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All About CIVIC MUSIC MKE

Our Rich 105 Year History!

1918         
Civic Music Association of Milwaukee established. Liborious Semmann, Dean of the College of Music at Marquette University. It was initially a membership organization funded with membership dues as well as support from the City of Milwaukee. 

1923            
CMA secures high school credits for Milwaukee Public School music students.

1924         
CMA participates in first local observance of National Music Week.

1926            
CMA presents first High School Awards to Milwaukee Public School graduating seniors.

1927            
CMA organizes the Young People’s Orchestra under the direction of Rudolph Kopp.

1929            
CMA begins managing a series of free concerts featuring local musicians in partnership with the Milwaukee Art Institute. This series later evolved into the Artist & Ensemble Recital Series.

 

1930 
Milton Rusch becomes conductor of Young People's Orchestra.

 

1936            
CMA incorporates as a nonprofit organization.

1940            
CMA organizes the Young People’s Symphonic Band under the direction of Joseph Skornicka. 106 musicians turned out for the first auditions! Instruments were purchased and rented to some members. Band members sold 1000 tickets to its first concert at the Milwaukee Auditorium. (Admission is $.25!)

CMA publishes its first Calendar of Musical Events.

1941            
CMA expands High School Awards program to include students graduating from all public high schools in Milwaukee County.

1946           
CMA’s newly re-named Milwaukee Civic Symphony Orchestra (formerly the Young People’s Orchestra) and the Milwaukee Civic Concert Band (formerly the Young People’s Symphonic Band) begin rehearsing in the Cooley Auditorium at the Milwaukee Vocational School (now MATC).

 

The 1940s 
CMA becomes involved in the early plans for War Memorial which was originally planned a s the "War Memorial/Music Hall."  Meeting minutes say, " Tentative needs are a large concert hall (for opera and symphony), a smaller hall seating for 1500, a concert hall for 800, and smaller recital halls with rehearsal facilities."

 

1947
CMA pledges $1,500 to the Milwaukee County War Memorial Center. 

 

1950            
Florentine Opera Company celebrates its 16th anniversary and presents CMA with a bronze plaque as an expression of appreciation of its continuous and consistent efforts on behalf of music in the community.

CMA underwrites publicity campaign for the proposed campaign a Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, pending the appointment of a Milwaukee County Symphonic Commission.

1953
Plans for the War Memorial moving ahead without the music hall component. 

 

1954
CMA sends their good wishes to the Milwaukee Pops Orchestra in their inaugural year. 

 

1959
Paul Anderson becomes conductor of the Milwaukee Civic Concert Band.

 

1964            
CMA presents its first Distinguished Citizen Award.

 

1971            
CMA community chorus formed with Wallace Cheatham as conductor.

 

1973
Wayne Becker becomes conductor of the Milwaukee Civic Concert Band.

 

1974
CMA is adopted by the Milwaukee County Park Commission. 

1979            
CMA publishes the first issue of its newsletter Milwaukee Music Notes and establishes an administrative office at the Charles Allis Art Museum.

1980            
CMA establishes the Donald and Idabelle Mohr Scholarship for MPS graduating seniors continuing their musical education by presenting a day-long 50th year anniversary Artist & Ensemble Recital Series retrospective featuring 40 performers. This was later broadcast

state-wide over Wisconsin Public Radio (WHAD 90.7 FM).

1981            
CMA begins a series of Sunday Serenades at the Mitchell Park Domes.

1982            
CMA presents the first High School Showcase Recital. CMA presents the first Holiday

Flute-In at the Mitchell Park Domes.  CMA establishes the Norbert J. Beihoff Scholarships that award one year of private lessons to middle school instrumentalists who demonstrate financial need and have not yet had the opportunity for private music instruction. 

1983            
WHAD broadcasts previously recorded Artist & Ensemble Recital Series concerts during the summer. 

1984            
UWM broadcasts previously recorded Artist & Ensemble Recital Series concerts on its

Music from Milwaukee program.

1986            
CMA initiates Contemporary Composers Concerts. 

1987            
CMA establishes Leonard D. Sorkin Memorial Violin Competition. 

1991            
CMA begins an annual Celebration of Musical Achievement awards ceremony recognizing excellence in the teaching of music.

1993            
CMA celebrates its 75th Anniversary and moves its administrative office to the Marian Center for Nonprofits (formerly St. Mary’s Academy). CMA expands High School Awards program to include students graduating from all public and private high schools in the greater Milwaukee area.

1994           
CMA’s Milwaukee Civic Symphony Orchestra incorporates as a separate nonprofit organization and is renamed the Festival City Symphony.

1995          
CMA begins collaborating with the local UNICO chapter, an Italian American service organization, to offer scholarships to music students of Italian heritage.

1996          
CMA presents its first annual Harold A. Levin Scholarship. CMA’s Milwaukee Civic Concert Band incorporates as a separate nonprofit organization.

2001         
CMA establishes the Elizabeth W. Boyce Young Artists Scholarships for high school vocalists and instrumentalists. CMA moves the Annual Holiday Flute-In from the Mitchell Park Domes to the Milwaukee Public Museum.

2002         
CMA begins partnering with Supporters of Opera Singers to provide professional vocal coaching sessions for young, local opera singers through its Vocal Coaching Program.

2004          
CMA created the Music Competition Weekend by combining its elementary, middle, and high school offerings into a weekend of auditions, workshops, and master classes, with cash prizes and a recital. CMA’s Harold A. Levin Scholarships became part of the Collegiate Music Competition, and the Norbert J. Beihoff Scholarships became part of the Private Lesson Program for Instrumentalists.

2006            
CMA moves the Annual Holiday Flute-In from the Milwaukee Public Museum to the Bayshore Towne Center.

2007            
CMA establishes the Audience Voice Award to give the audience a voice by selecting a musician of their choosing to receive a special cash prize during CMA’s Collegiate Music Competition.

2008             
CMA celebrates its 90th Anniversary by kicking off the Awards Banquet as a new annual event. CMA expanded the Distinguished Citizen Award to include recognition for a Professional in the Arts and a Patron of the Arts.

CMA presented A&E recitals at multiple venues, east and west, to reach a larger audience. 

2010            
CMA celebrates its 30th Annual Holiday Flute-in.

2011            
CMA establishes the Private Lesson Program for Vocalists that awards one year of private lessons to grades 8-9 vocalists who demonstrate financial need and have not yet had the opportunity for private music instruction. 

 

2018-19
Private Lesson Program expands to a three-year program.  60 students currently receiving lessons in the 2018-19 season.

CMA celebrates its 100th season with the Centennial Celebration Gala on November 4 with guest artist Doc Severinsen.

2019-20       
CMA rebrands itself as CIVIC MUSIC MKE.

CM MKE expands the eligibility for vocalists in the Private Lesson Program to grades 8 through 12.

2020-21

CM MKE expands eligibility for instrumentalists in the Private Lesson Program to grade 4 through 11 to reflect the school music programs in the greater Milwaukee area.  

All CM MKE programming goes on-line. Video auditions are accepted, and workshops move on-line.

CM MKE hosts CAN’T STOP THE MUSIC, a virtual special event celebrating the 2021 Educator Award recipients and featuring some of Milwaukee’s finest musicians who are teachers for and friends of CM MKE.

2021-22

CM MKE expands its Private Lesson Program to include two Musician Meet-Ups each season that include dinner for the families and a fun musical activity for the young musicians. It becomes a great way for students and parents to meet each other. 

2023-24

CM MKE holds its inaugural LIVE at the IVY HOUSE event featuring student and adults musicians connected in some way to CM MKE. In keeping with all performances presented, this event is free and open to the public in an accessible venue. 

CIVIC MUSIC MKE supports music education and provides
performance opportunities to young musicians in the Greater Milwaukee area. 

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