Strike A Chord hopes to help music in Green Bay
By Melinda Anne Roberts
GREEN BAY – It started with a conversation between two friends about Green Bay’s rich music heritage, when artists like Buddy Holly, the Beach Boys, Cheap Trick, and REO Speedwagon played here.
“Green Bay was in between Chicago, Milwaukee and Minneapolis, so bands came to Green Bay on an off night or while traveling through,” said Mark Steuer, who participated in that conversation. “Bands played at Riverside Ballroom, the Vic Theater (now Confetti’s) and the Fox Theater (now the Meyer).”
So those friends decided to start Strike A Chord, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation.
Board members are President Gary Anderle, Vice President Mark Steuer, and Event and Marketing Manager Misty Bero.
The motto is “Anything is possible when you ‘Strike A Chord.’”
Steuer said the group is modeled after the River Music Experience in Davenport, Iowa.
“Our group has been there several times to take a look at that museum,” Steuer said. “That is a model we would love to see happen in Green Bay.”
Strike A Chord is hoping to secure an area historical building for a hall of fame celebrating the area’s musical history and heritage going all the way back to native music and the French voyageurs, and how music impacted the community.
The hall of fame building would also host musical events and would include a recording studio, a room with instruments for students to rent at a low cost, a place where teachers can give music lessons, and rooms where musicians could write music or jam.
“We want to give local musicians a venue to express themselves,” Steuer said. “Right now you have to go to music stores, or schools, or take private lessons.”
He said the group would also like to collaborate with other nonprofits to raise funds that benefit the community.
The group hopes to sponsor a Busking Festival for musicians of all genres from rock and roll to reggae to a chamber quartet all playing alongside each other in street shows.
Bero said they would love to have their “Busk A Groove” Busking Festival this summer, “but it’s more likely the event will be held in 2020.”
“There’s no rhyme or reason as to how we’re planning this,” Steuer said.
Strike A Chord is growing organically, he said.
The group held its first fundraiser April 5 when four northeast Wisconsin bands played: Beach Patrol, The Plastik Waste Banned, Holly and the Nice Lions, and Sons of Kong.
About 100 people attended the event, including newly-elected Green Bay mayor Eric Genrich.
Plastic Waste Banned believes so strongly in Strike A Chord the group refused its fee and “then the drummer gave me a hundred bucks to put in the kitty,” Steuer said.
As part of the mission to give back to the community, a Gene Mitchell custom-made guitar was presented to area seventh-grader and aspiring musician Malia Doxtator through a partnership Strike A Chord has established with the Boys and Girls Club.
Bero, a local music promoter with a solid history in Green Bay, said Strike A Chord is looking for board members, musicians, people involved with marketing and web design, and anyone else with an interest in music.
Community members can get involved by contacting Bero through the Strike A Chord Facebook page.