Jazz concert to benefit Fisher House Wisconsin

Last updated on July 2nd, 2019 at 09:34 am

Milwaukee composer Penny Corris aims to raise as much money as possible for Fisher House Wisconsin as she debuts a set of original songs at a June 13 concert on the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s campus.

Corris, who grew up in Whitefish Bay and now resides in Hartland, is a classically trained composer who studied music at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, at Brandeis University and at the Mozarteum in Austria. For close to 50 years, she has been teaching piano and music theory. Today, she offers piano, music theory and composition lessons out of her home.

During her June 13 concert, she will premiere “American Songbook,” a collection of 15 songs with a jazzy edge and a Latin flair.

That music style is not one Corris has devoted much of her career to as she has an affinity for classical pieces.

“I was very surprised,” she said of her ability to compose jazz-flavored songs. “I didn’t know that I had it in me. I didn’t know that I could do that, but I found out I can and very successfully, too.”

In preparing for the debut of her work, she has hired celebrated musicians from across the country. Among those taking the stage on June 13 will be bass player Michael Britz, who has jammed with music giants such as Diahann Carroll, Rosemary Clooney and Frank Sinatra, Jr. Also slated to perform is Niffer Clarke, a vocalist who has sung in concert with the London Symphony Orchestra, as well as jazz pianist Dan Dance.

Corris hopes to draw as many audience members as possible to her show, which is free and open to the public. Corris has underwritten all costs for the show and will encourage attendees to make donations toward Fisher House Wisconsin, a Milwaukee facility that serves military veterans and their families undergoing treatment at the Milwaukee VA Medical Center.

This concert is Corris’ first large-scale effort to raise funds for the center.

“I feel very strongly about the way that veterans are treated when they come home,” Corris said. “I don’t think that they get treated with the care that they should be given and, consequently, I wanted to do something to help them.”

She does not have a fundraising goal but simply wants to fill as many seats as possible at the show, which she compares to a Broadway review.

“It’s going to be fabulous,” Corris said.

Corris’ concert is scheduled to begin at 8 p.m. and will be held at the UWM Helene Zelazo Performing Arts Center, located at 2419 E. Kenwood Boulevard in Milwaukee. “American Songbook” will also be available as a CD later this year. For more information on Corris, her work and her show, visit www.composerpennycorris.com/home.html.

Sign up for BizTimes Daily Alerts

Stay up-to-date on the people, companies and issues that impact business in Milwaukee and Southeast Wisconsin

No posts to display