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George Houslander, Director of the Royal Canadian Air Force Band, leading a band practice session in a gymnasium at the University of Wisconsin Music Clinic.
Image courtesy of the Wisconsin Historical Society


Put on your dancing shoes because this week we're sharing stories of talented musicians and music lovers all while celebrating the music they create and help to preserve. 

We begin with a woman who fell in love with music at an early age and now works to preserve the records she grew up on. Next, we share one high school student's dream of performing on the stage and how he made it a reality.

Then, we explore how college students are handling the strange circumstances of making music during a pandemic. We meet a DJ who decided to share her love for the art with others in her community. 

Finally, we answer the question of what THE Wisconsin song is with the WHYsconsin team.

We hope you enjoy the melodies and tunes in these stories!

-The "Wisconsin Life" Team

Cheryl Pawelski says she was born “hardwired” to love music because of the musicians in her family, including her father and grandmother. Growing up in Milwaukee, she found an even deeper connection to music – especially through collecting records, purchasing her first two 45s on a trip to Gimbels Department Store with her grandmother.

So seeing what she does now should be no surprise to anyone. After moving to California, she started to produce music and co-founded a record label with a mission to preserve historic tunes.

Chippewa Falls Teen Performs In
New York City Musical About Hemophilia

Colin Orth dreams of being a traveling musician, but those dreams weren't going to come easy for him. 

Orth’s childhood wasn’t always so harmonious. As a newborn, Orth’s skin seemed to bruise easily, enough to worry his mother. Orth was eventually diagnosed with Hemophilia B at five months old.

This set back never brought him down. He eventually hit his lucky break with a show all about hemophilia in New York City.

Professional musicians have been hit hard by the pandemic. This is doubly true for students training to become those professionals.

While most classes are online at UWM due to the COVID-19 pandemic, performing arts classes — like band — must adapt to create a safe, in-person learning environment. 

Since she was a teenager, hip-hop has been a huge part of Nelly Vigil’s world. When she started to think about what she wanted to do for the rest of her life, she knew it needed to be centered around hip-hop. She looked into becoming a DJ, something that allowed her to put her own spin on the art form.

She found that there are not many woman in the DJ world, so she set out to change that.

'On Wisconsin!', 'Roll Out the Barrel', 'Blister in the Sun', all of these songs are classic Wisconsin songs, but what is THE Wisconsin song?

This is the exact question one viewer had.
So they asked WHYsconsin.

Thanks for reading and get in touch.
We love to hear about your Wisconsin life.
This newsletter was sent to <<Email Address>>. Wisconsin Life is a coproduction of Wisconsin Public Radio and PBS Wisconsin.
Funding for Wisconsin Life comes from Alliant Energy, Lowell and Mary Peterson, the Wisconsin Humanities Council, and the Friends of Wisconsin Public Television. For questions or comments about Wisconsin Life, please use our contact form.

© 2020 Wisconsin Public Radio and PBS Wisconsin, services of the Educational Communications Board and The University of Wisconsin-Madison 

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