2024 Let The Music Play Grants Awarded

Posted: Feb 23, 2024

Supporting Music Education in Milwaukee County
Pressing Play on the Next Generation of Milwaukee Artists

MILWAUKEE, WI (February 20, 2024) – Summerfest and American Family Insurance are excited to announce the recipients of the sixth annual Let The Music Play grants. The program awards funding to Milwaukee County non-profits and schools to further their mission, goals, and programming related to music-education programs and curriculum.  

The recipients represent a wide variety of music disciplines, including band, jazz, general music, and dance programs.  The grants will be used for purposes ranging from hosting workshop experiences with professional musicians to the purchase of new instruments and equipment. 

“We are thrilled that Let The Music Play continues to support the great work that educators are doing to foster musical talent in Milwaukee’s youth. Through this program, our mission to showcase the performing arts extends beyond the festival season, impacting future musicians and performers,” said Sarah Pancheri, President and Chief Executive Officer, Milwaukee World Festival, Inc.

“We’re proud to partner with Summerfest as its presenting sponsor, and we also want our impact to extend beyond those gates,” said Sherina Smith, American Family Insurance Group chief marketing officer. “American Family is committed to our mission to inspire, protect and restore dreams. That means making strong connections in the communities we serve and call home and supporting programs like ‘Let The Music Play’ allow us to honor that commitment in a meaningful way. We’re pleased that – under our roof – we can help inspire the dreams of these young and talented artists.”

The 2024 Let The Music Play Grant Program recipients include: 

Alcott School – the grant will support the purchase of new percussion equipment and music to launch the school’s newest band program and allow students to participate in Wisconsin School Music Association Solo & Ensemble events.  

Bayview Montessori School – the grant will support the purchase of three rolling music staff whiteboards for use in music-education classrooms serving over 300 K-8th students encompassing general music instruction, piano, and string orchestra programs.  

Bella Gail Foundation – the grant will support the addition of 440 square feet of dance floor matting to be used within the foundation’s dance program and to further the mission of connecting youth in under-served communities to the arts.  

Milwaukee Parkside School for the Arts – funds will support the improvement of the Piano Lab including essentials like piano benches with storage and the addition of electric piano programming to provide customized lessons and feedback for each student. 

Neeskara Elementary – grant money will support professional musician residency with Manas Itene, drummer and singer with artist Michael Franti and Spearhead. Over the course of the experience, students will work collaboratively with Itene, and workshop special performances for the school’s Black History Month Program with 3rd grade and deaf and hard of hearing students. 

School District of South Milwaukee – funds will develop a curriculum that goes beyond the traditional model of music education and expand hands-on adaptive programming, as well as the purchase of world music equipment such as bongos, buffalo drums, tubanos, ukuleles, and xylophones.  

Arts @ Large – the grant will support the purchase of new instruments, related supplies, and instrument repair costs relating to the five-week Summer Camp program where students can learn piano, songwriting, guitar, drumming, and voice from local professional artists in a diverse and equitable environment.  

Milwaukee Jazz Orchestra – grant funds will support the Orchestra’s clinician programs coordinated with area middle and high school level jazz band programs to prepare and perform an arrangement. 

Since its inception, the Let The Music Grant program has supported nearly 50 organizations and thousands of students. For more information visit Summerfest.com

About Summerfest presented by American Family Insurance 
Summerfest presented by American Family Insurance is one of the most iconic celebrations of music in America, hosting the industry’s biggest acts for an unforgettable live music experience.  Since its inception in 1968, Summerfest continues to distinguish itself as a premier national music festival and has developed an unrivaled reputation, consistently featuring hundreds of performances across 12 stages, throughout the 75-acre festival grounds along Lake Michigan. Summerfest 2024 will take place over three weekends - June 20-22, June 27-29, and July 4-6.  For the latest information, visit Summerfest.com, or Facebook, X, Instagram and TikTok: @Summerfest. 

Milwaukee World Festival, Inc., producer of Summerfest, continues to fulfill its nonprofit mission of bringing the community together and providing a showcase for performing arts, activities, and recreation to the public, through music and special events. 

About the American Family Insurance Group
Based in Madison, Wisconsin, American Family Insurance has been serving customers since 1927. We inspire, protect and restore dreams through our insurance products, exceptional service from our agency owners and employees, community investment and creative partnerships to address societal challenges. We act on our belief in diversity and inclusion by constantly evolving to meet customer needs and preferences. American Family Insurance group is the nation’s 12th-largest property/casualty insurance group, ranking No. 301 on the Fortune 500 list. The group sells American Family-brand products, primarily through exclusive agency owners in 19 states. The American Family Insurance Group also includes CONNECT, powered by American Family Insurance, The GeneralHomesite and Main Street America Insurance. Across these companies the group has nearly 13,000 employees nationwide.

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