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October 2019

Artist Profile: Kate Ketelhohn

Kate Ketelhohn, an actor and playwright, finds a sense of belonging and support within the performing arts as she faces battles with her health throughout her life.

As an infant, Kate contracted a Strep A Bacterial Blood infection.

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September 2019

Join us as we celebrate the performing arts with FREE “season sampler” performances!”

Enjoy West Side Story numbers from Milwaukee RepOklahoma! melodies from Skylight Music Theatre and excerpts of The Revolutionists from Next Act Theatre

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August 2019

Performing arts background helps advocate raise funds for UPAF!

As an experienced theater director and arts administrator, Andrew Volkoff understands the support that Greater Milwaukee’s performing arts groups need to be sustainable.

After growing up in Milwaukee and studying theater in college, Andrew moved to NYC to pursue a directing career

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July 2019

The performing arts helped a Marquette law student connect with Milwaukee!

Erik Gustafson served as a UPAF Ambassador when his law firm, Borgelt, Peterson & Frauen, S.C. hosted a Workplace Giving Campaign this spring.

Erik, an associate with the firm, has a strong affinity for the performing arts due to his extensive musical background.

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June 2019

UPAF Connect – a program to provide accessibility to the performing arts

In 2016, UPAF launched UPAF Connect, an outreach program designed to unite Greater Milwaukee around the power of performance through increased accessibility to the performing arts. Through UPAF Connect, UPAF connects the performing arts to new audiences by working with community organizations like Life Navigators.

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May 2019

Meet a UPAF Rider for the Arts supporter: Will Geissel 

Will Geissel has supported the UPAF Ride for the
Arts for seven years; through riding, raising
pledges and volunteering!

As Senior Director of Procurement for Marcus
Hotels & Resorts, Will uses his experience to
help to secure snacks,

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April 2019

From Shy Grade-Schooler to Confident Performer

We first brought you the story of Lily Miller in 2015. Lily was a timid and introverted eight-year-old little girl who told her Mom she wanted to join a choir.

After more than five years of singing with Milwaukee Children’s Choir, Lily not only learned music theory, teamwork and correct singing skills, she gained poise.

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March 2019

For the Ybarras its all about “faith, family, and UPAF.” 

The performing arts have always been important to Ricardo Ybarra and his wife, Alba.

When the couple moved to Milwaukee in 1999 and started their family, they felt extremely “fortunate, pleased and blessed” to find so many opportunities for their children, Bella and Antonis, to be exposed to the performing arts.

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February 2019

Milwaukee Sweethearts in the Arts!

Your gift to UPAF supports countless artists throughout the Greater Milwaukee area. Some of these artists have not only found a career in performing, but also their life partners through involvement in the arts.

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January 2019

“The performing arts round
out a person’s soul.” – Mark Zimmerman‘ 

Mark Zimmerman, vice president, principal and director of business development of Zimmerman Architectural Studios, says that the performing arts have made a big impact on his life.

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December 2018

Milwaukee Ballet’s Sensory-Friendly Performance of The Nutcracker

In recent years Milwaukee Ballet has expanded upon its traditional performances to develop something truly exceptional. For the third consecutive year, Milwaukee Ballet will host a sensory-friendly version of The Nutcracker for children and families with autism, or other sensory processing disorders, and their families.

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November 2018

Donor Profile: Aby Robinson Proves ‘Marcus Has Talent

For as long as she can remember Aby Robinson has loved to sing. As the youngest of four children, Aby grew up watching her parents and siblings set an example for artistic appreciation.

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October 2018

What Your Dollar Does – The Performing Arts Can Heal 

UPAF Member Groups are invested in improving our community’s physical, mental and behavioral health. Read below to learn about just a few of the healing programs that are happening right here in our community!

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September 2018

What Your Dollar Does:  MKE ARTS LIVE! Podcast “Raising the Curtain on the Performing Arts”

Our “Raising the Curtain on the Performing Arts” podcast celebrates the start of the 2018-19 performing arts season and the release of the Shepherd Express’ Fall Arts Guide.

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August 2018

What Your Dollar Does – Skylight’s High School Musical Theatre Summer Workshop 

What do you get when you put 21 high school music theatre enthusiasts together with more than a dozen professional teaching artists for two weeks? “Pure magic,” says Skylight Artistic Director Ray Jivoff.

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July 2018

What Your Dollar Does:  MKE ARTS LIVE! Podcast “Women of Impact”

Our “Women of Impact” MKE ARTS Live! podcast showcases the positive impact women have had, not only on the stage and behind the curtain but also in local Milwaukee business.

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June 2018

What Your Dollar Does: Artist Profile: MYSO’s Impact on Frida Albiter

Frida began playing the viola at ten years old, when a MYSO program came to her elementary school. At that time, 4th and 5th grade students could learn to play a string instrument as part of their music curriculum.

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May 2018

What Your Dollar Does: Florentine Opera Company & SHARP Literacy

Florentine Opera Company’s partnership with SHARP Literacy shares the art of opera with 16,000 students across Southeastern Wisconsin, through 90 performances of their new children’s opera.

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April 2018

What your $ Does April: Max Pink

Your gift to UPAF is helping generations of artists in Greater Milwaukee. Max Pink, son of Milwaukee Ballet Artistic Director, Michael Pink, has built his acting foundation in Milwaukee, and looks forward to pursuing a career in the performing arts.

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March 2018

What your $ Does March: Tom Matthews

You are helping promote the vitality of arts in schools! The arts are not a luxury; they are a crucial component to keeping kids engaged. Arts education would not be possible without your help, and without the help of Tom Matthews, principal of Trowbridge Street Elementary School.

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February 2018

MKE ARTS LIVE! – Podcast #4 Dinner and a Show

The Greater Milwaukee area offers fantastic restaurants and a thriving performing arts scene! It’s easy to find something fun to do on your night out on the town. Read on for some fun ideas.

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January 2018

MKE ARTS LIVE! – Podcast #3
The Art of Art

The arts are big business in Milwaukee and contribute to our economy and quality of life. Studies show that patrons spend time and money where there’s a vibrant arts scene.

Milwaukee’s thriving performing arts scene is a draw to our community.

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December 2017

MKE ARTS LIVE! – Podcast #2
The Impact of Arts Education

What would Milwaukee look like without the arts education programs that benefit our community’s children?
It’s been proven time and again that a young person’s participation in the arts contributes to their future success:  teamwork, creative thinking, problem solving…

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November 2017

MKE ARTS LIVE! – Podcast #1 Discovering Milwaukee

Enjoy the podcast that celebrates what makes Milwaukee a great place to live, work and play.

Milwaukee is a medium-size city that has big-city performing arts, attractions, tourism and community outreach. It has an identity that is welcoming and unique which attracts people to move here from larger cities. It really is the Midwest’s hidden gem.

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October 2017

What Your $ Does – MCT Young Playwrights 

Milwaukee Chamber Theatre hosted their eighth Young Playwrights Festival (YPF) this May. The festival challenges teens from local high schools to create scripts for live theater and to compete for the opportunity to see their work directed and performed at the final showcase.

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September 2017

What Your $ Does – Next Actors

Next Actors, from Next Act Theatre, is a six-week play writing and  performance program offered free-of-charge to a select group of Milwaukee area teens.

Hopeful students audition to join a cast carefully chosen to include talent from as many different cultural, ethnic, racial and economic backgrounds as possible.

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August 2017

What Your $ Does – MYSO

Members of Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra and Music Director Margery Deutsch had the experience of a lifetime as they embarked on a cultural and performance tour of Buenos Aires, Argentina and Montevideo, Uruguay this summer.

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July 2017

What Your $ Does – Bel Canto

Bel Canto Chorus traveled on a 10-day excursion to Germany and the Czech Republic and held two concerts as part of the American Celebration in Music.

The concerts took place in Berlin and Prague and featured performances with local orchestras in some of the most historic churches in Europe.

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June 2017

MSO Bids Farewell to Edo De Waart

Edo de Waart conducted his final three concerts with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra last month. His tenure with the organization has included a highly praised performance at Carnegie Hall, sold out concerts and critical acclaim.

Born in Amsterdam in 1941, De Waart began his musical career at a very young age.

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May 2017

Story of a UPAF Ride for the Arts Supporter!

Nelson López Rojas will be riding in his fifth UPAF Ride for the Arts, sponsored by Miller Lite, on Sunday, June 4. He started riding his bike at the age of four, and hasn’t stopped since.

Born and raised in El Salvador, biking is more than just a hobby for him – it’s been his mode of transportation, a stress-reliever, a social hub and even a form of therapy.

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April 2017

Milwaukee Veterans at The Rep – What Your Dollar Does

During the run of Grounded, a show about an ace fighter pilot whose career changes course after an unexpected pregnancy, Milwaukee Rep partnered with a number of veteran’s organizations to create programming supporting the local veteran community. The program connected veterans with each other, resources and the Greater Milwaukee community as a whole.

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March 2017

Celebrating 50 Years – What Your Dollar Does

UPAF recently kicked off its 50th Anniversary Campaign with a celebration of 50 years of fundraising for the performing arts. As we reflect on this milestone, we are grateful for the five groups that have been with us since 1967 – Bel Canto Chorus, Florentine Opera Company, Milwaukee Repertory Theater, Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra and Skylight Music Theatre.

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February 2017

Celebrate Black History Month

The performing arts have always been about inclusion, a universal language and a way to bring people from completely different backgrounds together. Inclusiveness in the arts has continuously been an important part of Greater Milwaukee, and a vital part of the groups that UPAF supports. This February, we celebrate Black History Month and reflect on the talent that lies in our own community.

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January 2017

MSO’s Yaniv Dinur Makes Music Accessible to Milwaukee

In the fall of 2015, the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra gained a new Assistant Conductor, Israeli native Yaniv Dinur. Born in Jerusalem in 1981, Dinur has performed with orchestras all over the world. He began his conducting career at the age of 19, and was the youngest conductor to ever conduct an orchestra in Israel.
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December 2016

Skylight Music Theatre’s KidsWrites Program

You are making a difference in the lives of hundreds of thousands of children who benefit from UPAF-funded arts education programming!

KidsWrites is a free in-school arts education program that builds confidence, creativity, and a sense of teamwork.

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November 2016

The Florentine Opera Company’s Young Singing Actor Intensive Changes Young Lives

You are making a difference in the lives of nearly 83,000 children who benefit from UPAF-funded arts education programming! Here is just one program where your gift has made an impact.

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October 2016

The Performing Arts Can Heal!

Nearly half of the nation’s healthcare institutions recognize art’s healing powers and provide arts programming for patients, families and staff.

UPAF Member Groups are invested in improving our community’s physical, mental and behavioral health. Read below about just a few of the healing programs that are happening right here in our community!

Read more…

September 2016

Teaching Apprentices Share the Magic of Theater with a New Generation of Artists

For the young adults working as Teaching Apprentices at First Stage’s Theater Academy, acting and performing have given confidence, creativity and purpose to their lives. Now they work to share the gifts bestowed by theater with a new crop of young performers.

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August 2016

Ko-Thi Dance Company Strengthens Roots with Traditional Musical Art and Dance

In our vibrant city of the arts, the uplifting dance and musical forms of the African Diaspora can often go unseen and unheard. DeMar Walker of Ko-Thi Dance Company seeks to change that.

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July 2016

UPAF Connect Changes Lives

The mission of UPAF Connect seeks to give more access to the performing arts among under-served members of our community. In partnership with local non-profits, it brings world-class experiences to the heart of Milwaukee. With just a $25 contribution, you give someone the chance to experience a UPAF Member Group performance.

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June 2016

Congratulations to Danceworks Mad Hot Ballroom and Tap 10th Anniversary

Danceworks Mad Hot Ballroom and Tap is an innovative, educational dance program that provides desperately needed arts and physical education programming to underserved urban youth in low-income central city schools in and around Milwaukee.

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May 2016

Mike Fordney is a top pledge raiser for the UPAF Ride for the Arts, sponsored by MillerLite

The performing arts have always been a part of Mike Fordney’s life. He picked up the French Horn in grade school and continued with the instrument through college.

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April 2016

“We’re All in the Arts Together.” Al Jarreau Voices his Support for UPAF and Arts Education Programs

Al Jarreau, Milwaukee native and multiple Grammy award-winning music artist, recently penned an opinion piece advocating for UPAF and arts education programs.

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March 2016

The Importance of Giving Back: Why the Hupy Family Supports UPAF

Attorney Michael Hupy has been giving back to the Greater Milwaukee area for over 20 years, donating to UPAF and championing the performing arts as an essential part of our community.

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 Ayad Akhtar_What Your Dollar Does_Feb 16
February 2016

The Rep and Playwright Ayad Akhtar Enhance Cultural Understanding

Pulitzer Prize-winning, Pakistani-American and Milwaukee-raised playwright, Ayad Akhtar, continues tackling tough issues with the Milwaukee Repertory Theater’s The Invisible Hand.

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 Milwaukee Ballet 1_What Your Dollar Does_Jan 16
January 2016

Milwaukee Ballet Relevé Program

The Milwaukee Ballet’s community outreach program, Relevé, is on “pointe.”  The  program provides high quality ballet for over 200 students at four Milwaukee Public Schools.

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December 2015

Renaissance Theaterworks’ New York City Adventure

This summer, Renaissance Theaterworks earned an exciting opportunity: to perform in the Samuel French Off Off Broadway (OOB) Festival. The Festival is New York’s oldest, continuous short play festival and has attracted submissions from the U.S. and abroad.

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What Your Dollar Does, November 2015
November 2015

Ann Janikowsky – Why I Care

Music and performance have always been important to Ann, who grew up right here in Milwaukee. She played clarinet in both grade school and high school, working her way up to playing with the renowned University of Wisconsin Marching Band while in college!

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UPAF Member Groups Focus on Health, October 2015
October 2015

UPAF Member Groups Focus on Health

Everyone knows that the performing arts entertain and boost our economy. But did you know the arts also improve our community’s health and wellness? According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the arts can help reduce stress and anxiety, improve well-being, and enhance the way we fight infection.

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MYSO goes to Vienna and Budapest
September 2015

MYSO Travels to Vienna and Budapest

This summer, the Senior Symphony of Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra (MYSO), consisting of 93 of the area’s most talented young musicians, embarked on a performance and educational tour to Vienna, Austria and Budapest, Hungary from June 28 – July 8..

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Ballet, August 2015
August 2015

Grief and the Ballet

Carol had been looking forward to her husband’s retirement for a long time. With their children grown and out of the house, the couple had made plans to travel to all the places they always dreamed of, and to enjoy everything life had to offer. But in a blink of an eye, it all changed…

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NM Choir, July 2015
July 2015

Northwestern Mutual Choir

Northwestern Mutual believes in Greater Milwaukee! The company has been a staunch supporter of the performing arts and UPAF since our inception in 1967. But what many people don’t know is that Northwestern Mutual also actively participates in the performing arts through its company choir.

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Lilly Miller, MCC, June 2015
June 2015

Lilly Miller, Milwaukee Children’s Choir

Lily Miller was a timid and introverted eight-year-old little girl. She enjoyed doing things alone like listening to music and reading. Also, since she was homeschooled, she didn’t really have many opportunities to interact with people. One day, Lily ask ed her mother if she could sing in a choir like her sisters…

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Molly Rhode, May 2015
May 2015

Molly Rhode, Milwaukee Actress

A Conversation with Molly Rhode: actor, teacher, director, choreographer. Throughout her career, Molly has worked for 10 UPAF Member Groups and Affiliates. Read on to see how your donation to UPAF has affected her life and career.

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Andrew Herndon, MYSO, April 2015
April 2015

Andrew Herndon, Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra (MYSO)

When he was just five years old, Andrew Herndon picked up his first trumpet at the Salvation Army, and 13 years later he has yet to put it down. It didn’t matter that he didn’t have his two front teeth back then; he had discovered something that would become his life-long passion: music.

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April 2015

Beck, First Stage Academy Student

Eleven-year-old Beck Lawrence, a 5th grader at Fairview Elementary, has blossomed in Next Steps. “First Stage is where you can be yourself and have fun. You can act, make movies, and do improv. All the classes are fun. They even have a class for kids with autism. That is where I started,”says Beck.

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Frank Almond, MSO, March 2015
March 2015

Frank Almond, Concertmaster, Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra (MSO)

Frank Almond has had an eventful year. Between the theft and successful recovery of the “Lipinski” Stradivarius violin he plays on loan; the violin’s recent 300 th birthday; and a full schedule of rehearsals, solo performances, and concerts; it can safely be said that for Almond, there is never a dull moment.

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Theater Couples, February 2015
February 2015

Married Couples in the Theater

Norman and Carrie. Laura and Jonathan. Tami and Jim. Three Milwaukee theater couples whose love shines on and off the stage. Each has a unique love story, but share similar feelings about what it’s like to make a living in the theater.

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Danielle Bly, Next Gen, January 2015
January 2015

Danielle Bly of We Energies, Next Generation UPAF

For Danielle Bly, a UPAF donor and area professional, the performing arts have played a huge role in her life. She feels that her participation in performing arts has impacted her development and success as a business professional.

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Nutcracker, Ballet, December 2014
December 2014

Nutcracker Dancers, Milwaukee Ballet

Seeing Milwaukee Ballet’s The Nutcracker creates memories that last a lifetime. Just imagine how special those memories will be for 12-year-olds Nadia Dietrich and Claudia Torres, who danced as soldiers in last year’s production.

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Matt Daniels, October 2014
October 2014

Matt Daniels, Milwaukee Actor

It can be a rough road making a living as an actor, musician or dancer. Your donation to UPAF supports our diverse performing arts culture and provides opportunities for skilled individuals, like Matt Daniels.

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May 2014

Josh, Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra (MYSO)

This is the story of how a UPAF Member Group, Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra (MYSO), has impacted a young man’s life.

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