The Merry Procrastinator's Guide to Last Minute, Local Christmas Gifts in Oz, 2022
By Mary Boyle
We've all been there: the panic that sets in when the clock is running out and you still haven't found the right gift, realized you forgot someone on your list, or just couldn't get a moment to get out and shop until the bitter end. Heading to a big box store may seem like the most convenient option, but there are so many amazing local and independent businesses in Oz just waiting to help you! Supporting local businesses and organizations is the gift that keeps on giving: the money you spend at these places not only stays in our community, but oftentimes helps to support important organizations that make Ozaukee and the greater Ozaukee area so unique and wonderful. Read on, and find the perfect gifts for everyone on your list!
For the Foodies
Oz is home to some really great restaurants, and a special dinner out could be a lovely gift. Try Fork & Tap, The Steerage, Plier's Full Circle Pub & Restaurant, or Twisted Willow in Port; Cedarburg has Brandywine, The Stilt House, The Anvil Pub or The Farmstead. Messina's in Saukville is a good bet, or try No No's in Newburg. The Stillery in Grafton is a brand new option this year, or head down to Mequon and check out The Highland House, the St. Paul Fish Company, or Cafe 1505. A CSA Subscription is another great idea!
For the Nature Lovers
Oz is home to two amazing nature preserves: Riveredge in Newburg in the north and Mequon Nature Preserve in the south. Memberships to both offer access to trails and programming, but also help support environmental restoration and education in Oz. Besides memberships, Riveredge has a Visitor's Center full of great gifts for the Outdoorsy person in your life, including the syrup they make onsite each spring.
For the Art Lovers
The art community is strong in Oz, and there are a variety of places where original artwork of all kinds can be purchased. In Cedarburg, try the Cedarburg Art Museum, Cedarburg Cultural Center, or the Wisconsin Museum of Quilts & Fiber Arts gift shops, but memberships to these organizations also make great gifts. In downtown Cedarburg, you can find local art in many of the gift shops, including Bohemia, the Pink Llama Gallery, and within the Shops of Cedar Creek Settlement. In Grafton, look no further than the NSAA Arts Mill, where a wide variety of treasures await.
For the Coffee Lovers
If there is one thing the Land of Oz has aplenty, it's good coffee shops. Gift Certificates are great, of course, but most also offer t-shirts, mugs, and other fun items to show your coffee shop pride. In Port, there's Java Dock Cafe or the new Banjole's Brews inside of Lakeside Music & Naturals; in Grafton, we have AM Coffee, NSeven, and Colectivo (also in Mequon); in Cedarburg, there's the Cedarburg Coffee Roastery and Java House. You can find a Fiddleheads in Cedarburg, Grafton, Thiensville, and Mequon. There is no lack of caffeine in Oz, people.
For the Pet Lovers (and pets!!)
Oz is home to a bounty of wonderful, independent and local places to shop for the pet or pet lover in your life! In Port Washington, check out One Wag on the corner of Franklin and Jackson St. downtown, which specializes in natural food and nutritional support for your pets. In Saukville, there's Dawgs In Motion, which has day camp, training classes, a pool, a shop, grooming and more, or Pet Supply Port, which has been in Oz for over 25 years. In Mequon, try the Feed Bag, which also offers a pool and grooming, as well as a selection for pets beyond dogs and cats. In Cedarburg, try Landmark Supply, which has been serving the critters of Oz for over 150 years!
For the Beer & Wine Lovers
Oz is home to a number of breweries, and there are a few winery options, as well. In Cedarburg, of course, there is the award-winning Cedar Creek Winery and Chiselled Grape Winery, but Cedarburg has two breweries, as well: Rebellion Brewing and The Fermentorium. In Port Washington, try Inventors Brewpub or Vines to Cellar. In Grafton there's Sahale Ale Works, or check out Foxtown Brewing in Mequon.
For those who love to wander through Gift Shops and be inspired...
Sometimes, you just want to wander around and see what might jump out at you, or have someone in the know who has the time to help you find the perfect gift. If that's you, you could just start at one end of downtown Cedarburg and finish at the other, but Cedarburg isn't your only game! In Port Washington, try Pear & Simple, Eclectic Avenue, Lakeside Music & Naturals (which has all types of goodies for the musicians in your life, too), The Shoppes of Port Washington, the brand new Purple Turtle Artisan Collective, Port's Cozy Corner, or Locally Inspired.
For the Jewelry Lover
Armbruster Jewelers in Cedarburg has been around since 1884, so you really can't go wrong, there; however, if you're lakeside, check out Sharbuno Jewelers in Port Washington, another family business that has been serving Oz since 1950. Mequon's East Towne Jewelers boasts over 30 years of business, which is certainly an accomplishment, as well. Cedarburg has several more unique and boutique shops that may also serve you well, such as Pagoda Fine Jewelry, Wyndrose Fine Jewelry or Jewelry Works.
For the Outdoor Sports Enthusiast
Snowboarding, skiing, cycling, kayaking, skateboarding, and more! Check out Sherper's in Port Washington, Cedar Creek Outdoors or Phase II Skate Shop in Cedarburg, Extreme Ski & Bike in Thiensville, or ERIK'S in Grafton. Surfing on Lake Michigan? You bet! Try the Board Shack in Port.
Candy and other Sweet Treats
On the lookout for candy, the perfect chocolate Santa, or maybe just something to satisfy your holiday sweet tooth? Oz has you covered! In Port Washington, you must visit The Chocolate Chisel for some of the best hot chocolate and ice cream in Oz, as well as amazing chocolates. In Grafton, Sweettrio or Handmade with Love is the place to go for candy, chocolates or caramel apples. In Cedarburg, you have your choice of Amy's Candy Kitchen, which is known for their caramel apples, or Ashley's Confectionery, which is a great place to find vintage candy and M&M's by the color, as well as chocolates. In Mequon, you must visit the Cocoa Tree Confectionery (and, if you have a great sense of humor and aren't easily offended, follow them on Facebook for some weekly laughs;)!
For the Kids (and Kids at Heart)
When you're shopping for children, to place to buy toys in Ozaukee County is the Cedarburg Toy Co. Owners, Zach and Natasha Loos, will not only assist you in finding the right gift, they'll wrap it for you. They are also experts at covert operations, if you happen to actually have your children with you and need to shop. Wink, nudge, or pass them a note, and they'll have all the presents wrapped and ready for later pick up, or whatever other crazy antics you can think of. CTC truly has gifts for all ages, from blocks and rattles to puzzles and books, and things you didn't even know existed! Don't miss this magical little store in the heart of downtown Cedarburg.
The important thing to remember about gift giving, especially this time of year, is not to buy stuff just to buy stuff. Slow down, really be present with people and, when you do want to give something, consider giving a gift that gives back to our community. Happy Holidays, everyone.
Book Signing and Coppersmithing: Local Author Sara Dahmen Shares Her Dual Passions at Locally Inspired
By Mary Boyle
This holiday season, Sara Dahmen of Port Washington has a lot to be thankful for: On the one hand, she's celebrating the publication of the third book in her Flats Junction series, Outcast 1883; on the other, she is celebrating moving her workshop out of her garage and into its own place. The workshop, of course, isn't where she writes, but where she restores and builds copper kitchenware for her other business, House Copper & Cookware. Luckily for us, she's sharing the joy with the whole community at Locally Inspired in downtown Port Washington with a book signing and a limited number of handmade tin and copper ornaments, as well as reproduction Victorian tin tinsel for your Christmas trees, some of which you can watch her make at the event.
Dahmen's latest book is a continuation of her first two historical fiction books: Widow 1881 and Tinsmith 1865, which will eventually make up a total of six books in the Flats Junction series. The stories are set mainly in the Dakotas and each book features a different woman as the main character. While it doesn't matter which order you read the first two books, Dahmen said, it helps to read the first two before reading the third.
"My editor said this is the strongest book I've ever written, but it was also the hardest, because I had to make it work with the series. The first two books can each stand alone, but this one ties them together and moves the story forward."
The first book, Widow 1881, is the story of Jane, a recently widowed woman who leaves the refined and settled city of Boston to take a position as a housekeeper for a doctor in the pioneer wilderness of the Dakotas. In Tinsmith 1865, Maria is the only daughter in a family of Polish Immigrant tinsmiths but, when her father falls ill and her brothers have joined the army, she must learn the trade in order to survive. The newest book, Outcast 1883, is about Kate, a character introduced in the first book who is another woman struggling to make it on her own, with the added burden of being part Native American in a time when just being a woman was hard enough.
The Flats Junction series is in serious development for a television series, although there has been a lot of delay, thanks to the pandemic. While the television project looks promising and Dahmen is excited about the prospect, she knows it's a matter of waiting for all the pieces to fall into place. In the meantime, she'll be writing another book a year for the next three years to finish the series, along with working in her shop, caring for her three young children, and pursuing her other varied interests, including historical reenacting.
Along with all the historical research Dahmen puts into her books, reenacting, she said, has helped to give her a very real physical knowledge of the period. "I know how it feels to wear a corset and the weight of the skirts around your waist," Dahmen explained. Not only that, she knows exactly how Maria felt being a woman tinsmith in the mid-nineteenth century, as she has demonstrated coppersmithing and tinsmithing at the 2018, 2019, and 2022 Crossroads Rendezvous, an event she helped to reestablish, alongside the man who taught her the trade: Bob Bartelme of Backwoods Tin & Copper in West Bend.
As the only female coppersmith in the country, Dahmen also has great experience being a woman struggling in a man's world, and that world is a very small one; there are very few tinsmiths and coppersmiths left and the ones that are working are often jewelry makers or other types of artists, not people making cookware. Dahmen’s hope is that more people, and more women, will take up these types of historical trades, continuing traditions and passing down knowledge from older generations before that knowledge is lost. With her new workshop, Dahmen will be able to hire assistants and hold classes, among other exciting opportunities; but first, she must finish all of her holiday orders, which all seems more manageable now that her workshop is no longer in her home and she can’t be suddenly interrupted by one of her children in the midst of working with sharp objects over hot flames.
To see Sara Dahmen in action and purchase or pre-order a signed copy of her latest book, head to Locally Inspired in downtown Port Washington between 10 a.m. and noon on Saturday, December 10th. Learn more about Sara and all her doings at https://housecopper.com.
Giving Tuesday in Oz
The holidays embody the spirit of giving and Giving Tuesday is an excellent way to take part. Ozaukee has many worthy non-profits to support and who need your help. Make a donation in someone's name and, not only is it a great Christmas gift for someone who has everything, it really is a gift that keeps on giving!
Kids & Family
Kettle Moraine YMCA
Big Brothers Big Sisters
Cedarburg Cultural Center
Cedarburg Art Museum
Wisconsin Museum of Quilts & Fiber Arts
North Shore Academy of the Arts
Gathering on the Green
Nature, Food, Environment
Riveredge Nature Center
Mequon Nature Preserve
Treasures of Oz
Ozaukee Washington Land Trust
Pine View Wildlife Rehabilitation Center
Ozaukee Humane Society
Ozaukee County Historical Society
Saukville Area Historical Society
Mequon-Thiensville Historical Society
Port Washington Historical Society
Ozaukee Nonprofit Center
Advocates of Ozaukee
Mr. Bob's Under the Bridge
Adult Literacy Center
Port Washington Main Street
Saukville Community Food Pantry
Family Promise of Ozaukee County
Family Sharing of Ozaukee County
Just Listen, Inc.
Family Enrichment Center
Finding A Christmas Tree in Oz
Getting the perfect, fresh-cut tree can be an amazing family holiday experience, and there are plenty of places in Oz that deliver. Here are the top picks for in or near Oz where you can cut your own or choose a pre-cut fresh tree!
Uselding's Christmas Trees
Located on Western Rd. just outside of downtown Cedarburg, choose a pre-cut tree, wreaths and other trimming.
Cedarburg Creek Farm
Located at 649 Hwy 60 in Cedarburg, the Cedarburg Creek Farm has pre-cut trees, wreaths, decorated pots, petting zoo, hayrides and more.
Sandhill Tree Farm
Located at 2323 E River Rd. in Grafton, Sandhill Tree Farm will be open for cut your own trees December 3rd & 4th and 11th and 12th from 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. Enjoy a bonfire, hot chocolate, candy canes, and photo opportunities.
Gene Fransee & Son Nursery & Landscaping/ Home of Kletzien Garden Center
Located at 3670 Hwy. W in Port Washington has trees, wreaths, poinsettias, vintage Christmas collectibles and more.
First Congregational Church
Located on the corner of Jackson St. and Grand Ave., along the Sauk Creek, the First Congregational Church is now in their 36th year of selling pre-cut trees as a fundraiser for the church.
Buechler Farms, LLC
Located at 587 S. Royal Ave in Belgium, Buechler's offers trees, wreaths, planters and a special Christmas Shop with ongoing activities for the kids.
Willoway Farm & Friends
For their third year, Willoway Farm and friends are selling pre-cut balsams at N5412 Cigrand Dr. in Waubeka, as well as some other local goodies. Enjoy a campfire and hot chocolate, too.
Anderson’s Greenview Tree Farm
Located at W4266 County Rd. D in Random Lake, Anderson's has pre-cut trees as well as wreaths and a Christmas Gift Shop in the barn, or take a walk or hay ride out to the fields to cut your own.
Trees For Less
Located at 11550 Wausaukee Rd. in Mequon has cut your own and pre-cut trees. Open 8 a.m. to dusk on the weekends, enjoy hot chocolate, a visit with Santa, snacks, a hayride, and more!
Stumpf's Tree Farm
Located at 340 Horns Corners Road in Cedarburg, Stumpf's is open from 9 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. every Saturday and Sunday through December 18th.
Nothing beats the holidays in Oz! From beloved holiday theatre opportunities to tree lightings and parades, we've got the line up in Oz and beyond!
Friday, November 18
Festive Friday Eve, An Enchanted Christmas, and the Kuhefuss House Holiday Marketplace & Gathering in Cedarburg
Saturday, November 19
Buechler Farms "Not Just A Tree" opens in Belgium
Sunday, November 20
Handmade Ozaukee Christmas Market in Random Lake
Cinema Under the Stars Holiday Edition: THE SANTA CLAUSE
Grafton Tree Lighting
Friday, November 25
Festive Friday Eve, An Enchanted Christmas, and the Kuhefuss House Holiday Marketplace & Gathering in Cedarburg
Saturday, November 26
Breakfast with Santa in Cedarburg
42nd Annual Grafton Christmas Parade
Shop Hop Event in Port Washington
Christmas Market at Saukville Feeds
Fredonia Tree Lighting
Sunday, November 27
Dinner with Mr. Clause at Twisted Willow in Port
Monday, November 28
Tree Lighting in Cedarburg
Tuesday, November 30
Giving Tuesday at the WMQFA/Free admission to 5th Annual Fiber Arts Biennial
Wednesday, December 1
Kapco's Kids2Kids Christmas Wonderland in Grafton, through December 5
Friday, December 2
Holiday Art Fair in Cedarburg through December 4th
Kickoff to the Holiday Film Festival at the Rivoli Theatre in Cedarburg, through Dec. 23rd
Festive Friday Eve, An Enchanted Christmas, and the Kuhefuss House Holiday Marketplace & Gathering in Cedarburg
Kick off to Illuminate Ozaukee Drive-Thru Holiday Light Display, through Dec. 23rd
Tree Lighting in Thiensville
Saturday, December 3
Christmas at the Legion in Saukville, through December 4
Christmas Cookie Walk at St. John's Lutheran in Port Washington
The Polar Express in Grafton
Christkindlmarkt in Port Washington
Christmas on the Corner in Port Washington
Sunday, December 4
European Christmas Parade, Festival and Chili CookOff in Belgium
Yule Log Hunt at Riveredge in Saukville
Tree Lighting in Saukville
Wednesday, December 7
Here Comes Santa Claus to Oscar Grady Library
Friday, December 9
A CHRISTMAS CAROL with Cedarburg Children's Theater, through Dec. 11th
A Kodachrome Christmas Starring John McGivern at the CPAC, through Dec. 11th
ANOTHER NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS at Memories Dinner Theater, through Dec. 18th
Festive Friday Eve, An Enchanted Christmas, and the Kuhefuss House Holiday Marketplace & Gathering in Cedarburg
Saturday, December 10
Kapco's Kids2Kids Celebration of Giving, through December 11th
Santa's Dash Away 5K Fun Run/Walk in Cedarburg
Mequon Police Dept.'s 6th Annual Holiday Giftwrapping Fundraiser
Winter Market at the Annex in Mequon
Holiday Art Show & Sale at East Towne Square in Mequon
2nd Annual Holiday Tasting at the Mequon Public Market
Sunday, December 11
Traditions on the Green: Winter Fun at the Mequon Public Market
Gingerbread House Day at the Mequon Public Market
Wednesday, December 15
Kapco's Kids2Kids Christmas Wonderland in Grafton, through December 23
Evergreen Porch Gnome Class at Kletzein Garden Center in Port Washington
Thursday, December 16
Illuminate Ozaukee in Cedarburg, through December 18
Jonathan Clark's Kitchen: Shortbread Cookies for Christmas in Mequon
Friday, December 17
Festive Friday in Cedarburg
An Enchanted Christmas at the Cedarburg Art Museum
An Olde English Christmas with Peter Noone at the CPAC
Meet Santa in a Snow Globe in Port Washington
Saturday, December 18
Christmas Bird Count at Riveredge
Kid's Ornament Workshop at Buechler Farms in Belgium
Fresh Hand-Tied Wreath Class at Kletzein Garden Center in Port Washington
Meet Santa in a Snow Globe in Port Washington
Tuesday, December 21
Fresh Festive Centerpiece Class at Kletzein Garden Center in Port Washington
Thursday, December 23
Illuminate Ozaukee in Cedarburg
Sunday, December 26
Final Kapco's Kids2Kids Christmas Wonderland in Grafton
November 16-December 11 The Nativity Variations with The Rep
Nov. 18-Dec. 31 A Jolly Holiday: Celebrating Disney's Broadway Hits at Skylight
Nov. 25-Dec. 24 Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer™: The Musical with First Stage
Nov. 25-Dec. 11 Every Christmas Story Ever Told (and Then Some) with Kettle Moraine Playhouse
November 26 The Hip Hop Nutcracker at the Marcus Center
November 27 Hartford City Band Holiday Concert at the Schauer Center
November 29-December 24 A Christmas Carol with The Rep
November 30 "A Shining Star" Holiday Pajama Jamboree with Festival City Symphony
December 1-4 BEHS presents White Christmas, The Musical at the Wilson Center
December 1-18 Elf The Musical at Sunset Playhouse
December 2 B2WINS Sounds of the Season at the Schauer Center in Hartford
December 2-4 Christmas Carol with the Falls Patio Players
December 3-4 The Nutcracker Ballet at the Weil Center in Sheboygan
December 2-11 A Christmas Carol with West Bend Theatre Company
December 11 Canadian Brass Christmas at the Wilson Center
December 2-10 The Best Christmas Pageant Ever with Sheboygan Theatre Company
December 3-5 A Christmas Carol with West Bend Theatre Company
December 6 Tenors MKE Holiday Concert at Sunset Playhouse
December 7-11 Festive Folk Cabaret at Sunset Playhouse
December 8-11 MSO Holiday Pops Concert
December 9-11 A Christmas Carol with Cedarburg Children's Theater*
December 9-11 A Kodachrome Christmas Starring John McGivern at the CPAC*
December 9-12 Another Night Before Christmas at the Kettle Moraine Playhouse
December 9-18 Another Night Before Christmas at Memories Dinner Theater*
December 15 MSO Holiday Concert at the Cedarburg Performing Arts Center (CPAC)*
December 16 MSO Holiday Concert at the Wilson Center
December 16-18 MSO presents Handel's Messiah
December 17 OzaukeChorus presents Christmas Memories at the GHS Auditorium
December 17 Cherish the Ladies Celtic Christmas at the CPAC*
December 17 Marie Osmond - A Symphonic Christmas at the Weil Center
December 17 MSO Film with Orchestra: The Snowman
December 18 Christmas at Holy Hill with the Lakeshore Symphonic Band
December 10-24 The Nutcracker with The Milwaukee Ballet
*In Ozaukee County
By Mary Boyle
The list of classical ballets is not very long, but at the very top of them are all three of the ballets featuring the music of the great Russian composer, Pyotr Illyich Tchaikovsky: The Nutcracker, Sleeping Beauty, and Swan Lake. Even to the uninitiated, the music of Swan Lake is familiar because it is constantly used in film, television, and commercials; in fact, it's likely to be a ring tone option on your mobile phone. Interestingly, Swan Lake was Tchaikovsky's first ballet, unveiled in 1877 in Moscow and, at first, it wasn't very successful. Today, it is the second most performed ballet in the world, after The Nutcracker, and you now have your chance to see SWAN LAKE performed by the Milwaukee Ballet November 3-6 at the Marcus Center in Milwaukee.
The story of Swan Lake, for those who are unfamiliar, is both a love story and the timeless tale of the battle for a crown, likely based on both German and Russian folk tales. The evil Von Rothbart (Davit Hovhannisyan), who is a confidante to the Queen, plans to take the throne through the use of his sorcery. Prince Siegfried (Randy Crespo/Parker Brasser-Vos), heir to the throne, has come of age and is being forced to wed by his mother, but wishes he could wed his childhood sweetheart, Princess Odette (Alana Griffith/Lizzie Tripp), who has suddenly gone missing. Von Rothbart has put a curse on Odette and her maidens that turned them all into swans during the day, only taking their human form at night. Siegfried is led to Odette in the night by Von Rothbart and learns her fate, pledging to always love her but, at the ball where his potential brides are presented, Siegfried is introduced to Odile (Marize Fumero/Marie Harrison-Collins), a copy of Odette created by Von Rothbart meant to fool Siegfried into pledging his love to the wrong woman, which will then seal the curse on Odette and her maidens and give Rothbart control of the throne. This ballet has several possible endings, from tragic to happy, but far be it from me to fill you in on this one.
The music of Tchaikovsky, performed by the Milwaukee Ballet Orchestra under the direction of Andrews Sill, who has been with the Milwaukee Ballet since 2003 and is also the Associate Music Director of the New York City Ballet, is truly half of the reason one should see this production. While the music of Swan Lake is already unforgettable and easily recognizable, the orchestra, along with Associate Conductor Pasquale Laurino, makes the music come alive.
This production marks the 5th time Michael Pink, who is celebrating his 20th Anniversary as Milwaukee Ballet's Artistic Director, has directed and choreographed Swan Lake for the Milwaukee Ballet, and his version is not only incredibly accessible to a wider audience (meaning, to people who do not necessarily think of themselves as fans of the ballet), but also an honest to goodness work of art.
Classical ballets can sometimes be a bit tedious, but Pink's version of this classic is streamlined into two acts instead of 4 and is packed with enough emotion and drama to tell the story the way it is deserved to be told. My absolute favorite element is the flock of swans: their costumes, which replace the traditional tutu with tattered white dresses, were introduced in Pink’s 2nd production and embody both the curse they are under and the graceful creatures they become during the day; however, it's their choreography that is truly breathtaking – I would never get tired of watching it. I saw Alana Griffith as Odette and Randy Crespo as Siegfried and, I must say, their Pas de Deux was a triumph, while the entire production was pure magic. Don’t miss your chance to see this one.
SWAN LAKE only runs through Sunday, November 6th, at the Marcus Center, located at 929 N. Water Street in Milwaukee. Tickets may be purchased online at https://www.milwaukeeballet.org/ or by calling the Milwaukee Ballet Box Office at 414-902-2103 or the Marcus Performing Arts Center Box Office at 414.273.7206.
The Milwaukee Ballet will return to the Marcus Center December 10-24 with their annual production of THE NUTCRACKER. This year will be the final year to see the costumes and sets that have been used for the past 25 years before an all-new production of The Nutcracker will be unveiled in 2023!
About Milwaukee Ballet
Since 1970, Milwaukee Ballet has been making a name for themselves and the City of Milwaukee through the art of ballet and their mission to transform lives and connect communities through inspiring performance, community engagement, education, and training. Milwaukee Ballet is an international company of dancers, a thriving School & Academy, and a force for change in the community through their outreach and engagement programs.
The Port Washington/Saukville School District will be well represented at the Middle Level State Honors Music Project this weekend. Six music students and their teachers will be participating in the event.
“We’re incredibly proud of these students and this recognition,” said Abby Raaflaub, Coordinator for the All State WCDA Middle Level Choir and Choral/General Music/ Musical Theatre teacher at Thomas Jefferson Middle School. “It is great exposure for them to work with students from all over the state and to learn from highly accomplished directors.”
Only music students in grades 6, 7, and 8 are able to audition for the Honors Project. In Spring of 2022, nearly 1000 students auditioned for the 305 available positions. Five of the students being sent by the TJMS Music Department: Adeline Dahl, Austin Knapp, Jack Mitchell, Jack Schwengels, and Madelyn Szolwinski, will be participating in the Choir Ensemble. Only Tegan Timberlake was chosen for the Orchestra and will be participating as one of only four trumpets in the entire ensemble.
Adam Hackbarth, who was Timberlake’s Band/Jazz Band teacher last year, commented, “This is a pretty big honor - not just for Tegan but for our school and entire music department. She’s a hard-working and accomplished musician who earned this recognition.”
Music for the Honors Project was sent out in August, but students will have just one day of rehearsals together before their performance. Students are expected to take this opportunity seriously and to show up fully prepared. When asked about the students from TJMS, Raaflaub expressed no doubts. “The students who were chosen are committed to music. This weekend is the reward for that.”
The current and former TJMS students will be traveling to Verona, Wisconsin this weekend with financial support from the TJMS Music Boosters. Tuition for this
event includes meals, lodging, coaching, music, tshirt, etc. This year’s Middle Level Band Ensemble will be directed by Dr. Erica J Neidlinger, associate professor and wind conductor at DePaul University in Chicago. The 2022 Middle Level Honors Choir will be directed by Dr. Jabarie Glass, Associate Director of Choral Studies at the University of South Carolina. Dr. Frank M. Diaz, associate professor of music at Indiana University will direct the Middle Level Orchestra.
On November 18th and 19th, the TJMS orchestra will participate in MARY POPPINS JR., which will be performed at the Port Washington High School PAC at 7 p.m. on Friday and 2 p.m. on Saturday. Tickets will be available at the door, but may also be purchased online at gofan.co/
About TJMS Music Boosters
The TJMS MUSIC BOOSTERS are committed to promoting, supporting, and subsidizing musical education and the dedicated educators providing it. Port Washington is recognized nationally as a top community for Musical Education by NAMM. Students have the opportunity to participate in general choir, select choir, a capella choir, band, jazz band, marching band & color guard, and musical theater throughout Middle School. TJMS Music Boosters are actively fundraising for facility improvements, staffing, and instruments. For information on how you or your company can contribute, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Mary Boyle
The Constructivists, one of Milwaukee’s most recent theatre companies, began their first season in 2018 with Martin McDonagh’s disturbing play, The Pillowman. Led by the fearless Jaimelyn Gray, The Constructivists believe that “passionate theatre is the necessary catalyst for change” and have filled a niche in the Milwaukee theatre scene that most people probably didn’t know needed filling. Not only did they survive the pandemic, Jaimelyn helped to found the Milwaukee Theatre Alliance, a coalition of area theatre companies, artists and supporters coming together to support and strengthen Milwaukee theatre. This season, they return with Peter Sinn Nachtrieb’s THE TOTALITARIANS, a 2015 political satire that was meant for their 2020 season but, as with most political satire, is still entirely relevant.
Directed by Jaimelyn Gray, THE TOTALITARIANS takes place in the unassuming state of Nebraska where a struggling campaign manager named Francine (Haley Ebinal) is trying to advance her career by any means necessary, even if it means getting the stupidest candidate she’s ever worked with, Penelope Clearwater (Maggie Marks), to win the State Senate seat. Francine’s husband, Jeffrey (Matthew Scales), is a doctor who just wants Francine to leave the campaign behind and start a family with him. When his patient, Ben (Ekene Ikegwuani), convinces him that there’s a plot to turn Nebraska into a totalitarian state and that his wife and her candidate are involved in it, chaos ensues.
Described by The Constructivists as a dark comedy, the show does offer plenty of laughs, but most of them are of the uncomfortable variety – either because the humor involves sex in one way or another or because the story is too ridiculous to be believed, until you back up and realize it bears an uncanny resemblance to real life. Marks channels serious and well-played Sarah Palin energy into Penny, while Matthew Scales, who is a strong and consistent actor, reminds me of Kevin James from the sitcom King of Queens. I saw Rebekah Farr as Francine, since Haley Ebinal had an illness that took her out of the first several performances, and I must give her another round of applause because I thought she delivered a very strong performance even without considering she was not an understudy for the role, but the Assistant Director.
In all, this production left me more confused than disturbed; it is full of contradictions to itself and, quite honestly, I can't decide if it is brilliant satire or utterly lacking in intelligence. Whatever audiences decide, the production will most certainly make you think about the state of politics in our country and, perhaps, how we might rise above it. The intimate Interchange Theater is a good venue for this production; they have a great bar area for before the show and during intermission, and it’s an ideal place to see and support smaller companies like The Constructivists who are often doing the kind of theatre that is too risky for the larger groups to support. This particular production includes violence and adult language, as well as sexual content, and is not intended for all audiences; viewer discretion is advised.
THE TOTALITARIANS runs through October 29, 2022, at the Interchange Theater Co-op, located at 628 N. 10th Street in Milwaukee. Tickets, which are always $20, may be purchased online at https://www.theconstructivists.org/ or by calling (414) 858-6874.
About The Constructivists:
The Constructivists believes that live theatre, and the human connection it provides, is needed now more than ever and are committed to creating accessible, viscerally-driven live theatre, exposing and exploring the complexity of human nature and the perils it creates in an effort to challenge, enlighten, educate, and entertain a diverse mature audience. Since 2018, under the leadership of Director Jaimelyn Gray, The Constructivists are working to strengthen and grow the local theatre community in the Milwaukee area.
By Mary Boyle
While not everyone may be familiar with Marc Brown's children's books about Arthur the aardvark, most people have encountered the cartoon, aired on PBS, simply because it is the longest running children's animated series in the U.S. In fact, the cartoon comes in second to being the longest running animated series in the U.S. after The Simpsons. Since 1996, there have been 25 seasons and 253 episodes of the cartoon; generations of kids have spent time after school with this lovable and relatable character, along with his family, friends, and the fictional community of Elwood City, as they tackle important topics such as cancer, autism, diabetes, and asthma while encouraging children to read and to believe in themselves. Now, the playwright duo of John Maclay and Brett Ryback have brought this iconic animated series to life in ARTHUR™ & FRIENDS MAKE A MUSICAL! with First Stage in Milwaukee.
Directed by Khalia Davis, with music direction by Brett Ryback, the musical manages to accurately bring the feel of the cartoon to life, even without trying to transform the actors into the anthropomorphic characters they represent. By dressing the actors in the clothing worn by their cartoon counterparts, the characters are easily recognizable by anyone familiar with the show, even without the use of furry costumes or ears. While the cartoon’s iconic theme song, written by Ziggy Marley and the Melody Makers, is not featured in the production, the lyrics are clever and well suited to the cartoon and the musical styles vary, including an excellent nod to Hamilton that Lin Manuel Miranda fans will appreciate.
The adults in the cartoon are played by adult actors: SaraLynn Evenson is Arthur’s mom, Zach Thomas Woods is Arthur’s dad, and the charismatic James Carrington, whose humor and energy really carries the production, plays Arthur’s teacher, Mr. Ratburn. The young performers are double cast and include Arthur (Vivian Madson/Sanaiah Hibbler), Arthur’s sister D.W. (Gia Love Deacon/Layla Katers), and Arthur’s friends: Francine (Alice Rivera/Lucia Santana), Muffy (Silver Anderson/Niamh Mayne), Buster (Ryon Davis/Alex Radtke), and Brain (Charlie Cornell/Jaloni Brown). I saw the Elwood Cast and was particularly enamored with Gia Love Deacon, who embodied D.W.’s mannerisms so perfectly. Vivian Madson was well cast as Arthur and Alice Rivera delivered an excellent performance as Francine. These are three young performers to keep an eye on.
John Maclay, who has done significant work with First Stage, was the writer behind last season’s Legend of Rock, Paper, Scissors and is particularly brilliant at working in child-appropriate humor directed at the adults in the audience. Much like the cartoon, the musical tackles some important topics that kids encounter in real life, like being accepting of yourself and others, but also includes the more progressive storylines from the cartoon, including the mention that their teacher, Mr. Ratburn, is gay, which the cartoon unveiled in its 22nd season. Where the musical falls short is in sound: the music is recorded, not live, which wouldn’t be so bad except that the sound system at Todd Wehr is not good, compounded by the fact that the mics on the actors are also not great; however, these flaws are due to the technical limitations of the Todd Wehr Theater, which is long overdue for an overhaul. Certainly, if you are a fan of Arthur, I wouldn’t let that stop you from seeing this production. First Stage is one of the best youth theaters in the country; we are so very lucky to have them in the area and they deserve our support.
ARTHUR™ & FRIENDS MAKE A MUSICAL! runs through November 6, 2022, at the Marcus Center's Todd Wehr Theater, located at at 929 North Water Street in downtown Milwaukee. Tickets start at $32 and are available at https://www.firststage.org/ or by calling (414) 267-2961. Performance runtime is approximately 90 minutes, which includes a brief intermission. Suggested for families with young people ages 5+.
Special events for ARTHUR™ AND FRIENDS MAKE A MUSICAL!
Sensory Friendly Performance: Saturday, October 22, 2022 at 3:30 p.m.
A Sensory Friendly Performance with accommodations for families with children on the autism spectrum. Sensory accommodations include lower sound, house lights up, a quiet area staffed by an educator experienced with the care of students on the autism spectrum and other developmental differences, and more. Tickets for Sensory Friendly Performances are $10. Order by phone at (414) 267-2961, weekdays 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. to reserve tickets. To learn more visit: firststage.org/plan-your-visit/sensory-friendly-performances/.
ASL Interpreted Performance: Sunday, November 6, 2022 at 3:30 p.m.
This performance will be sign language interpreted for patrons who are deaf or hard of hearing. Assistive listening devices are also available at the Todd Wehr Theater. firststage.org/plan-your-visit/accessibility/sign-language-interpreted-performances/
About First Stage
First Stage is one of the nation’s leading theaters for young people and families. First Stage touches hearts, engages minds and transforms lives by creating extraordinary theater experiences through professional theater productions that inspire, enlighten and entertain. Its Theater Academy, the nation’s largest high-impact theater training program for young people, fosters life skills through stage skills and serves nearly 2,000 students each year. As Wisconsin’s leader in arts-integrated education in schools, First Stage’s dynamic Theater in Education programs promote literacy, character building and experiential learning throughout the curriculum, serving over 20,000 students each year. First Stage was selected to participate in the Partners in Education program of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts (2012) and was the recipient of the Milwaukee Business Journal’s Eureka Award, recognizing creativity and innovation in business, education and the arts for its Next Steps program for students on the autism spectrum (2013, 2015). First Stage is a member of TYA/USA, the American Alliance for Theatre and Education, the Wisconsin Alliance for Arts Education, Milwaukee Arts Partners and is a cornerstone member of the United Performing Arts Fund (UPAF).
Halloween comes but once a year, and it's the perfect opportunity to be someone (or something) else, for a change. Then there's the free candy, of course. Ozaukee has all kinds of fun Halloween happenings for all ages — here's the lineup!
Scary Bloody Mary Walk Saturday, October 22nd from 11 a.m. - 3 p.m. Enjoy Bloody Marys while supporting the Cedarburg Friends of Parks & Recreation! Twelve sponsor bars compete for the title of Best Bloody Mary 2022, while participants compete for Best Costume. Participants vote for Best Bloody and Best Costume to determine the winners.
Gothic History Tours October 21, 22 and 28 The Gothic History Tour returns for their 18th year with the Care and Feeding of Ghosts and Ghouls! This 90-minute walking tour is volunteer-led and benefits the non-profit Cedarburg Cultural Center.
The Haunt celebrates its 15th year of scaring people silly! Head to the fairgrounds Friday and Saturday nights between October 14th and the 29th to experience the horror, if you dare!
Pumpkin Walk Monday, October 31st from 5-9 p.m. The Pumpkin walk is truly Halloween fun for the whole family. Jack-o-lanterns line Washington Ave., and many of the main street businesses offer treats and specials for those who wander through.
Nightmare on Elm Street Thursday, October 27, 5-8 p.m. Food Trucks in the Park meets Dead Man's Carnival! A fun, free event for the whole family!
Business Trick-or-Treat Thursday, October 27, 4-6 p.m. In conjunction with Nightmare on Elm Street, many downtown Thiensville businesses will participate in a Trick-or-Treat!
Pumpkin Carving & Spooky Cave Tour Saturday, October 22, 11-4 at Foxtown Brewing Enjoy Halloween movies, drink and snack specials for adults and kids, and more!
Habitat Haunting at the Mequon Nature Preserve Saturday, October 29, noon-2. Come dressed in your costume and hike the Streich Family Wetlands trail system! Stop at different stations along the way and receive candy and other goodies. Play some yard games and run around Marty's Playspace when you are all done! Leashed dogs are welcome (have them dress up too!).
Fall into Grafton Friday & Saturday, October 14th & 15th This two-day event starts with a beer garden and live music on Friday night in the Paramount Plaza Stage. Bring your decorated jack-o-lanterns to light up the Paramount Plaza and enter in the Pumpkin Decorating Contest! Then, come back on Saturday for the second year of Puttin' Around Downtown Grafton, a kids zone with a petting zoo, pony rides, bounce houses, face painting and more! Don't forget to decorate and prepare a pumpkin to enter in the Bank Five Nine Pumpkin Derby!
Saukville Scare 5K Run/Walk Saturday, October 15th at Grady Park in Saukville, this family-friendly Halloween-themed event benefits the Saukville Elementary School free breakfast program.
Trails & Treats Friday and Saturday, October 21st and 22nd at Riveredge A non-spooky night of fall family fun as you hike a mile loop of our trails and visit education stations featuring some costumed woodland creatures along the way! While there, these new friends will entertain and educate you about their habits and habitats, and give you some candy-free treats while they're at it!
Harvest Moon Dance Saturday, October 22nd from 6-11 p.m. at the Saukville Legion is a great way for adults to celebrate Halloween for a good cause. Live music, food and prizes for the best costume!
Doggy Costume Parade & Contest Thursday, October 20st from 5-7 p.m. Who doesn't love a parade of dogs? Especially dogs dressed in costumes! The parade starts at 5 at the Heart of the Harbor and the contest will take place thereafter. No need to register your dog. Just come on down with a well-dressed pup to enter!
Huntin' for Pumpkins Friday, October 21, 5-7:30 p.m. Kids will get a chance to hunt for the perfect pumpkin in Upper Lake Park and one lucky child who finds the great golden pumpkin will receive a special treat! There will also be a spooky maze, photos from VIP, hot cider, a spooky story walk present by W.J. Niederkorn Library, and more! Pre-Registration is required.
Port Washington Ghost Walk Fridays and Saturday, October 28th & 29th Celebrate your Halloween Season in a most unique fashion and join in for the popular Port Washington Ghost Walk, featuring two options, this year, as well as a Ghost Hunt option. This popular event sells out fast!
Downtown Trick-or-Treating in Port Saturday, October 29th from 1-3 p.m.. Wear your best costume and visit businesses downtown!
Booo! at the Barn Saturday, October 29th from 8-11:30 p.m. Join Buechler Farms for an Adults Only Costume Party, featuring Live Music by Kid Ego, prize for the best costume, a photo booth, snacks, 50/50 Raffle and more!
Eerie Street Cemetary Haunted House Friday, October 21, 6-10 p.m. The Eerie Street Cemetary is a family-run charity haunted house running 6-10 p.m. October 21, 22, 28 and 29 and 2-8 p.m. on Sunday, October 30th. Proceeds go to Fishing Has No Boundaries.
Fredonia Fire Dept. Annual Halloween Brat Fry Saturday, October 29th from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. Get a burger, brat or a treat for the trick-or-treaters!
Trick-or-Treating in Oz