A Century of Civic Music

The organization celebrates one hundred years.

For 100 years, Civic Music has provided music education and performance opportunities for passionate young artists – more than 95 percent of them 18 or younger.

Civic Music aims to nurture a lifelong passion for music-making, says Nancy Herro, the organization’s executive director. “Maybe they won’t go on to be professional musicians, but we want to ensure they will become music lovers,” she says.

And some of its students do go on to pursue careers in music.

Emily Pogorelc is an aspiring opera singer who applied for a Civic scholarship in 2014, when she was a high school senior. She won the competition and used the money to help fund her studies at the Curtis School of Music in Philadelphia. After graduating in 2018, she joined the Lyric Opera of Chicago’s professional artist development program. “Preparing for Civic’s competition helped me [prepare] for what I would need to do in the future,” she says.

Doc Severinsen, circa 1974

Malik Johnson (pictured above) started taking cello lessons through Civic when he was in fifth grade. He improved so much that, in high school, Civic asked him to play for, and help coach, the younger kids. “That was the highlight of my professional career,” Johnson says. He now attends DePaul University and wants to give back to African-American kids in Milwaukee when he graduates. “I knew the kids were inspired seeing someone the same color as them and I want to continue to show them that we can do well in life.

On Nov. 4, Civic is hosting a Centennial Celebration Gala at the Marcus Center. Award recipients will be honored and special guests – such as 91-year-old jazz trumpeter Doc Severinsen – will perform. To purchase tickets ($100 for individuals), visit civicmusicmilwaukee.org.

“A Century of Civic Music” appears in the November 2018 issue of Milwaukee Magazine.

Buy a copy at milwaukeemag.com/shop or find the October issue on newsstands, starting Oct. 29.

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