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Wisconsin Singers, SWAZZ, to perform on Jan. 26

January 20, 2019

The Wisconsin Singers are taking the stage amid their 51st season at Beaver Dam High School next week, marking their 28th annual appearance in the city.

Beaver Dam High School’s SWAZZ group will provide the opening act for the show, which will be held next Saturday in the school’s auditorium.

Tom Radke, then the high school vocal music director and a Lions Club member, helped to bring the Wisconsin Singers to Beaver Dam in 1992. Music program alum Matthew Breitwisch started with the Wisconsin Singers that year as a freshman at UW-Madison. His dad, John Breitwisch, was the Lions Club publicity chair for the first concert, and has continued that involvement from 2001 to the present. He is the current Lions Club president.

“The Lions Club of Beaver Dam has continued this project over the years as a way of showing its support and appreciation for the music program at Beaver Dam High School, as well as a fundraiser for Lions Club charitable projects,” John Breitwisch said. “Proceeds from the event are split between the Beaver Dam High School Vocal Music Department and the Lions Club, which uses them to support about 30 different charitable projects.”

While here, the Wisconsin Singers also present a workshop for SWAZZ, the BDHS swing choir, and SWAZZ hosts a meal for the performers.

Receipts are limited, in part, by the desire to keep ticket prices low.

“There are considerable expenses to bring the Wisconsin Singers here — for the bus to bring them here and for the group itself,” Breitwisch said. “For those who attend, to pay $16 for a show of this caliber is very inexpensive, but we want as many people as possible to come and enjoy it.”

It is one of the Lions’ top fundraisers, behind the annual fruit sale and White Cane Safety Day, which promotes awareness for blind individuals.

The Wisconsin Singers’ latest program is titled “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now!” The show is a 90-minute revue of top hits of American pop music from the past five decades. The hits include songs from Oscar-winning movies, as well as Grammy and Tony winners.

The singers’ tribute to radio and video stars includes music by Frank Sinatra, Elton John and Petula Clark. Hits from the musical stage include songs from “The Greatest Showman,” “Dear Evan Hansen,” “Hamilton,” “Pitch Perfect 3” and “La La Land.” The classic funk hit, Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition,” is another highlight.

Badgers fans will also enjoy hearing “The Varsity Song,” “Tequila” and “Jump Around.”

SWAZZ is providing the opening act, with a show titled “By the Numbers” featuring songs with numbers in the title. They’ll start off with Chicago’s classic “25 or 6 to 4,” followed by a pair of Beatles titles, “When I’m 64” and “8 Days a Week.” They are followed by Taylor Swift’s “22,” an oldie by the Searchers, “Love Potion Number 9,” and Green Day’s “21 Guns.”

In addition to working hard learning the music, this year SWAZZ also tried their hands — and feet — at choreography. The group was broken up into four sections and each group wrote and taught choreography to the full group. The fifth piece was choreographed by Jessica Lorenz, who also co-directs BDHS’s other a cappella group, Treble Threat.

Community support of the event is overwhelming, according to Breitwisch, who credits many individuals and groups for its ongoing success.

“It takes a lot of work, but I have a lot of great helpers,” he said. “That includes fellow Lions Club and other community members.”

He is also excited about using the recently remodeled BDHS auditorium.

“This is the first time for the Wisconsin Singers to use our improved facility, with all new seats in the theater and a new entrance way,” Breitwisch said. “There’s new parking. Everything is contributing to make it an especially wonderful show this year.”

Tickets for the Wisconsin Singers/SWAZZ show are available for $16 each at Rechek’s Food Pride or Beaver Dam Piggly Wiggly.

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