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keynote speaker on creativity

Students from Milwaukee Interview Angie for School Project on Paramount Records

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The students titled their video project,

Paramount Records:  The Key to Understanding Black History and the Foundation of American Music

Contact music educator angie@ozaukeetalent.com

Students from Milwaukee Interview Angie for School Project on Paramount Records

More links of interest:

Embracing the Legacy of the Blues

Angie is a lifetime arts advocate and leader with proven and documented success who is looking for benefactors to help her keep launching forward.  Contact angie@ozaukeetalent.com

Some of the podcasts, television appearances, radio interviews, articles and videos that feature Angie and her work:

 

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Blues Research music history Paramount Records public speaker

Angie on TMJ4 Segment, “Paramount Records’ history in Ozaukee County”

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Insight From a Musical Theater Producer: Perspective

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https://angiemackreilly.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/Musical_theater_producer2.wav
Real life lessons from the world of theater
— Creative Audio Lectures with arts educator Angie Mack Reilly
“Depending on the Size of the Curtain”. Photo by Angie Mack Reilly. More….
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Blues Research event planner Female Entrepreneur music history Paramount Records Public Art public speaker

Michael “Hawkeye” Herman Recounts Music Advocacy Efforts in Grafton, WI

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by Michael “Hawkeye” Herman Dec. 5, 2020

As an internationally recognized/touring blues musician/composer/educator/historian I can assure you that blues historians, blues aficionados, and blues music fans around the world are aware of the great importance that Paramount Records and Grafton, WI holds in the history of blues music recording and the influence on US music and world cultures.

Sadly, that information was lost to the people of Wisconsin, and especially in the immediate Grafton area for over 75 years, until Grafton resident musician/educator Angie Reilly started digging into the Paramount history in hopes of elevating the awareness of Grafton and Wisconsin area residents. 

Angie Reilly and I initially connected via an online blues related forum back about 16/17 years ago. She informed me of her very proactive efforts in raising awareness in Grafton and WI, in general, of the importance of Paramount Records. The history, influence and ONGOING impact and legacy of Paramount Records was lost to the people of the Grafton area.

Ms. Reilly is very much responsible for the raising of the awareness of the people of the Grafton area regarding the world renown influence and legacy of Paramount Records, as well as her initiating and influencing the Village of Grafton administration/city council in the creation of the Paramount Walk of Fame that is the now centerpiece of downtown Grafton.

In her efforts to raise awareness of the ‘city fathers’ and the citizens, young and old, regarding Paramount’s worldwide fame amongst blues music fans she arranged to bring me to Grafton to meet with the city council and inform them, as an ‘outsider’, of the important culturally legacy and esteem that Grafton’s Paramount Records is held by the international blues community.

At that time, Ms. Reilly also arranged for me to present blues music and Grafton/Paramount history presentations/programs to in the schools to ALL of the public school students in Grafton. I was happy to oblige her request to come to Grafton and help her with her most worthwhile efforts in honoring Paramount Records, Grafton, and the many iconic blues musicians who recorded in Grafton.

Michael “Hawkeye” Herman doing his famous “Blues in the Schools” program in Grafton, WI

The positive and enduring results of her/our efforts are quite obvious: Grafton honors its Paramount blues music legacy with a permanent Paramount Walk of Fame as the featured aspect of the Grafton City Center, and an annual blues music, The Paramount Blues Festival, festival grew out of the ‘rediscovered’ legacy of Paramount Records in Grafton, WI.

You will find my personal article documenting our efforts to raise the citizens of the Grafton area’s awareness about the important and eternal legacy of Paramount Records in Grafton … as well as a link to my article documenting our mutual work in bringing the Paramount Walk of Fame into reality:

“Embracing The Legacy Of The Blues / From the South To The North – Part 2. Grafton, WI and Paramount Records”By Michael “Hawkeye” Herman
http://www.hawkeyeherman.com/pdf/14_EmbracingTheLegacy_Pt.2.pdf to raise the citizens of the Grafton area’s awareness about the important and eternal legacy of Paramount Records in Grafton.

Ozaukee Press article 

Photo Slide Show Images Provided by Michael “Hawkeye” Herman’s Large Collection of Photos

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keynote speaker on creativity

Historical and Cultural Consultant and Project Planner

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Angie Mack Reilly

Contact: angie@ozaukeetalent.com

Historical consultant, researcher and educator with a strong background in arts leadership, marketing strategy, public art and cultural projects.

Highlights of Qualifications:

  • Wisconsin Historical Society website award recipient for paramountshome.org. The website was one of the first historical websites to digitally archive and find materials about Paramount Records.
  • Served as Historic Preservation Commission member under Chairman Ralph Zaun. Served as a Village of Grafton Ad Hoc Committee for downtown development under Administrator Darrell Hofland.
  • Chairperson for the Paramount Plaza Walk of Fame in Grafton, WI for an international board of researchers. Planner for various Walk of Fame ceremony events.
  • Historical Consultant for Kevin Ramsey’s musicals Grafton City Blues and Chasin’ Dem Blues which have premiered at The Milwaukee Rep Theater and other theaters across the nation.
  • Co-created a Paramount Walking Tour booklet. Led countless tours for writers, filmmakers and school groups to name a few.
  • Arranged for the first Blues in the Schools program for the entire Grafton School District.
  • Researched and found the unmarked grave of the Father of Ragtime Guitar, Arthur Blind Blake with an international team of researchers. Raised funds for and arranged for the musician to have a headstone.
  • Pitched the idea of a Paramount Blues Festival to the Cedarburg Cultural Center, Grafton Area Live Arts and the Grafton Jaycees. Provided initial groundwork, education, networking, planning and marketing for the festival. Co-managed the historical tent in the first year.
  • Pitched the idea of a segment about Grafton to the producers of the show PBS History Detectives. Worked with the producers for over a year as an historical educator about Paramount Records and Grafton, WI.
  • Scholarly contributor to both of Jack White’s Grammy Award winning Paramount box sets.
  • Co-founder of historical nonprofit Paramount G.I.G. (Grooves in Grafton). Event planner to raise funds for the Paramount Walk of Fame. Archive collector and manager for a mobile museum.
  • Named one of the top people in Ozaukee County by the News Graphic.
  • Received public acknowledgement from political representatives Mark Gottlieb, Jessica and Jim Doyle.
  • Created the Paramount Records: Recording the Delta Blues since 2011
  • Lifetime music educator, director and performer.

Angie has been interviewed by many podcast, radio, publication, web and video outlets. Her work has been recognized and recorded in books, magazines, websites and social media outlets around the globe.

Links coming soon….. Contact angie@ozaukeetalent.com
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Chronic Creativity creativity expert keynote speaker on creativity public speaker

A review of my book CHRONIC CREATIVITY

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by founder of Creativity Portal

Chris Dunmire January 4, 2009 at 12:21 PM

“When Angela Mack first approached me in late 2004 with her Chronic Creativity excerpts, I found her ingenious way of describing the condition Chronic Creativity in diagnostic terms metaphorically apt.

It didn’t take long into reading about the first symptom, Claustrophobia, that I realized Angela possessed a perspective on “being perpetually creative” that I identified with. She gave the state of creative lucidity I’ve been experiencing almost daily since I left my corporate job in 2000 a name that fit so well: Chronic Creativity.

I found each of Angela’s subsequent Chronic Creativity excerpts not only engaging, but also insightful. As an accomplished teacher, musician, composer, and artist, Angela writes from a place of living the dynamic creative mind, and witnessing its fruit in those she guides. Her enthusiasm is contagious, to say the least.

So many ideas and much discussion can come out of Angela’s Chronic Creativity excerpts. Not wanting to miss out on an opportunity to express my own thoughts, I’ll note my impressions on Creative Slush as each excerpt is published on the Creativity Portal. “

–Chris Dunmire, founder of Creativity Portal taken from
http://www.chrisdunmire.com/tidbits/mack/cc.intro.shtml

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female vocalist keynote speaker on creativity public speaker

So You Want To Be A Singer?

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So You Want To Be A Singer?

by Angela K. Mack

February 4, 2009 at 8:51 PM

(Previously published in a harmonica magazine)

There is something inside all of us that yearns to express our deepest emotions in song. The blues is a genre that provides a lot of freedom of expression despite one’s musical background. The blues has traditionally been music that is, first off, authentic and secondly, full of color. As a vocal instructor, I wish to highlight on these issues as well as other essentials to singing.


Personal Experience 

Some of the best songs sung are from personal experience. Think of those songs that you love to sing to and think about how they relate to your personal life. Sometimes, the songs may be songs of real experience and other times, they may be songs that fulfill a gap. For example, there might be a song that you love whose main message is about being poor. You love the song because you can relate to being poor. This is a song of real experience. On the other hand, you may be one without a true lover and songs about passionate romance might be your thing. They fulfill a need to something lacking in your life. The singer has to personally relate to the song that they are singing. The singer must be able to read, respond to, and communicate the lyrics of the song effectively. In that sense, the singer is often an actor.

Strong Diaphragm


Aside from relating to the song, the primary mechanics of singing must be recognized when singing effectively. One of the first exercises that I have my private vocal students do is to lie on their back on the floor. I coach them to place their hands on their belly and pretend to go to sleep. As soon as they relax, they find that their belly rises slowly and rhythmically with each breath. This is the diaphragm and the “powerhouse” from which one’s vocals should spring forth. Singers of all genres need to know how to tap into this wellspring.

Make it Colorful


This leads me to explain that an effective singer must provide what is called “color” to the song. Any great piece of art contains contrast. In my opinion, the greater the contrast, the greater the art is. In singing, this means to be quiet when the lyrics call for quietness and to belt out with gut wrenching passion the words that mean the most. Provide contrast within the song. Perhaps sing some parts with a lazy enunciation then other parts with clear cut and thought provoking speaking. Make the quiets as quiet as you can and then surprise everyone with your loudest statements in song.

Next, the human voice is an instrument. Every instrument is influenced by its size, shape, and material. Some of us have this working for us. Others of us have a real challenge. Let’s say you nail down how to use you “powerhouse” (diaphragm singing). Excellent! But if you are burdened by physical ailments such as asthma or allergies, your sound might naturally become restricted. Likewise, if you have a small mouth or throat, you may have a tougher time belting out the notes that you want to. A full and big sound requires an “instrument” that is free of constrictions (which are what allergies and asthma do) and size limitations (such as mouth and throat size). The goal is to be able to have the capabilities of being open and loud when the proper time warrants. Sometimes, human anatomy can get in the way. I have had vocal students who nailed down their diaphragm breathing yet had chronically swollen tonsils which completely defeated the purpose of loud singing. Remember, the goal is to have the capacity to be open. If you struggle with any of the above, you may have a more difficult time reaching depths of “color”. Please consult your doctor to see if these issues can be resolved.

Further, in regards to tone, blues singers often have that “rough and raspy” tone that naturally comes from drinking and smoking. Please know that these attributes can be learned without damaging the rest of your body. You can learn how to constrict the throat while singing and achieve similar effects without creating other health issues. This requires practice and experimentation.

Pitch

Pitch, for the adult, is a little more challenging to nail down. It is said that all babies are born with the capabilities to sing on pitch. What we are exposed to as infants, toddlers, and preschoolers can influence the rest of our musical lives. Basically, you have your parents to thank or curse for your sense of pitch. Adults with pitch issues should try to experiment with or take lessons on the piano. Listening to a lot of music also helps the musical ear. If you are an adult and can’t sing on pitch, you have your work cut out for you. Remember, there are always exceptions to the rule. But overall, you need to invest in private instrument lessons and intentionally listen to a lot of different styles of music.

Enunciation


Enunciation is another aspect of singing that must be addressed. Usually, classical singers and musical theater singers learn the art of diction. However, in the blues genre, diction isn’t a high priority. Obviously, you want your audience to understand your words. In which case, vowels sung with the mouth three fingers up and down are a great starting point gauge. “T”s and “D”s are often neglected. Overall, my biggest exhortation to my students is “Open your mouth!” I find that opening ones mouth is very difficult for many. Most are shy and aren’t used to such displays of openness. Not only should the singer open the mouth up and down but also wide at times. “Wide mouth enunciation” brightens the tone and allows for more natural volume.

In closing, “some things are better caught than taught”. Put on that song of your favorite singer and listen. Ask yourself, “Why do I like this song? What is the singer doing that I like? What are the words about? What contrast is in this song? How is the enunciation? Is it lazy or clear? Are the notes correct? Can I sing effectively along?”

My gut is that everyone can sing. Hopefully, I gave you some things to think about. Feel free to contact me at angie@ozaukeet alent.com if you have more questions.

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Chronic Creativity creativity expert keynote speaker on creativity public speaker

Dear Wisconsin, Why the Arts?

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by Angie Mack Reilly written in January 2019 and published on 8.8.20

Especially In this age of artificial intelligence (AI), we need to take another look at the universal language of music. It is an essential component to any culture. The question is, will we embrace all that the gift of music has to offer?

I often tell my private music students that singing and playing an instrument is a sport. I know that, in Wisconsin, we value sports. Musicianship requires rigorous training and mastery over the muscles involved. Because of that, it is considered a “discipline” which takes patience and time. I consider myself a “personal trainer” for musicians of all ages.

After working with thousands of youth over past few decades, I am very concerned that our children are not expressing themselves and innovating as much as they are capable of. “The screens” are robbing them of these two very essential components. Weekly music lessons keep that creative expression alive and spark innovation. Our children are going to have to compete with artificial intelligence (AI). How will they do that? With creative communication, expression, intuition and innovation.

I am the most passionate about people coming together to creatively collaborate. The acronym for team is “together everyone achieves more”. That is why I am involved with so many different music events. Music events create a sense of belonging and are vital for the good health of any culture. Simply put, music events improve our quality of life in Ozaukee County and give us a sense of community.

On the morning of January 10, the cast and crew of NSAA’s Elf Jr. will be featured on Real Milwaukee with Brian Kramp of Fox 6 . Children will get to experience first-hand why improvisation and confidence are essential skills in the television industry.

My wish for 2019 would be to see more financial resources thrown at cultural offerings and arts events particularly in Grafton where I live. This is why Ozaukee Talent has become a fiscal receiver through Arts Wisconsin. We need benefactors who can donate to keep the arts alive and thriving.

There needs to be a way for funds to trickle down to the artists themselves. Sadly, this is not happening in our county as much as it should be. The arts scene in Grafton is struggling. I dream of a day when artists and musicians can be adequately compensated for their contributions. I applaud Cedarburg for how much they value the arts with their dollars. In my opinion, this directly results in educational, economic and cultural success.

Can I be frank and say that kids who grow up with the arts as a vital part of their upbringing do not grow up and shoot other people? There is a cure for mass violence. It’s a preventative cure and it’s called the arts. The arts industry naturally teaches an awareness and appreciation for human life and the human experience.

Isolation and disconnect make emotional and mental imbalances even worse. I have used the arts my entire life as a means of coping with childhood trauma and combating depression and anxiety. Socializing and connecting with others does not come naturally to me. I have to work really hard at it. The bulk of my friendships began while working on arts projects with others. The arts provide a place of belonging. The arts can help re-wire a traumatized brain and provide a place of human connection which is also known to help with addiction.

Pure and simple. We need to get busy mentoring the next generation in the arts. And Wisconsin communities need to be financially and generously supportive. Innovation and creative communication need more priority and respect in the business world.

FOR CONSULTING, WORKSHOPS AND SPEAKING: angie@ozaukeetalent.com

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female writer Public Art public speaker

Poem: Invisible

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Invisible

by Angie Mack Reilly 2020

I feel invisible
Do you feel invisible
We feel invisible
Divisible
Forgivable
Sensational
Deliverable
Yet invisible
I feel invisible
Do you feel invisible
We feel invisible

Photo also by Angie Mack Reilly

43.3206836-87.9433315
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creativity expert female writer keynote speaker on creativity Public Art public speaker

Interviewing the Interviewer

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The Music of Milwaukee Radio Host Ben Merens

by Angie Mack Reilly 3.9.20

New Release!  Listen to “Babylon” by Ben Merens on Hot Seat Records

A Master of Improv

Have you ever seen the show, “Who’s Line is it Anyway?”

It’s an improvisational comedy television show.  One feature is that the actors are asked to make up comedic lyrics and a melody on the spot while a band plays music that they’ve never heard before.  NOT an easy task!

I have always marveled at the show’s actors’ ability to do this. Decades of teaching music and drama has taught me that improvisation requires a heightened sensitivity and a rapid mind. Improvisation is done without any preparation. It requires having a wealth of knowledge to pull from as well as a bravado of spirit.

This is why I like to listen to jazz.   In my opinion, jazz is one of the most difficult and advanced musical art foms to master.  Why?  Because of the improvisation.  Likewise, stand-up comedy.  It requires a high skill level of improvisation that is extremely difficult.

Like I was saying.  Very few people have this high level of skill that entails composing music, creating lyrics and creating a melody on the spot.

Ben Merens has this skill.

Having been in journalism for over 30 years, Ben is somewhat of a celebrity in the Milwaukee area. Most people know him as the longtime radio host for Wisconsin Public Radio’s At Issue With Ben Merens on the Ideas Network.

As a live radio host, Ben has had to improvise on every program.  He has literally spoken on thousands of shows without a full script.   Again, not many people can do this.

I find it fascinating that Ben has taken this strongly exercised skill of improvisation and has applied it to music.

An Example

Ben came over to record some music recently and met my son Joshua for the first time.  Within minutes of meeting Joshua, Ben created a comedic song complete with lyrics, melody and music.  The song played on the ironic fact that Joshua is a baker who cannot eat gluten.  Check it out.

 

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“Yes.  God must have a sense of humor you see.  When a baker cannot eat gluten.  I think that’s God’s stand-up comedy.” – Ben Merens

Communication Expert

Ben explained to me that all of his experience in radio has taught him amazing focus and mindfulness.   He is a keen listener which can be a rare commodity in today’s self-centered and busy world.  In fact, Ben has written a book called People Are Dying to Be Heard.  He is an experienced keynote speaker on the topic of communication.  He conducts workshops that help people and organizations find their unique story or voice.  His ability to understand people also fuels his ability to create on-the-spot songs.

Adaptability

“And the only constant in life is change. And we all must be willing to rearrange” – Ben Merens lyric from One Hundred Voices

People who have the ability to improvise are highly adaptable.   They quickly adjust.  They are keenly sensitive.   Aware.  Flexible toward change.   Adaptability knows how to feed an audience while feeding off of the audience.  Because no two audiences are the same, you will find that no two versions of Ben’s songs are the same.   He adjusts the song to fit the environment.

Forget buying mood lighting at a party.  Hire Ben to come and entertain your guests in a way that they won’t ever forget!  I’m serious!  Hire him to speak or sing at your place of worship, school, workplace or event.  Ben has a long track record of connecting with audiences of all demographics.

The Background and the Vision

Ben and I recently started connecting after a music event that we both attended in Cedarburg.   The more I have gotten to know him, the more I have appreciated what a gem of a human being he is.   Ben loves people.  Pure and simple.  And he uses his talents to help others in a variety of creative ways.  We have a similiar intuitive, improvisational and heartfelt manner in which we share our talents with others.   We both understand adaptability or, as I like to call it, fluidity.   Ben recently invited me talk with him about creativity on his Riverwest Radio show called Just Talking.  You can listen to the link below.

Because of how creatively compatible we are,  I thought that it would be great to work on a creative project with Ben.  Since we both love networking, I thought that we should invite others who want to join us.  It’s a bit improvisational.  The musicians and singers will have to be adaptable.  But we want to communicate a message as a performance public art piece.  Not perfect.  But heartfelt.  Because a lot of people need a glimmer of light right now.  Please join us.

100 Voices:  Public Performance Art

WHO:  Calling 100 Musicians and Singers for “One Hundred Voices Jiant Jam” (a Flash Mob type performance)  Don’t worry.  Nobody’s making anyone dance. (lol)
WHAT:  We will be performing “One Hundred Voices” written by radio personality Ben Merens (listen to the track above….lyrics are in the comments).  This song was inspired by the book 100 Voices:  Americans Talk About Change by Mary M. Clare.  Mary traveled the nation asking diverse people what change meant to them.  Ben wrote the song upon meeting the author.

Event has been cancelled and will hopefully be rescheduled due to Covid-19 crisis

WHEN:  Sunday March 22nd, arrive no later than noon.  Performance will be videotaped/recorded at 12:30pm.  By participating, you are agreeing to be on film, audio recording, social media, television, etc….Rain date of Sunday March 29, same times.  Try to gather in the cul de sac just south of the giant piano Walk of Fame when you arrive.
WHERE:  Paramount Plaza Walk of Fame in downtown Grafton (outside of Atlas BBQ)
HOW:  We will rehearse the song at noon under the musical direction of Angie Mack Reilly.  Looking for acoustic instruments such as acoustic guitars, hand drums, voices, violins, saxophones, etc….Please have the song memorized and rehearsed before arriving
WHY:  We want to raise awareness about the ripple effect that “one voice” has and how music continues to be a unifying, meaningful and valuable tool to bring people together.  This is an attempt to raise awareness about the musicians who recorded for the Paramount record label.

RSVP:  send your firm email commitment to angie@ozaukeetalent.comMiss6123@gmail.com or ben@benmerens.com No last minute cancellations please.

43.3206846-87.9433889