The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music: A busy Sunday at the UW is highlighted by a FREE band concert and a public reception to mark the retirement of legendary band master Mike Leckrone

April 26, 2019
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IF YOU LIKE A CERTAIN BLOG POST, PLEASE SPREAD THE WORD. FORWARD A LINK TO IT OR, SHARE or TAG IT (not just “Like” it) ON FACEBOOK. Performers can use the extra exposure to draw potential audience members to an event.

ALERT: The Madison-based Avanti Piano Trio will give two FREE public concerts this weekend. The first one is TONIGHT at 7 p.m. at Capitol Lakes Retirement Community, 333 West Main Street, off the Capitol Square; the second one is on Sunday at 1 p.m. at the First United Methodist Church, 302 Wisconsin Avenue. Members of the trio are violinist Wes Luke, cellist Hannah Wolkstein and pianist Joseph Ross. The program includes works by Leon Kirchner, Ernest Bloch, Claude Debussy and Johannes Brahms.

By Jacob Stockinger

As the semester and academic year come to a close, concerts usually get packed into the schedule.

This coming Sunday, April 28, is no different – except that one event is clearly the headliner.

Mike Leckrone (below, in a photo by UW Communications)  – the legendary and much honored director of bands and athletic bands at the University of Wisconsin-Madison – is retiring after 50 years.

Sunday marks a last appearance. He will conduct the UW Concert Band one last time and then be honored with a public reception.

The athletes and athletic fans love him. The students and band members love him. The alumni love him.

And, yes, the School of Music loves him. After all, not many band directors do what he did when he asked the late UW-Madison violin virtuoso Vartan Manoogian to perform the popular Violin Concerto by Felix Mendelssohn with a band instead of an orchestra. But Manoogian agreed — and said he loved the experience.

Also, not many band directors could start an annual spring concert in Mills Hall with an audience of some 300 and then saw it grow decades later into a three-night extravaganza that packs the Kohl Center with some 50,000 people and gets seen statewide on Wisconsin Public Television.

One time years ago, The Ear — who was then working as a journalist for The Capital Times — interviewed Leckrone. It was a busy year when he and the Marching Band were going with the football and basketball teams to the Rose Bowl and the March Madness tournament.

Mike Leckrone was charming and humorous, open and candid. The interview was so good, so full of information and human interest, that it was picked up by the Associated Press and distributed statewide and nationally.

That’s how big Mike Leckrone’s fan base is. Other schools and bands envied him.

All honor, then, to this man of action and distinction who was also creative and innovative.

Here is more information – but, alas, no program — about the FREE band concert on Sunday at 2 p.m. in Mills Hall:

For really detailed biographical background about Mike Leckrone and his achievements, go to:

And here is a statement by Leckrone himself about his approach to teaching and performing as well as his plans for retirement. (You can hear an interview Leckrone did with the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel in the YouTube video at the bottom.)

Now you may think Leckrone can’t be followed.

But just this past week, the UW-Madison announced that Corey Pompey (below) is Leckrone’s successor. Here is a link to the official announcement, with lots of background about Pompey:

What else is there to say except: Thank you, Mike!

On, Wisconsin!

As for other events at the UW on Sunday:

At 4 p.m., in Mills Hall, University Bands will perform a FREE concert.  Darin Olsen, O’Shae Best and Cole Hairston will conduct. No program is listed.

At 8 p.m. in Mills Hall, the Madrigal Singers (below top) will perform a FREE concert. Bruce Gladstone (below bottom, in a  photo by Katrin Talbot) will conduct. No word on that program either.

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Classical music education: Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestras (WYSO) needs YOUR HELP as it presents its annual Art of Note gala on May 4 in Madison in order to help hundreds of music students from all around south-central Wisconsin. Plus, the UW-Madison’s national Stamps Scholars give their debut concert on Sunday afternoon.

April 27, 2013
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ALERT: You might want to catch the FREE debut performance by UW-Madison’s first class of Stamps Scholars (below in a photo) this Sunday, April 28, at 5 p.m. in Morphy Hall. Stamps Scholarships are competitive, four-year merit scholarships given by the Stamps Family Foundation of Atlanta. At the UW School of Music, Stamp Scholars include Renee Brechtel, violin; Alex Charland, clarinet; Kyle Pompei, horn; Cobrun Sells, piano & percussion, and Anna Whitaway, soprano. The program includes Igor Stravinsky‘s “L’Histoire du Soldat (The Soldier’s Tale); Franz  Schubert‘s “Der Hirt auf dem Felsen (The Shepherd on the Rock); Jarmo Sermila’s “Das Geblase”; and a piece written by Stamps Scholar Alex Charland, titled “Caricatures for Stamps Quintet.” For more information about the Stamps scholarships, check out these links: 

Stamps Scholarships 2013 Kathy Esposito

By Jacob Stockinger

Nobody quite knows what the cause is — maybe competing events, maybe the late cold, wet and overcast spring, maybe less public exposure.

But one fact is not in question: So far this year fewer than half the places that were sold last year have been sold to the annual Art of Note fundraiser for the Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestras on a week from today, at 6 p.m. on next Saturday, May 4, at the headquarters of CUNA Mutual on Mineral Point Road.

Art of Note logo copy

And WYSO simply needs to do better if it is to carry on the important and inspiring work it has been doing so successfully since it was founded in 1965, when it began educating more than 5,000 students from more than 100 communities throughout south-central Wisconsin.

wyso violas

Bluntly put: WYSI needs your help.

As The Ear has often said, there is no better cause or organization in the area to support if you care about the future of classical music, both the music-makers and the audiences, and about the role that music education plays in the lives of young people.

WYSO Youth Orchestra Violins

The gala will feature an evening of live music, gourmet cuisine, wine, locally brewed beer, and live and silent auctions, including a wine auction and bidding on violins that have been transformed into works of art (Below is the front and back of a violin by artist Michael Velliquette.).

Velliquette Violin Front & Back

The Art of Note gala will be held on Saturday, May 4, 2013, starting at 6 p.m. at the CUNA Mutual Conference Center, 5810 Mineral Point Rd., on the far west side of Madison.

Tickets are $100 per person in advance, $110 at the door. $70 of each ticket is tax-deductible. Guests can also purchase a table for 8 for $750.

Those who attend will enjoy hors d’oeuvres and dessert, served buffet-style, while they bid on fine dining, event tickets (including Badger football tickets), travel packages and many other items at the live or silent auctions.

You can preview many of these auction items at WYSO’s newly redesigned website:

The gala will include performances by the young musicians of WYSO’s Percussion Ensemble (below), Brass Choirs and Chamber Music Ensembles.

WYSO percussion Ensemble 2013

Proceeds of the gala will help support all aspects of the WYSO program for young people, including high-quality orchestral training, performance opportunities, student scholarships, orchestra tours -– major international tours every two years are on the works (below is a photo of WYSO performing in Vienna last year) — and master classes with professional musicians.

WYSO tour Playing George Cao

The outstanding results of WYSO training -– which has helped professional musicians and people in many other fields all over the world –- can be experienced first-hand when WYSO’s groups perform at several concerts during the year. Just listen to the performance of the last movement of Shostakovich‘s Symphony No. 5 in the YouTube video at the bottom.

WYSO Logo blue

The next upcoming examples of WYSO’s impressive achievement will be the Bolz Spring Concerts on Saturday and Sunday, May 18 and May 19, in Mills Hall on the UW-Madison campus. (Below is a photo by Cheng-Wei Wu of the WYSO Philharmonia Orchestra performing under retiring conductor and WYSO associate music director Thomas Buchhauser.)

Thomas Buchhauser  conducting WYSO Philharmonia Cheng-Wei Wu

Here is a link about the concerts and, at the home page, more about WYSO’s history and mission. Read them and see if you don’t agree that WYSO deserves support – YOUR support:

And speaking of support, let us acknowledge and praise the business and institutional help donated by the Art of Note sponsors: Boardman Clark Law Firm, The Century House, C.K. Chang, CUNA Mutual Group, Custer Financial Services/Lincoln Financial Group, EnRich Financial Partners, Goodman’s Jewelers, Tetrad, Inc., Susan Hoeft Vandewalle (WYSO Charter Concertmaster), and Wallman Investment Counsel.

Call (608) 263-3320 x 11 for more information or to RSVP.

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