Wisconsin Music Ventures began as a humble patron-supported concert series, “putting great Wisconsin musicians in great Wisconsin places.” When I started making plans early in 2019, it was to be a summer-only series, so as to work around my school music directing schedule. My, how things change.
On July 7th, 2019, I hosted our very first events. Early in the day was a private kick-off party for those friends and family members of mine who had given initial support (our earliest patrons), held at the Wauwatosa Historical Society. Later in the day local singer/songwriter Jay Orlowski performed a pop-up style concert in Greenfield Park, West Allis… Which was even previewed in this Journal-Sentinel article, touting outdoor events happening around the area that were not Summerfest, while Summerfest was going on.
Three years, a worldwide pandemic and hundreds of events later, along with my own departure from that original school music position, the course has shifted a bit. WMV has developed into a year-round music community with a very rich palette of associated musicians… Diverse in their genres of music, locations, ages, ethnicities and more. Our current mission is “Helping Musicians Thrive in Wisconsin” – and we do so primarily through the hosting of live events. Sometimes these events are put on by ourselves, with the help of our continued patron supporters; others are put on in conjunction with venues that hire us to co-host events with them. Occasionally we’re hired to consult on events.
We are now a member-based musician organization that provides a variety of industry and networking events each month for said members, in addition to various other promotional perks and other things that support those same people. But it is also important to us to work with musicians from the community as a whole, in Wisconsin and beyond, whether they are members or not. We do hold events open to any and all musicians… Online and in-person!
To all those who have had a part in what we’ve done, be it three years ago or three days ago – musicians, patrons, venues, audience members at any level, staff – thank you. From the bottom of my heart, I’m extraordinarily grateful for all that has had to happen for this business and community to build, during such an extraordinary time.
Have we done everything perfectly? Absolutely not. There are seemingly millions of things I’d go back and do differently… But then again, would I? Maybe I needed to learn certain lessons the exact way they played out, for a reason. I still make mistakes and learn from them, while learning from those around me as well, on a daily basis. You all teach me so much… I’m grateful for that, too. All that being said, I will continue to be one of the hardest working people you will meet – constantly on the lookout for ways to improve what we have happening, finding/creating opportunities for member musicians and being a resource for those seeking musicians.
These last three years have also been the most challenging I’ve ever been through, personally. While I no longer discuss the circumstances in public forums, I am so appreciative of those who have supported me, stepped in for me and occasionally dealt with me. It’s been a wild ride.
Wouldn’t you know, the most ideal high school music directing position found its way to me, in spring. It’s important to me that WMV staff members are active in our community – musically and otherwise. I wish to also return to doing so. With the incredible staff we at WMV have in place, we are well-positioned for the business to carry on while I return to some school work. Someone’s got to inspire and teach the next generation of great Wisconsin musicians, after all.
I’m looking forward to what’s to come for WMV. Thank you for reading this, and for sharing in celebrating our 3rd birthday by getting to know us just a little more. Please consider perusing this website – it would be an honor if you might become more aware of the many varieties of things we have happening. And, of course, join us for an event! 😉