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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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.

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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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Musician Sets Aldo Leopold’s Words to Song

More than 60 years after its publication, Aldo Leopold’s A Sand County Almanaccontinues to influence conversations about the relationship between people and the land. It also inspired musician Tim Southwick Johnson, who set many of Leopold’s themes and words to music. Today, Johnson shares his discovery of Leopold.

Tim Southwick Johnson latest album is Sand County Songs

Photo:  Tim Southwick Johnson

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Musician Peter Mulvey at Home in Wisconsin

Folk singer Peter Mulvey loves Wisconsin. The Milwaukee-born singer still calls the city home even as he makes his living performing on stages around the world. Today, Mulvey shares what Wisconsin and regional identity means to him.  

Photo: Peter Mulvey

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Wisconsin’s Maestro, Liberace

Liberace is an American – and Wisconsin – original. Even decades after his death, he still attracts attention and was the subject of a recent movie. Dean Robbins shares the story of the flamboyant entertainer.

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

Photo: Allen Warren

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Duke Ellington in Wisconsin:

Today is the anniversary of the death of musical legend Duke Ellington. The most prolific composer of the 20thcentury, Ellington was a musical innovator throughout his life. Commentator Dean Robbins tells us about a piece Ellington wrote just for us.

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

 

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Dylan Slept Here

What makes an ordinary place extra-ordinary?  Discovering that one of your heroes slept there, maybe.  Commentator Dean Robbins recently stumbled on a little-known piece of music history.

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

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Images from a recent old time barn dance at the O’Brien family farm near Brooklyn, Wisconsin. Photos by Gena Larson Photography. 

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