By Mary Boyle
The mention of a Spelling Bee may bring back middle school memories, but the Adult Literacy Center of Ozaukee's Spelling Bee on Saturday, September 9th, from 6-10 p.m. promises to be a grown-up evening of fun.
A fundraiser for ALC, the Bee is both a team competition between corporate and community teams and a spectator sport, with dinner catered by Out & Out of Cedarburg, dessert by Sugar Buns, a cash bar hosted by the Mequon Sunrise Rotary, and other activities in the mix. The last team standing wins.
Mitch Teich, Executive Producer and co-host of Milwaukee Public Radio's "Lake Effect" will serve as the master of ceremonies, as well as the Bee word pronouncer for the event, which takes place at the Reuter Pavilion in Mequon's Rotary Park, located at 4100 Highland Road.
Event organizers are still looking for teams of three, as well as two judges, and even has two pre-paid teams reserved for teachers, librarians, or area non-profits who are in need of support, thanks to a generous community member. Spectators are also needed and welcome. Early Bird registration has been extended to July 31st, and registration forms are available from the website: https://www.adultliteracyoz.org
The ALC Spelling Bee's Gold Presenting sponsor is the Nicholas Family Foundation; Bronze sponsors: Aurora Health Care, Inc; LaBudde Group; Coerper-Maurer Foundation; and Sommer's Automotive. Additional sponsorship opportunities are available, and donations can be made at the ALC website. For more information, contact Celeste Giunta, Interim Executive Director, at 262.546.0020, or by email at email@example.com.
As a kid growing up on the south side of Chicago, Joe DeLucia experienced the music industry first-hand. His father, an Italian immigrant, had his own record label in 1955, recording rock bands, blues singers, songwriters, big bands, and country singers. "I remember driving many miles with him as we delivered the records (45 rpm vinyl) to radio stations across Illinois, Michigan, and Indiana. His biggest 'hit' was a recording of Edgar Allen Poe's Annabel Lee put to music and sung by The Coeds. It rose to #21 on WLS's Silver Dollar Survey!"
When DeLucia arrived in Wisconsin in 1975, he started a music career of his own. "It started at the Sunday open mic at the Gasthaus in the basement of the student union at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. As I got more confident, I got paid gigs at such places as the Blue River Cafe, the 19th Street Coffeehouse, Numero Uno's on Oakland, Prima's on Downer (where I first started promoting local musicians), Marquette University and UW Milwaukee. I made a recording in 1979, a 45 rpm record, and received airplay in Milwaukee."
A wife, kids, and home put his music career on the back burner for many years, until 1991, when DeLucia moved his father in with his family, rediscovering all of those old 45 records, and realized how important music was to him. With many of his old haunts gone, DeLucia decided that he would have to create a place for singers and songwriters on his own.
In 1992, with the help of musician friends, DeLucia started the Wisconsin Singer Songwriter Series in a partnership with the Cedarburg Cultural Center, where it remained for 16 years until, for financial reasons, the concert series was moved to the Unitarian Church North in Mequon, where it continues today.
For twenty-five years, WSSS has been a successful, non-profit, volunteer-driven organization, with all of the proceeds of the event going to the artist fees and operating expenses. The small army of loyal volunteers, along with sponsorship from North Shore Bank, the law firm of DeWitt, Ross & Stevens, and Muermann Engineering, as well as DeLucia's passion for original, lyrical oriented music, has made WSSS an incredibly popular indoor concert series; so much so that DeLucia no longer has to find artists to perform; instead, they come to him, and the hardest part is choosing who gets in.
The concerts are held throughout the fall, winter, and spring at the Unitarian Church North (13800 N. Port Washington Road) in Mequon. The doors always open at 7 p.m., and the music begins at 7:30; soda, coffee, and homemade treats are available for purchase. Ticket prices vary (student prices are $10 at all times), but are less expensive if bought in advance, and season passes and mini-package deals are available for purchase through September 24th.
WSSS just released their 25th Season Line-up:
Saturday, September 24 - Reggie Harris & David Roth - advance/at the door $17/$21
Friday, October 7- Ronnie Cox & Band - advance/at the door $18/$22
Saturday, October 22 - Anne Hills - advance/at the door - $16/$20
Friday, November 4 - WSSS Song Contest - admission $5 anytime
Saturday, Nov. 5 - Michael Hough, David Tamulevich, Jan Krist & Matt Wattroba - advance/ door $17/$21
Saturday, November 19 -Julie Rust - advance/at the door $15/$19
Friday, December 9 -Jon Vezner & Don Henry - advance/at the door $17/$21
Saturday, January 21 - Bonnie Koloc - advance/at the door $18/$22
Friday, February 10 - Dan Navarro - advance/at the door $15/$19
Friday, March 3 - Brother Sun - advance/at the door $18/$22
Friday, April 7 - Joe Crookston - advance/at the door $15/$19
Saturday, April 29 - Johnsmith w/ Dan Sebranek - advance/at the door $16/$20
Friday, May 5 - Claudia Schmidt & Sally Rodgers - advance/at the door $17/$21
If you are a music lover, the WSSS is the place to be. "Our venue is a listening room, and is casual and family friendly. It is also a wonderful opportunity to purchase CD's of artists that you would normally not find at the stores," says DeLucia. "For these past 25 years, I have met musicians/songwriters of such rare quality and character, who share the same mission: to share the love of lyrics and music with everyone!"
For more information, visit the Wisconsin Singer Songwriter Series Facebook Page.
We are blessed to have an abundance of natural areas in Ozaukee County, including two incredible nature preserves: Riveredge on the northwestern end of Oz, and Mequon Nature Preserve on the southwestern end of Oz. Of the two, the Mequon Nature Preserve is the newest and, therefore, not always as familiar to residents, which makes them more in need of help. If you like the outdoors, there are plenty of opportunities to help Mequon Nature Preserve this spring and summer, as well as getting yourself outside.
For the competitive spirit, the Mequon Nature Preserve is participating in the 3rd Southeastern Wisconsin Garlic Mustard Pull-a-Thon, beginning this month and going through the end of June. For more information, contact Emily at 262-242-8055 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Every Thursday from 9 a.m. to noon, MNP is looking for Restoration Rangers to participate in various land restoration activities. No experience is needed - just come dressed to work outdoors. To rsvp, contact Emily at (262) 242- 8055 or email@example.com. Meet at Mequon Nature Preserve's Pieper Power Education Center at 8200 W. County Line Road in Mequon. If weekdays are too tough, there are Weekend Workdays on April 30th from 9 a.m.-noon and May 1st from noon-3 p.m.
Throughout the spring, summer and fall, Mequon Nature Preserve is also looking for Education Volunteers. Assist staff and volunteers with field trip students who visit the Preserve for nature walks, tours, biology lessons, water quality monitoring, and learning about plant and animal species. Contact Nici at (262) 242-8055 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
While volunteers are essential, visitors are also valued. If you haven't paid Mequon Nature Center a visit, you should. There are many events and educational opportunities for all ages, including Story Time for young children with Ms. Joyce and bird counts and monitoring for the Birders among you. The trails are open from dawn to dusk, year round, and pets on leashes are welcome, so bring the whole family for a hike, and climb the observation tower for a great view of the 438 acres.
This month, view the Water Shapes WI Exhibit from April 18th to May 2nd, and Celebrate Earth Day at MNP on April 22nd from 5:30-7 p.m., where John Gurda, renowned writer and historian, will present Milwaukee: A City Based On Water; a talk in collaboration with the Water Shapes WI Exhibit.
For more information, visit the Mequon Nature Preserve website: www.mequonnaturepreserve.com.
Diane Sposito is an accomplished playwright living in New York City, but she grew up in the Milwaukee area, and got her start in theater through her Alma Mater, Cardinal Stritch University. This Saturday, February 6th, she returns to CSU for the World Premiere of Cinderella, which she wrote alongside CSU Artistic Director, Mark Boergers.
This production is a perfect introduction to theater for young children, with plenty of humor for the parents and grandparents in the audience, as well. Children will be delighted to receive an "invitation" to Prince Veridicus' Ball as they enter the theater, and all attendees will be amazed when the Fairy Godmother turns Cinderella's rags into a beautiful ball gown! Guests at the Saturday performances are invited to an ice cream social with the performers, following the performance.
Cinderella runs February 6th through the 14th, in the NANCY KENDALL MAINSTAGE THEATER at the Joan Steele Stein Communications and Fine Arts Building on the Cardinal Stritch University Campus. Saturday and Sunday performances are at 2:00 p.m., and Monday-Thursday performances are at 10:00 a.m., with the Friday performance at 1 p.m. For tickets or information, call (414) 410-4171 or email email@example.com. CLICK HERE to purchase tickets directly online.
There's still time to register for the Junior Woman's Club of Mequon-Thiensville's 11th Annual Turkey Trot! This is the group's major fundraiser for the year, and will help raise money for the Thiensville Village Park and Portal Inc., Advocates of Ozaukee, and the Interfaith Caregivers & COPE Hotline.
The 5K Run-Walk will begin at 9 am on Thanksgiving morning. New to the event this year is a costume contest. Awards will be given for the Best Group/Collaborative, Best Holiday Costume, "Best of Run" Costume, and Best Kid's Costume. Kids 10 & younger may participate in the FREE 50 Meter Gobble Gallop at 10 am. Food donations for Family Sharing and toy donations for Toys for Tots will be collected, as well.