Some Milwaukee-area parks and historic buildings will host free, live music performances this summer thanks to a new program that aims at making the arts more accessible to the general public.
Wauwatosa musician and teacher Allison Schweitzer recently launched Wisconsin Music Ventures, an event-based business that has organized small-scale performances and educational programs to take place at unique, usually outdoor locations throughout the area, starting July 7.
"I want to get the arts out of high-priced concert halls and into fun, unique spaces where everyone can appreciate their beauty," said Schweitzer. "There are so many talented performers and amazing spaces in our area that it seems natural to connect them."
WMV has rolled out four main programs. Its "Find Us" concert series, free and open to the public, features a solo musician or small ensemble performing at a lesser-used outdoor park area. Similar to that series is "Family Music, Alfresco," which will include interactive activities for children.
The first "Find Us" concert will be held on July 7 at Greenfield Park, featuring Jay Orlowski of Wisconsin-based rock band Hindsight.
As for music education, Schweitzer will lead weekly outdoor music theory classes, dubbed Open-Air Theory Retreats, for teenagers. WMV will also offer "Symposium of Sound Masterclasses," which are taught by an area music educator on pre-selected topics, such as Bach or French music. Attendees are instructed to bring prepared music and will have the opportunity to perform, discuss the preparation process and other music-related topics.
A complete list of all scheduled programming is available at WMV's website.
Schweitzer, who is also the founder of music business networking group Music Biz & Banter, said she is actively seeking partnerships with area businesses, including indoor and outdoor event venues and music-based businesses, that could support WMV's programming.
"I am learning the ropes with the area's smaller parks, but once I have my game plan, I am looking to expand (WMV) elsewhere throughout the state, Madison, Green Bay," she said.
WMV will host a free kickoff event at 1 p.m. on July 7 at Kneeland Walker Mansion and Preservation Center in Wauwatosa. Schweitzer will further discuss the concept and upcoming events. Supporters, potential sponsors, Schweitzer's students and Music Biz & Banter members are invited to attend, she said.