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December 14, 2015
by: Ted Hamm

Simply, Thank You

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Dear Families, Students, Staff, Supporters, and Friends

At this point, The Avett Brothers show on November 9th is a distant memory, however, this does not preclude me finally writing a wrap up blog.

My first priority is to thank everyone involved: Dave Bernstein who was the driving force behind getting this going; Hannah Tousey for speaking to eloquently about her father and her experience in our schools; the Tousey family for their support in matching the Avett Brothers with our school; the Weill Center and Kim Meller for hosting this event; The Avett Brothers for taking a chance on Sheboygan and playing a set that included their entire album “Emotionalism” (a personal favorite of mine); our staff and students for making a school that continues to grow both in size and in quality of learning. Lastly I want to thank all who attended or helped spread the word. With all of your efforts, we raised over $45,000.

This concert was particularly special for me. One of the last shows I saw with Troy was the Avett Brothers at the Riverside. Troy played many roles within our school from founding parent, to founding board member, to designer of most everything Étude Group related. I spent many hours working on the school with Troy; the concerts provided a nice time away from the school related issues. Much of the time traveling to and from the shows in Milwaukee was spent talking about how to grow the music scene in Sheboygan. To be able to bring the Avett Brothers to Sheboygan in support of the schools, was a beautiful culmination of all of those talks.

Furthermore, the funds raised will provide the foundation for two initiatives within the Étude Group. The money will provide the means to grow our Expanding Horizons program. This program is an equalizer for our students. It ensures all students, regardless of socio-economic status, have access to programming that enriches their learning beyond what a typical school budget can do. Examples of this type of programming are: college visits that help all IDEAS Academy students attend at least 5 different colleges prior to making a decision; scholarships for international travel such as our service trip to Nicaragua last summer; access to artists through our artist-in-residence program, which brought Mark Denning to our 2nd and 3rd grade classrooms as they studied native cultures in Wisconsin. These funds will help us to expand these programs to offer scholarships to summer camps at colleges, as well as to expand our artist-in-residence program to include designers and engineers.

These funds will also expand our ability to continue the Étude Sessions. It is ultimately our goal to bring in two major acts a year to the Weill Center while still bringing regional acts to Paradigm. The Étude Sessions was founded as a means to raise funds for the students in our schools, while enriching the music scene in Sheboygan. Essentially, we want to give back to our community in two ways. Enrich the youth of the community, and expand the social life within Sheboygan. We have Hayward Williams on December 18th and for the first time we are bringing jazz to the Étude Sessions with the Dave Stoler Quartet on January 15th. We will be making a series of big announcements over the next few weeks including a major concert announcement for spring.

The Avett Brothers concert was the first major concert we put on. It was a success in every way possible. We cannot thank our supporters enough for helping to make that happen.

With Gratitude,

Ted Hamm

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