Beauty.” Reinhold Gliere’s “Russian Sailor’s Dance” was laced with such boisterous color that it was easy to envision dancers dipping to deep knee bends followed by dramatic kicks. Chafetz introduced “Capriccio Italien” with flair: “A Russian writing about Italy – It’s so good you can taste the clothing.” Indeed, Tchaikovsky got caught up in  majesty, happiness and romance.

Chafetz and the rock solid orchestra immediately received a standing ovation. Chafetz was called back twice. That brought a sweet encore, French composer Maurice Jarre’s “Lara’s Theme.” While not of Russian birth, the music is from the Russian-rooted “Dr. Zhivago” novel and movie. And beautiful.

Press Gazette: New season includes collaboration

by Warren Gerds • • April 21, 2011

Action started when Brown County Civic Music Association booked famed pianist Lilya Zilberstein for a concert with her sons.

Zilberstein asked Roger Bintz, who books performances for Civic Music, if any other local organization might be interested in presenting her to make her flight from Hamburg, Germany, more cost-efficient.

Bintz lives four doors away from Mike Stefiuk, executive director of the Green Bay Symphony Orchestra. Bingo.

Civic Music will present Zilberstein in concert with her sons on Nov. 11.

The Green Bay Symphony will feature Zilberstein as guest artist in its Nov. 12 concert.

Visit the Green Bay Press Gazette’s site for Warren Gerds’ complete introduction to the 2011-2012 season schedule.

Press Gazette:Tamburitzans stir up splashy swirls of energy

By Warren Gerds • • November 7, 2010

Dazzling bursts of energy, songs that haunt, and humor and elaborately costumed folk exotica from Eastern Europe. That doesn’t sound like a collegiate performance group. But it is: The amazing Tamburitzans.

The 32-member pride of Duquesne University in Pittsburgh continues to impress in its 74th year.

The troupe’s 35-state tour this season Saturday night stopped at Ralph Holter Auditorium of Green Bay West High School as part of the Brown County Civic Music Association series.

In 25 sections, the students colorfully brought forth songs, dances, looks and emotions of such countries and regions as Croatia, Serbia, Bavaria, Slovenia, Bulgaria, Poland, Russia, Armenia, Ukraine, Hungary, Greece and Moldavia.

Read the complete article at:

Press Gazette: Brown County Civic Music hosts famed folk ensemble

Press-Gazette • October 23, 2010

For its second concert of the season, Brown County Civic Music Association will present the internationally known Tamburitzans.

The 32-member ensemble from Duquesne University performs the traditional music, songs and dances of Eastern Europe under the direction of managing director Paul Stafura.

Read the complete article at:

Press Gazette: Moscow ensemble brings crowd to its feet – twice

By Warren Gerds • October 3, 2010

Chamber Orchestra Kremlin earned two standing ovations Saturday night to get another season of Brown County Music Association concerts off to a solid start.

The 17 musicians from Moscow poured splendor into Ralph Holter Auditorium of Green Bay West High School.

Youth was present. Many of the players seem to be in their 20s.

Most impressive on the evening was “Concerto in D Minor for Two Violins” by Johann Sebastian Bach. Two female violinists from the orchestra stood out front and dove into the energy and rich tapestry piece. Seeing how they led the orchestra and how they finessed where their instruments rose, raced and interacted was fascinating. That was the only piece not led by founder and music director Misha Rachlevsky, who conducts without a score. His attention to detail reaps rewards all around…

To read the review in its entirety, go to:

Press Gazette: Brown County Civic Music Association mixes familiar, new for 84th season

By Warren Gerds • May 9, 2010

“Brown County Civic Music Association is looking forward to its 84th season of bringing to Green Bay an array of artistic talent from around the world. But first, it will close its 83rd season Saturday with a performance by the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra.

The concert will be narrated by Lori Skelton, a classical music announcer for Wisconsin Public Radio. Civic Music and the network have cross-promoted each other a lot lately, and Skelton’s appearance is another example. Stuart Chafetz will return to lead the Milwaukee Symphony, with which he is resident conductor. He also heads the Maui Pops Orchestra.

Saturday’s program will be classical: “Overture to ‘Don Giovanni'” by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, “Symphony No. 4 (‘Italian’)” by Felix Mendelssohn, “Overture to ‘The Barber of Seville'” by Gioacchino Rossini, “Espana, Rhapsody for Orchestra” by Emmanuel Chabrier, “Excerpts from ‘Carmen’ Suite No. 1” by Georges Bizet and “Capriccio Espagnole, Opus 34″ by Nicholas Rimsky-Korsakov.”

Full story available here:

Green Bay Press Gazette: Civic Music Association will host trio in guest concert Saturday

Green Bay Press-Gazette • March 21, 2010

“The trio Intersection will present the fourth concert of the season Saturday for Brown County Civic Music Association.

The trio includes cellist Kristina Reiko Cooper, violinist Laura Frautschi and pianist John Novacek.

Cooper performed previously in Green Bay a number of times as a member of the popular Quartetto Gelato.

Intersection plays romantic, salon-style music, and its players are known for their demonstrative way of playing, said Roger Bintz, who helps book the series for the all-volunteer organization.”

The full story is available on the Press-Gazette website: