Waterford’s Nate Schmidt will perform with the Kids from Wisconsin Monday at Waterford Union High School.

Kids from Wisconsin show is slated for Monday

By Alex Johnson

Correspondent

Described as the “high energy, can’t miss musical performance of the year,” the Kids from Wisconsin are celebrating their 50th anniversary tour with 60 performances in 30 different locations.

The troupe is scheduled to perform at the Waterford Union High School auditorium on Monday, July 23, at 7 p.m.

Among the 22 singers and dancers, and 14 band members are Nate Schmidt, 18, 2018 Waterford graduate and lead trumpeter, and Braden Gere, 18, from Salem Lakes, a 2018 Westosha Central graduate. This will be the lone “hometown” show for both.

“There is just so much talent this year, and with all of us just so into (the performance), it makes the whole summer amazing,” said Gere who sings and dances in the show.

Kids from Wisconsin Choreographer and Outreach Coordinator Peggy Strimple said the non-profit program lives to highlight Wisconsin youth as “good ambassadors of the state.”

Choosing Wisconsin youth from the ages of 15 to 20, Kids from Wisconsin is a musical performance group and tour that performs in hometowns of the various members of that year’s troupe. The Kids also perform a weeklong stint at the Wisconsin State Fair.

Strimple said the selected members for the year “commit to a 17-day training camp” at the beginning of June where the members learn new choreographed dances, musical numbers, and other performance aspects.

“Meeting all the fantastic people and the musicians is my favorite part,” Schmidt said.

Gere added that although the “8 a.m. to 11 p.m. rehearsals are very intense,” learning the new routine for the year is “very rewarding.”

The secondary aspect to Kids from Wisconsin is outreach to local communities and young children with the goal of showing them the arts and music in a new way.

“There is a free outreach program where we invite youth from the community for workshops, because a lot of communities are losing art programs” Strimple said.

Schmidt said one of the most satisfying moments of the whole experience is “giving the children the drive to go after their dreams (and) showing them if they put in the work they can make it happen.”

The outreach programs display the various facets of the arts, including music, dance and performance.

The Waterford “Realize Your Dreams” workshop will be held at Waterford Union High School from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. for kids ages 7 to 14.

Strimple said the credit for planning and organizing each performance, including set-up, sound checks and takedown, goes to the youth members of the group like Gere and Schmidt.

“The show is kid-led and leadership driven,” she said.

Thinking about her own time in the program until now, Strimple said that many of the performers go into musical performance and the performing arts, and that “they all learn life skills over the summer.”

Regarding his upcoming performance in Waterford on Monday, Schmidt said he is excited to show his hometown the show.

“I can’t wait to show everyone, especially my friends, what I have doing and working on this summer,” he said.

Tickets for the Kids from Wisconsin performance in Waterford are $15 and can be purchased at the door or at waterforduhs.ludus.com.

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