String Theory Guitar Duo at Sheridan Park
String Theory guitar duo, performing at Sheridan Park (Cudahy) in August, 2019 – WMV’s inaugural year

What Is Wisconsin Music Ventures?

What Wisconsin Music Ventures Does:

  • Co-hosts live music events featuring WMV member musicians in partnership with venues throughout the state
  • Facilitates workshops, networking and other music industry-related events to foster continued career development amongst member musicians and others
  • Promotes its musician members, venue partners and patrons to the public via blog posts, e-newsletters, social media, and this website
  • Hosts a podcast that showcases a variety of musicians and industry leaders from Wisconsin and beyond, in an effort to learn from the stories of those working in and around music

The Original Mission: Motivating Musicians and Audiences to Experience Inspiring Performance Environments by Partnering with Unlikely Local Destinations.

Wisconsin Music Ventures is a program that was founded in the summer of 2019 by Milwaukee area musician and private instructor Allison M. Schweitzer (Allison Emm, in “the biz”). Her idea was to plan events that might be different, engaging and exciting for her private students and others to attend, being held at interesting – and when possible – outdoor locations. 

Click here to view Wisconsin Music Ventures/Allison featured in various interviews or news articles. 

In planning these experiences for her private studio, she thought a) wouldn’t it be great to open some up to other students, and b) many of these “venues” would be amazing, scenic spots at which other local musicians could perform small-scale concerts.

Ideally venues would be unique for musicians, fit for small-scale concerts, and very “Wisconsin” in nature. Musicians selected would be originally from and/or currently residing in Wisconsin, or performing works written by a Wisconsinite. Special encouragement and ultimately preference will be given to those musicians who perform original works. Early venue partners were Milwaukee County Parks, Pike Lake State Park, and fun indoor locations such as Boelter Superstore (kitchen supply – in their test kitchen) and Adventure Rock climbing gym.

A video that encompasses the first six months of WMV’s existence.

The Mission, As Of January 2022: Helping Independent Musicians Thrive in Wisconsin

The impetus behind starting WMV was a direct result of Allison struggling in her own performance/musicianship. She was starting to make some progress as a semi-pro horn player when the multi-year battle with complications from the rare Nutcracker Syndrome of the left renal vein and surgeries that were supposed to have fixed this were not going as planned. The pain/problems affected her ability to play much less the long-term possibility to perform at the level needed for professional work.

It was time to start looking into other options; to find a new passion.

Allison began planning for WMV in the winter of 2018-2019. She had first intended for the series to be a summer series, working around her school music directing position in Milwaukee. Unfortunately, that work also became affected by her medical uncertainties and leaves for surgeries. On the plus side, that meant Allison now had the opportunity to pursue WMV more full-time.

Not even a year into WMV’s existence, the COVID-19 pandemic brought everything to a halt. However, for WMV this also brought more opportunity. Those musicians who had worked with WMV prior to COVID had become friends, and referred friends to us. They also saw sudden changes to their industry unlike anything that has happened before.

WMV wanted to assist those musicians they had grown to love, who had also grown to know and trust the fledgling business. A few workshops and online hangouts began. This evolved into its current musician membership – which helps to solve another problem that the business had: how to prioritize using the wealth of incredible musicians the state of Wisconsin has within its borders for WMV events!

Click here to view WMV testimonials – including the musician membership program.

Other effects COVID had, within the entertainment and service industries, included a shortage of workers for many event spaces as well as the stopping and very slow return of touring musicians. This has allowed WMV to step in to some venues, showcasing the local talent they knew has always been here to consumers who were more typically used to seeing touring acts. WMV also prides itself in staffing events with people experienced in live music production. It has been a win-win, for those places suffering from their own employee shortages.

WMV has also been able to introduce educational events to schools in ways that showcase local talent and offer some semblance of normalcy to youths through live music, in a time that has been anything but ordinary.

Is it the same model as Allison set out for, way back when? Not at all. But, it has grown into something even better: a diverse music community featuring a wide variety of Wisconsin musicians, musicians from other parts of the U.S. now interested in coming to Wisconsin to perform, patrons who continue to be the backbone of all that WMV does, and the beloved venues that have become very beloved and strong partners.