Love Wisconsin? You'll love Wisconsin Life.
It's your place for engaging stories of the people that make Wisconsin feel like home.

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Guitar Maker

Ten years ago, Todd Cambio quit his job as a carpenter to become a luthier, specializing in guitars from the early 20th century that he now sells to musicians worldwide. Seth Jovaag introduces us to the Madison craftsman.

Learn more about Wisconsin’s working people - and hear more from Todd Cambio - on The Working Lives Project from the Wisconsin Humanities Council.

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A Visit To My Temple

Next week marks the two year anniversary of the tragic shooting at the Sikh temple in Oak Creek. Shauna Singh Baldwin tells us about sharing her faith and her temple with a young friend.

Shauna Singh Baldwin is the award-winning author of several novels, including  The Selector of Souls. 

Photo: Sikh Temple of Wisconsin

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Wizard of Waukesha

Les Paul was a musical legend whose pioneering work made the sound of rock and roll possible. In honor of his June 9th birthday, Dean Robbins tells us Paul’s story.

Dean Robbins is the editor of Madison’s alternative weekly, Isthmus.

Photo: Wikimedia

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Watch Wisconsin Life Episode 108

Watch this episode to learn about a collection of people who share their Wisconsin lives, including: UW bee researcher Claudio Gratton, clog dancers Tracy Mullaney and Christi Pfaff , U.S. National Parks Ranger Branda Twaits, costume maker Lois Levanhagen, and international jazz musician Richard Davis.

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Richard Davis

Richard Davis is internationally known as one of the best jazz musicians in the world. What some may not know about Richard is how much of his time he devotes to mentoring up-and-coming artists. Tag along to see how this music legend seeks to inspire Wisconsin youth.

For more on Richard, his students and his peers, check out these web extras:

Hiwot Adilow’s poem, with Richard playing along, shows a student’s capacity to learn and a teacher’s hope for the future.

Following the news that Richard Davis had received the NEA Jazz Master award, his UW performance class drew 3 times the usual numbers.

Born 1930, Chicago, Richard Davis was inspired by Ben Webster’s sax solos in Duke Ellington’s orchestra. 

Taylor Scott (a junior First Wave scholar from Baton Rouge) recites her poem “Freedom” as Richard Davis accompanies her on bass.

Richard Davis introduces a new vocal talent from the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music’s faculty, Jessie Hauck.

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Fine Music

Alzheimer’s Disease takes a physical and emotional toll on patients and their caregivers. In honor of Mother’s Day this weekend, writer Patti See’s shares the music that her mom remembered even when she could no longer remember her.  

Writer Patti See recorded her experiences with Alzheimer’s on her blog, Our Long Goodbye

Photo: Patti See

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A Wisconsin Record Shop Spins On

Every April, people around the world celebrate Record Store Day. The local record store has long been a gathering place for music lovers. But today, these stores often struggle to survive. Producer Scott Gordon went to check out the record market in one Madison store.

Scott Gordon covers music and the arts in Madison for his website, Arts Extract, and has written for The A.V. Club and Isthmus.

Photo: Matt Becker

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Watch Wisconsin Life Episode 104

Meet a collection of people who share their Wisconsin lives. Stories include the Egg Lady of Egg Harbor, a Door County hockey team that plays under water, a UW-Oshkosh professor who won an international award for being the best of the worst, a youth counselor who helps teens gain confidence through nature photography – plus, the man who leads the UW Marching Band.

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Mariachi Strings

When Dinorah Marquez moved to the U.S., she didn’t speak any English and was quite shy and scared.  She eventually found her voice through playing an instrument.  Decades later, Dinorah hopes to give other young students the same experience through Milwaukee’s Latino Arts Strings Program.

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Director of the 5th Quarter

Many people in Wisconsin are familiar with the leader of the popular UW Marching Band, but do they really know what it takes to live a day in the life of Mike Leckrone… a day when he’s hours away from leading the energetic performance of the band?

Watch to find out, then take a closet tour where you’ll find all of Mike’s costumes - old and new. 

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On a Traditional Note

Dinorah Marquez is the director of Milwaukee’s Latino Arts Strings Program.  As a young girl, she grew up on the south side of the U.S.-Mexico border.  When Dinorah moved to the U.S. she didn’t speak any English and was quite shy and scared.  She eventually found her voice through playing an instrument.  Decades later, Dinorah hopes to give other young students the same experience.

After viewing the segment, check out this extended clip featuring the group perform at the Wisconsin State Capitol for the annual MLK Day Celebration. 

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For Whom The Bell Tolls

Meet Lyle Anderson, who is the official carillonneur for the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  The UW carillon is an instrument that features 56 cast bronze cup-shaped bells.  Anderson has played the instrument for thirty some years – and is now the “man in the bell tower” on the UW campus.

Lyl became something of an internet sensation during the summer of 2013…find out how his interpretation of a popular theme song went viral.

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Remembering Otis Redding

Forty-six years ago, Otis Redding lost his life in Madison. Few events loom as large in city lore. Writer Dean Robbins shares how Redding touched his life.Dean Robbins is the editor of Madison’s alternative weekly, Isthmus

Photo: Billboard, page 7, 7 January 1967

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Musician Celebrates Yiddish Music Tradition

Music is a cornerstone of Jewish culture, especially during holidays and festivals. Milwaukee musician Lil’ Rev grew up in a musical family, steeped in his family’s Yiddish folk music tradition. He travels the country sharing his love of music, history, and his Yiddish heritage. 

Photo: Lil Rev 

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Singing and Dancing Through La Crosse with Peaches

In a city that lacks celebrities and diversity, someone like Peaches stands out. She’s best known for singing and dancing all over La Crosse in incredibly bright outfits. WPR’s Maureen McCollum spent a morning walking around with Peaches, and although she’s surrounded in mystique and rumors, she shakes off the negativity by just being herself. 

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