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Festival of Trees and Music

Featuring dozens of live performances by a wide range of popular musicians, elaborately decorated holiday trees, along with a showcase of area choral groups, a premier event titled the Festival of Trees and Music will make its debut as an 11-day holiday celebration by the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music Thursday, Nov. 14, through Sunday, Nov. 24.

The gala festivities will take place at the Conservatory’s historic McIntosh-Goodrich Mansion, 1584 N. Prospect Ave., near downtown Milwaukee. The mansion will be decorated in elegant holiday style with lights, sparkling trees, and other holiday items. Admission is open, with a suggested donation at the door.

Among the featured talent will be Paul Cebar on solo guitar; popular French singer Robin Pluer; the jazz sextet, We Six; A Taste of Latino Traditions – Milwaukee Latino Carnaval; jazz vocalist Adekola Adedapo; Lil’ Rev, ukulele and harmonica player known for his Yiddish music; Oumar Sagna of Sindoola African Band; jazz band 1913; Wisconsin Conservatory of Music Samba Unit; psychedelic blues rock trio The Revelators; and performers from the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee, the UWM Peck School of the Arts, and the Conservatory.

Festivalgoers can hear performances of rock, blues, classical, and jazz as well as music from Central and South America, the Caribbean, Eastern Europe, and Africa. And both Sundays of the festival will be dedicated to “Music for the Spirit,” a showcase of Milwaukee’s community choral traditions, featuring the Alverno College Chamber Ensemble; the Bayshore Lutheran Church choir; Cream City Crooners; Masonic Wonders; and the Milwaukee Children’s Choir, among others. In all, there’ll be over 200 guest musicians and over 200 Conservatory students performing.

A special visual treat for visitors will be one-of-a-kind holiday trees artistically designed and decorated by local artists, with each tree being raffled off at the close of the festival to support the Conservatory's music education outreach efforts. Themes from the artisans for the trees include: Dancing in Someone Else’s Shoes; Sugar Wonderland; MK TreE (showcasing Milwaukee’s culture); and Dreaming of a Green Christmas. Other trees will feature hand-blown glass ornaments; handmade fabric and wooden ornaments; and ornaments made from recycled and new materials.

Milwaukee artists contributing their talent to tree design include: Tami Zwicke; Ashley Gustofson; Melissa Schoechert; Jenni Hoffschulte; Kim Loper; Nicholas Bowers; Kate Bradley and Walker’s Point Center for the Arts; and Tamera Parish Bourne. Joining them will be teams from 91.7 WMSE Radio, the Urban Ecology Center, and the Montessori Society.

Gregory Ruffer, president of the Conservatory, said of the new holiday festival, “We look forward to sharing this spectacular event with the entire community as a highlight of the music school’s fall season. Our historic McIntosh-Goodrich Mansion is the perfect setting for this holiday celebration, especially when it will be filled with gorgeous trees, holiday decorations, and a myriad of musical offerings.”

Hours for the festival will be 5-9 p.m. Monday through Friday, 1-9 p.m. on Saturdays, and 2-7 p.m. Sundays. For daily performance schedules and musical descriptions, call (414) 276-5760 or visit www.wcmusic.org/FestivalSchedule.aspx.

Sponsors of this holiday event include the Brady Street Area Association, the Milwaukee Brewers, Colectivo Coffee, and Data Financial, Inc.

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