By the Light of the Moon - January 2016
                   Wisconsin Singers Newsletter                   
Happy New Year! I hope you had a wonderful and fun-filled holiday season. As January comes to a close, the Wisconsin Singers have finished up winter break and are prepared for a successful spring season. The Singers returned mid-month to refresh memories, rehearsing and perfecting their show after a well-deserved semester break. They started their semester with two shows in Hayward, Wisconsin, entertaining this great community for the 19th year in a row and raising more than $12,000. 

We must book at least four more dates on our calendar, so if you have any leads on spring or summer shows, please reach out to our Director, Chris Cayari at  Your help would be most appreciated.  

Hayward is only the first of many locations where the Singers will take to the stage. So, make sure to check out the upcoming show schedule below or on our website and come enjoy "So Classic!"  

I hope 2016 treats you well. The Wisconsin Singers are excited about what this year has to bring.

On Wisconsin,

Jason Chladek

Singers with Diane Hedin in Hayward
Alumni Spotlight: Kurt Chalgren

Kurt was the director of Wisconsin Singers 1972-1973, the same time our Director Emeritus , then Robin Reiter, was a singer/dancer. Looking back at his time with the program, Kurt's  favorite memories center around being with all of the awesome people that were a part of the Singers, including founder, Arlie Mucks, Jr.  He also loved all of the performances (more than 70 each year) and recording sessions.

Kurt graduated with a BA in Music/Voice from the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls, Iowa and received MM in Advanced Choral Conducting from Illinois State University in Normal, Illinois. Following graduation, Kurt taught for two years at Iowa Central Community College and Fort Dodge Senior High School in Fort Dodge, Iowa. After those two years in Iowa, he was hired to teach choral music at Tremper High School in Kenosha, Wisconsin, where "I taught stellar and incredibly talented students for nearly 40 years." During his tenure, a number of Tremper students pursued their education at the University of Wisconsin, including Mac Huff, a Singers alumnus who arranged for Singers dating back to Mac's senior year in high school.

Kurt and his wife are blessed with two children, Kirstin (who was born during Kurt's first On Campus show!) and Derek. They now have four grandsons, Nathan, Jacob, Quentin, and Austin.

Kurt currently finds himself commuting between his home in Kenosha, where his children also live, and his house in Cape Coral, Florida. Being retired, he loves using his free time to explore and experience Florida. Some of Kurt's favorite places include  the dolphin tour on the Sanibel Thriller, the John Ringling estate and art museum in Sarasota, the Myakka River State Park, St. Augustine, and the TPC Golf Course/PGA Headquarters in Ponta Verde. Last year, Kurt drove to see the Singers in Lady Lake, Florida, surprising Robin and cheering on the 14-15 Singers.

Through everything, Kurt will always remember being part of the Wisconsin Singers. "I am forever thankful for the experiences I had and the way the Singers shaped my life."
Cell Discovery at UW Madison

Within the lungs, there are small cells known as pulmonary neuroendocrine cells, or PNECs. Up until this point, their function within live animals has been unknown. However, a team led by University of Wisconsin-Madison medical geneticist, Xin Sun, have made a discovery. They've shown that the uncommon and little-studied cells play a big role in acting like a sensor, linking the pulmonary and central nervous systems to help regulate immune response in reaction to environmental cues. 

The PNECs are now shown to be implicated in a wide range of human lung diseases, including asthma, pulmonary hypertension, cystic fibrosis, and sudden infant death syndrome, and are the only known cells in the airway lining that are are linked to the nervous system. Although the cells make up less than one percent of the cells in the airway epithelium, they are capable of receiving, interpreting, and responding to environmental stimuli, such as allergens or chemicals mixed with the air we breathe. 

Discovering the PNECs and their function may provide new therapeutic avenues for many serious diseases of the pulmonary system. In the future, we may be able to devise ways to regulate the cells and stop diseases before they start.

Upcoming Events
Jan. 30 - Beaver Dam High School - 7:30 p.m.
Feb. 6 - Sheboygan Falls High School - 7 p.m.
Feb. 19 - Waunakee High School - 7 p.m.
Feb. 20 - Roncalli High School, Manitowoc - 7 p.m.
Feb. 21 - Watertown High School - 3 p.m.
Feb. 26 - Janesville Parker High School (tentative) - 7 p.m .

In This Issue

What does a Lighting Designer do?

At this point, we have learned how the singer/dancers and our band takes a show from July camp to Sunday rehearsals to the stage. We have described the specific roles of the Singers' business team. And, we have learned what goes on behind the scenes with the Singers' stage manager. There is another very important person who works behind the scenes - the lighting designer. After all, the show would never be as visually awesome and engaging if it weren't for the hard work of this theater tech. Most of us probably do not know exactly what the lighting designer's duties are for each show. So, here's a breakdown of what keeps our LD so busy.

During pre-season rehearsals:
Before show season begins, the troupe stays busy rehearsing and perfecting the show. During this time, the lighting designer dedicates time to creating a design that will enhance the look of show with specific focus, specials, moving lights and cyc (the backdrop) colors. The LD then presents their design to the Director and together they make the final decisions on the look of the show. These cues get turned into a traveling set of cues as well as an outline for our big On Campus shows where the LD actually gets to pull out all the stops. 

On Site:
The first thing a lighting designer must do when the troupe arrives on site is take stock of what the lighting setup is at that specific venue. They must become familiar with what is available for them to work with and make decisions on how to prioritize what needs to be done - focus, specials, and hanging auxiliary lights are all a part of the things to be considered. This is always a challenge, as every single venue is completely different. Under "normal" circumstances, an LD would have days to hang/focus/program and in our world, this must be done in under 4 hours.

While the Singers are rehearsing and conducting clinics,  the lighting designer must adjust lighting from the catwalk to ensure a full wash for the entire stage. They then move on to programming whatever light board is available. Typically, they will group lights and assign them to various sliders so they can adjust or change the intensity and color of each cue which may vary several times for each and every song. Oftentimes, the LD has to work through dinner to get the job done, grabbing a quick bite to eat on the fly. 

During the show, t he lighting designer is focused on running the lighting board as well as calling cues for whoever is running the spotlight. From "house out" to end of show, the LD is overseeing every aspect of the visual effects and troubleshooting/creating new looks whenever possible.

The Singers' lighting designer plays an invaluable role in enhancing our professional look throughout the year. The hard work and variety of venues that goes along with being a Wisconsin Singers lighting designer makes this a unique and exciting hands-on experience and prepares the LD for going on into theater tech with a wealth of knowledge and skills. 
Wisconsin Singers Spotlight: Erica Tessmann

This month's spotlight is on b-team member, Erica Tessmann. Erica is a senior from Watertown, Wisconsin and in her first year with Wisconsin Singers. She is currently serving as a Public Relations/Marketing Intern. Erica decided to join Singers because she thought it would be awesome to be part of an organization that she has known since high school where she attended many Singers shows, while getting real-world experience before entering the professional field. 

One of her favorite parts of the year was promoting and then watching the On Campus shows. She loved seeing everyone's hard work pay off with how much fun the audiences had. She is really looking forward to the Watertown show, as she remembers the Singers performing there and can't wait to come back to her hometown as part of an organization she applauded while in high school.

Erica is majoring in Life Sciences Communication and plans on working in advertising and marketing following graduation. In her free time, she enjoys reading, doing anything outdoors, playing the piano and guitar, going to the movies, trying new foods and restaurants, and spending time with friends, particularly the new ones she has found as a Wisconsin Singer. An interesting fact about Erica - she met one of her current best friends freshman year, and they later found out that they were born on the same day in the same hospital! Erica is a valuable part of our business team and we're thrilled to have her on our team. 
Contact Us
1320 Humanities Building 
455 N. Park St
Madison, WI 53706


Special thanks to...