Blog Archives

Vintage Mix – The Road To Germany

The Waukesha Civic Theatre is thrilled to welcome Vintage Mix to our stage!

 Vintage Mix is a mixed quartet of 16-year-old quadruplets that enjoy singing Barbershop, A Cappella, Standards, Show Tunes, Hymns, and Jazz selections. They are the 2016 and 2017 Wisconsin State High School Quartet Champions and have recently qualified as one of only two quartets to represent the US in a World Mixed Quartet competition in Munich, Germany this spring. You can support their journey here.

Over the past two and a half years, Vintage Mix has had many opportunities to perform both locally and nationally: Pittsburgh for the 2015 International Barbershop Convention; Reno for the 2016 Mid-Winter Convention; San Antonio for the 2017 Mid-Winter Convention; on the USS Milwaukee; Navy Pier for the Chicago Toy and Game Fair; WoodSongs Old-Time Radio Hour in Lexington, Kentucky; the Cannery Ballroom; the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville; and the nationally syndicated news show Fox & Friends out of New York. Most recently, they performed the National Anthem at Lambeau Field for the 2017 Green Bay Packers Family Night.

Vintage Mix has been recording since 2016. They have three singles available and an EP that released January 1, 2018. They are juniors at Waukesha West High School where they sing with the Concert Choir and the Master Singers. Although they have been singing for just a short time, we are sure you will enjoy this young, talented quartet.

Opening for Vintage Mix is the Easy Days Barbershop Quartet. They are all members of The Midwest Vocal Express (MVE), a championship Barbershop Chorus from Greendale, WI. Easy Days competes as a Seniors quartet in the Barbershop Harmony Society contests, and has placed in the Top 10 in both the Illinois and L.O.L District contests. They are the 2009 Land O’ Lakes District Seniors Champions.

Enjoyed by audiences of all ages, Easy Days has established a reputation as a good singing, entertaining, full-of-fun quartet. Easy Days performs a fast paced, 45 minute floor show featuring a repertoire filled with familiar songs of the 30s and 40s, arranged to please audiences of all ages. Audiences appreciate Easy Days’ breezy banter and style which sets them apart from other a capella performers.

We look forward to seeing you on Saturday, February 3, 2018, at 1:00 pm! Tickets are $20 and can be purchased by phone at 262-547-0708, online, or in person at the box office.


I Blame Katie

Hot Damn GroupThe existence of Hot Damn! is all Katie’s fault.

If you don’t know her, Katie Danner is the ultra-talented Box Office Supervisor and Marketing Director at Waukesha Civic Theater (WCT). She’s the mother to Byron; wife to Jonathan.

Most importantly (at least as far as this story goes), Katie was the author of an e-mail which went out in May of 2012, asking any local musicians if they wanted to help publicize WCT’s upcoming season by playing at the Waukesha Farmer’s Market.
That tiny bit of encouragement was all I needed. I am primarily a “pit” musician, playing for musical theater productions throughout Milwaukee. I’ve been meaning for a while to get back into a band, but my pit work keeps me pretty darn busy (and happy), so the “band” thing was pretty much always on hold.

Until Katie’s e-mail.

When I got the e-mail, I had just finished playing in a production of Aida. My friends Jay Kummer, Maddie Dietrich, and Brian Carter were in the Aida pit as well, and I had said some random thing about how much fun it would be to get together and jam. Which wouldn’t have happened, except that Katie’s e-mail gave us a reason to do it.
So I told Katie sure, I could pull something together.

“In a couple of weeks?” Katie asked sweetly.

Um… sure, okay, why not? So, with barely time for a rehearsal, and with about one hour of music, Jay, Maddie and I made our debut.
Katie liked us well enough, or was desperate enough, that she asked us to come back again, and we did, this time with Brian joining us on percussion.

We quickly settled on a few things – music pretty much from the jazz standards, but with some songs from western swing, gypsy jazz, and blues. Instruments would be guitar and uke (Jay); mandolin, bass, or fiddle (Maddie); mandolin, guitar, or bass (me); a whole bunch of percussion toys (Brian). Vocals would be – very few!

The name came around pretty quickly, too. There are several things about “Hot Damn” that I liked. First, even though it’s not exactly a common saying anymore, I used it a lot. Second, the “Hot” makes a bit of a link with the “Hot Club of France”, Django Reinhardt, and the whole gypsy jazz world. Third, “Hot Damn” was a popular American saying in the 20’s and 30’s, which is when much of the music we play was written. It just seemed like the obvious fit!

The band has gone through a few personnel changes, as Maddie finished her Master’s degree and planned for a move out of town. Early this summer we added Linda and Jeff Binder, who are cohorts of mine from the Milwaukee Mandolin Orchestra, and just recently we added Tim Dondlinger on bass.

I like to think of us as playing melodic and recognizable jazz standards. We have an easy-going style, with a lot of variety in the instrumentation and sound, and we have a lot of fun playing gorgeous songs. We even throw in a few vocals now.
We’ve played several venues, but we keep coming back to WCT in one form or another – at the Farmer’s Market several Saturdays during the summer, or at Friday Night Live three times this past summer. In all cases, we’re playing in front of either WCT’s front door or back door – and usually Katie is there to say hi and give us a big hug.

So, come on out to hear the band sometime, or check out our website . If you like our music, please tell your friends and help spread the word about us.

If you don’t, just blame Katie.

~Fred Pike