Author: Sara Rezin

Academy Notes – March 2014

On this first day of spring, I invite you to attend our first round of spring concerts and events!

  • This Saturday, March 22nd, at 3:00 pm, will feature our Academy String Orchestra (ASTRO) and Lawrence Adult Music Programs (LAMP) Orchestra in a concert at the Chapel.  Tickets are $8 and are available online or at the Box Office on the day of the concert.   For youth interested in joining ASTRO, auditions take place on Sunday, April 27th.  Adults interested in joining, or learning more about, the LAMP Orchestra next fall should fill out an online interest form.
  • This Saturday, March 22nd, at 7:00 pm, we will feature our Academy Symphonic Band and Wind Ensemble in a concert at the Chapel.  Tickets are $8 and are available online or at the Box Office on the day of the concert.   For those interested in joining Wind Ensemble, auditions are being scheduled right now; contact the office immediately if you don’t want to miss out!  Symphonic Band is open to students with one year or more of experience on a wind or percussion instrument; no audition is required.
  • Next Saturday, March 29th, at 2:00 pm and 7:00 pm, our Girl Choirs will feature “A Sampler in Song,” featuring sets of music that are stitched together with ideas inspired by quilt blocks.  Please join us to hear seven choirs and see a variety of beautiful, hand-made quilts on display.  Tickets are $8 for students/seniors and $12/adults; they are available online or at the Box Office the day of the concert.  Girl choir auditions will take place in April; interested girls new to the program are encouraged to register for an audition as soon as possible.
  • Next Saturday, March 29th, at approximately 8:30 pm, we will draw the winning tickets for this year’s raffle!  The drawing will take place at the conclusion of the 7:00 pm girl choir concert and will be webcast live.  Listen for your name – perhaps you will be the winner of a $1,000 vacation voucher, $700 Academy of Music tuition credit, $250 Express gasoline card, or 2 tickets to see the Milwaukee Brewers!  If you haven’t purchased your ticket, contact the Academy office or purchase one from your favorite Academy student!  Each ticket is only $5.  We are grateful to Appleton Group Wealth Management, U.S. Venture, Inc., Burkhalter Travel, and the Milwaukee Brewers for sponsoring the raffle.
  • The Boldt Challenge, wherein donations of $100 or more will be matched, up to $5,000, is underway for one more week!  If you have not yet had the opportunity to make a donation to the Academy’s tutti! fund, which supports tuition assistance, teacher development, and program costs, please do so today.  The deadline for the Boldt Challenge is 4:00 pm Friday, March 28th.
  • If you are enrolled in private lessons, please be sure to double-check with your teacher in regard to his or her spring break schedule.  The Academy offices will have reduced hours the week of March 31st and will be closed all day on Wednesday, April 2nd.
  • If you are interested in what our alumni are up to, you have the opportunity to see a few of them in performance with the Luther College Symphony Orchestra this Saturday at 7 pm at Appleton North High School.  A freewill donation will be collected.

Enjoy this springtime concert season,
Karen Bruno, director
Lawrence Academy of Music

Spirited Songs Airing in June on WPT

Wisconsin Public Television (WPT) will feature the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center 10th-Anniversary concert, Spirited Songs: A Choral Celebration in several broadcasts in June. The concert, recorded in February, showcases performances by the Appleton-area’s leading choral organizations — the Lawrence Academy Girl Choir, the Appleton Boychoir, and the White Heron Chorale — as well as combo performances and a finale of all 260 voices on stage with an audience sing-along.

The Bel Canto and Allegretto choirs of the Girl Choir program participated in the choral extravaganza. “As WPT shines a spotlight on our programs and programs like ours in other communities, it celebrates the ways in which the arts remain a vital part of our human experience,” says Karen Bruno, conductor of Bel Canto, artistic director of the Girl Choir program, and director of the Academy of Music.

WPT also will provide songs, not included in the broadcast, and interviews with some of the young choir members at on the Web.

Spirited Songs: A Choral Celebration is part of WPT’s multiyear Young Performers Initiative that celebrates Wisconsin’s young artists.



On air

8 p.m. June 3, WPT

4 p.m. June 8, WPT

9 p.m. June 26, Wisconsin Channel

12 a.m. June 27, Wisconsin Channel

12 p.m. June 29, Wisconsin Channel



Streamed live at:

9 p.m. June 26

12 a.m. June 27

12 p.m. June 29


Visit for special web extras not seen in the broadcast.

WMTA Badger Auditions

Several Academy students participated in the WMTA State Badger Auditions on May 18, 2013. Congratulations to winners at the event including Alicia Zhang, Colin Mayo, Brian Zhou, Charles Wu, Marc Padilla and Christina Hanson, and runners-up Reagan Blohowiak and Grace Flaherty, all from the studio of Larisa Topolkaraeva. Receiving an Honorable Mention were Katherine Jeng, Philip Buchman and Pierce Blohowiak from Ms. Topolkaraeva’s studio and Payton Fors from the studio of Catherine Walby.

The winners and runners-up performed on the winners recital held at the end of the day.

Piano Masterclass with Maggie Charnon

Maggie Charnon, Green Bay piano instructor and clinician, held a master class with Lawrence Academy of Music students on Friday, May 3 at Harper Hall of the Lawrence Conservatory. Participating students Christopher Le Doux, Gabriel Smith,  Alicia Zhang, Gabrielle Medema, Tracy Wang,  Leyna Hahnke, and Colin Mayo were from the studios of Nell Buchman, Anna Reiser, Michael Rivers, Larisa Topolkaraeva, and Catherine Walby.


Piano Festival 2013

Over 140 students participated in the Lawrence Academy of Music Piano Festival on April 20, 2013.  Following performance auditions and theory tests, the winners were chosen to perform in Harper Hall at Lawrence University this Sunday, April 28 at 1 p.m.  Congratulations to these young people and their teachers for their outstanding effort!

Grades K-1 Winner
Caroline Jia

Grades K-1 Honorable Mention
Audra Jenike

Grades 2-3 Winners
Angelina Wang
Mateo Timm

Grades 2-3 Honorable Mentions
Jordan Powers
Liam Richards
Aditya Senthil

Grades 4-5 Winners
Asha Keck
Colin Mayo
Emily Hauer

Grades 4-5 Honorable Mentions
Leyna Hahnke
Karina Mose
Krithika Senthil
Gabriel Smith
Kaden Van De Loo

Grades 6-7 Winners
Kaylann Adler
Pierce Blohowiak

Grades 6-7 Honorable Mentions
Reagan Blohowiak
Kristina Jeng
Brian Zhou

Grades 8-9 Winners
Marc Padilla
Liam Mayo

Grades 8-9 Honorable Mentions
Evans Chen
Payton Fors
Daria Van De Loo
Charles Wu

Grades 10-11-12 Winners
Frankie Beach
Brandon Li

Grades 10-11-12 Honorable Mentions
Vanessa Beach
Grace Flaherty

Spring Concert Weekend

Had enough of Wisconsin’s never-ending winter weather? Venture out this weekend and attend an Academy concert in the warmth of the Lawrence Memorial Chapel!

The Academy will present four concerts this weekend.  Saturday’s concerts include the Academy String Orchestra (ASTRO) and the LAMP orchestra at 3 p.m., and the Symphonic Band and Wind Ensemble, at 7 p.m.  Sunday the Girl Choir program presents their spring concert Here’s to Song at 2 and 7 p.m.

ASTRO, an ensemble of fifth through eighth grade string students directed by Janet Bond Sutter, will perform a variety of pieces from the traditional Swing Low, Sweet Chariot, to Beethoven’s Allegretto from Symphony No. 7. The adult level LAMP orchestra, under the direction of Rachel Richards, will present a variety of folk songs and dances. Both orchestras join in a fiddling finale, Fiddles on Fire by Mark Williams.

The middle school level Symphonic Band directed by David Hamilton performs Tichelli’s Cajun Folk Songs and Copeland’s Down A Country Lane. Michael Ross, director of the Wind Ensemble, will lead the high school level ensemble in a series of dances, including Shostakovich’s Folk Dances, Danzon No. 2 by Marquez, and Part 1 of Alfred Reed’s Armenian Dances. The ensembles join on stage in Harold Walter’s  lively Instant Concert, a compilation of 30 separate well-known melodies from symphonies, operas, folk songs, spirituals, marches…all in the space of three minutes.

Sunday’s final concert of the Girl Choir season features 330 girls in six choirs, grades 3-12, who will perform music celebrating the joys of singing. Conductors of the program include Karrie Been, Karen Bruno, Amber Evey Schmidt, Patty Merrifield, Cheryl Meyer, and Debbie Lind.

Tickets for all weekend concerts are available at the Lawrence box office, 920-832-6749.

Purchase an Autographed Donald Driver Jersey and Support the Academy

You may remember an autographed Green Bay Packer Donald Driver jersey was part of the tutti! festivities earlier this month. Well, believe it or not, we recently received another!

A  generous donor has given the Academy an autographed Green Bay Packer Donald Driver football jersey, and we would like to make it available to Academy friends and families.
We will be holding a 5-day e-mail auction, awarding the jersey to the top bidder this Friday, March 1, at noon.  All proceeds will benefit Academy programs and the tutti scholarship fund.

Jersey Details:
Donald Driver, the Packers all-time leading receiver, and 2012 winner of “Dancing with the Stars,” hand signed this Green Bay Packer jersey in black marker, along with #80 and “Go Pack Go.” The unframed jersey is green, size large.

How to win:

  • Minimum opening bid is $150.
  • If you are interested in bidding on the jersey, send an e-mail to with your opening bid by Wednesday, February 27 at 8 a.m.  Include your name, phone number, e-mail address and bid.
  • Anyone who places a bid by Wednesday 8 a.m. will be included in any follow-up e-mail bidding notifications. The only information that will be sent to participating bidders is the current top bid amount. Your name and contact information will not be shared.
  • We will send notification of the top opening bid to everyone who placed an opening bid.
  • After notification of the top opening bid, you may continue to place bids via e-mail through Friday at noon. We will copy anyone who is in the bidding for the jersey when we receive additional bids.
  • Bidding will close at noon on Friday, March 1 at noon.

Winning bidder may purchase the jersey with cash, credit card or check payable to Lawrence Academy of Music.

Making Time for Tutti!

Tutti. I’m a word geek and I just love this one. For those of us who are not musicians, it means: all voices working together.  I love it when the sounds of words echo their meaning. Just say it! The word bounces with excitement. Now, say it again. Doesn’t it also whisper with a warm sense of sharing? This word probably speaks to me because three years ago our family experienced this creativity and sharing when it was not expected.

A frigid February evening had settled in quickly and it was dark around five, but the weather outside the Warch Center at Lawrence was in sharp contrast to the energy and warmth inside. At one end of this complex, overlooking the river, thirty to forty 11-18 year olds were gathered to share their music with each other and their assembled audience. They were united by quiet pride in their ability and a palpable sense of excitement. Among them was my daughter, who had been asked to perform. That evening, she was nervous. She wanted to help teachers she cared about: she wanted to give back to a community that had inspired her and nurtured her. As my husband and I watched, we saw teachers, and students, encourage, guide and support each other. We watched young people glow in a sense of achievement and enjoyment. We saw poise, pride and a sense of self –worth. We were a small family of four but in that room we knew we had a much bigger unit supporting us in values we held dear: a love of the arts, a belief in self –realization, and deep desire to share these possibilities with the rest of the community. The event was Tutti; the purpose, to raise money for scholarships through combined creativity.

The huge irony was we would not have even considered attending if Claire had not been asked to sing.  With this opportunity came the gift of reduced tickets. We didn’t have a lot to give in a monetary sense and we thought that ruled us out.  However, that night, as these young people performed, we realized that we gave by sharing our talents, talents nurtured by the very place that we wanted to support and, in giving, we grew as individuals and a family.

We were not the only ones that had discovered this. The audience was mixed and many of the Academy’s strongest supporters were not there in person; instead they were represented through the beautiful baskets at the opposite end of the room. People had given talents as well as items. There was a baby-sitting basket, from  Bel Canto girls offering time and company; there were music lessons donated by teachers, and there was a beautiful basket of handmade cards for all occasions. That night my family had an important lesson reinforced; we all have something to offer.

This year my husband and I are both volunteering our time. As a family, we have created a bread- making basket. Each of us has helped with the cooking (and sampling!). Already, we have had fun on a limited budget and we’ve had a chance to be creative. On the night, it will be a desire to help, and a sense of what we have to offer that will be most important. We really want to share this evening with as many of you as we can, so please join us.

  • Can you volunteer on the night? If so please call on 832 6632 and talk to Cheryl or Sara about possibilities.
  •  Donate just a small item to a studio or an ensemble.
  • Be creative! Give of your talents and design a basket to represent these.

This is more about the size of your heart and imagination than the size of your donation. When our family came to Appleton, we recognized the Academy offered us a creative and generous home, and that is why we stayed. Please join us so we can share the magic that happens when all voices are working together.

By Anne Powling

Girl Choir to sing at Fox Cities PAC in Spirited Songs

In honor of the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center’s 10th Anniversary, voices of all ages will join together onstage to present an  an unprecedented salute to the human voice in Spirited Songs: A Celebration of Choral Music.
The concert will feature the Appleton Boychoir, the Bel Canto and Allegretto choirs of the Lawrence Academy Girl Choir, and the White Heron Chorale in a rare ensemble performance. Spirited Songs highlights the best of each group and combines their talents for a spectacular choral event. Tickets for the concert, to be held Saturday, February 9 at 7:00 p.m. at the Fox Cities PAC, are available through Center’s ticket office or by calling (920) 730-3760. Please mention “Girl Choir” when purchasing tickets so the Academy will receive credit for your ticket purchase.