Arts & Entertainment

Grier providing music in new documentary

Local musician Cathy Grier is writing a blues score for an upcoming documentary about turning 60 years old.  The documentary, called “My first and last film” is being directed by Tracey Thomas of Milwaukee and an all-female crew who visited Door County last weekend.   Grier shares how her opportunity came about.  



Grier first thought Thomas had approached her because she was turning 60 years old in November when it was actually the producer looking for a female blues artist to provide the film’s final musical score.  The documentary crew had traveled to Arizona and California before taking a two-year hiatus after Thomas’ partner passed away.  Grier is finishing up the score at Studio 330 in Sturgeon Bay and expects the film to be completed in the next month in time for upcoming film festivals.  


(photo courtesy of Cathy Grier)

Accomplished mystery author to hold meet-and-greet in Sturgeon Bay

Alan Levine / CC


By Connor Harbit


Patricia Skalka, an author whose mystery novels take place in Door County, will visit Sturgeon Bay Friday to hold an author reading and discussion event. The event will be held at Novel Bay Booksellers, and is a chance for fans of the series to meet the author and ask questions about Skalka’s inspiration or methods. A native of the Chicago area, Skalka said she chose Door County as the location for her series because the diversity allows for a lot of material.





Skalka’s novels center on Sheriff Dave Cubiak, a former Chicago cop who solves various murders and mysteries in Door County while trying to overcome his own personal problems as well. She said Cubiak works as a protagonist because the reader can see him as more than just a character in a book.





Skalka said her books have been well-received by residents of Door County. After her visit to Sturgeon Bay, she will also visit Algoma on Saturday for a similar event. Skalka’s next book, the fifth in her series, is scheduled for a Spring 2019 release.

Community hits all the right notes with Washington Island student

By Tim Kowols


The story of Washington Island student George Findlay’s “Opus One” being played by the community band started long before the conductor ever raised its baton. Findlay is just seven years old, but has already taken over a year of music classes thanks to the community’s generosity and support of the school. Findlay’s teacher, Donna Briesemeister, is funded by the Washington Island Music Festival. She says now is a great time for students to start developing their musical literacy.





His favorite music is rock and roll, but Findlay lists his classmates as his influences.  He says his first song started with just a few notes.





Briesemeister hopes other students learn from Findlay’s time in the spotlight as encouragement to write music of their own. Findlay says students should do it because it is fun.

The Great Holiday Light Contest returns to Kewaunee County

By Paul Schmitt


Kewaunee County residents still have time to show off and register their creative, outdoor decorations for the 2nd annual Great Kewaunee County Holiday Light Contest.  The contest is sponsored by the three Kewaunee County chambers.  Algoma Area Chamber Executive Director Sara Krouse explains the easy way to register your holiday light display.



Krouse says you can also register by calling the Algoma Chamber.  Entries must be in by 5 pm Friday and online voting will then run from December 7 through December 20.  New this year, there will be winners from Luxemburg, Kewaunee, and Algoma areas with again one overall winner.  You can find more information on the Kewaunee County Great Holiday Light Contest with this story below.

Gibraltar celebrates Christmas at the historic Noble House

By Jonathan Bregman

Christmas kicks off in Fish Creek with the annual tree lighting and caroling event at the historic Noble House Museum.  Laurie Buske, the director of the Gibraltar Historical Association, described some of the activities that will be available at the event.





The Christmas celebration will take place this Saturday, December 8 at 5:00 PM at the Noble House on Main Street in Fish Creek.

Coast Guard predecessor highlights upcoming Maritime Speaker Series presentation

By Tim Kowols


Northern Michigan University’s Frederick Stonehouse will take attendees of Thursday’s Maritime Speaker Series event back to a time when Sturgeon Bay could have been known as Wisconsin’s U.S. Lifesaving Service City. Prior to the introduction of the current U.S. Coast Guard, the U.S. Lifesaving Service had posts scattered throughout the Great Lakes region, including several along Door County’s coasts. As their duties grew, the U.S. Lifesaving Service was replaced by the Coast Guard in 1915 after over 40 years of service.  Their unofficial motto of “regulations say we have to go out, they say nothing about coming back” is something that really sticks out to Stonehouse.





Stonehouse will give his presentation on the U.S. Lifesaving Service at the Door County Maritime Museum in Sturgeon Bay beginning at 7 p.m.

TJ Walker students' Peter Pan musical starts Tuesday

By Paul Schmitt


Sturgeon Bay Allied Arts students from TJ Walker Middle School will be putting on their version of Peter Pan starting on Tuesday.  The classic story of a boy who never grew up will be performed on stage at the Sturgeon Bay High School Auditorium.  Choir Director Amber Spude says the popular musical will be a good challenge to her students.  She says the audience will also be impressed with the dancing.



You can find ticket information and the five scheduled performances of Peter Pan JR. including Tuesday’s special free performance for senior citizens with this story below.


TJ Walker Allied Arts in Sturgeon Bay will hold a special free performance of Peter Pan JR.. for senior citizens on December 4 at 10:30 am.  A free luncheon, hosted by the Student Council, will follow the show.  Performances for local schools will be held on December 5 at 9:00 am and December 6 at 12:30 pm, and December 7 at 9:00 am.  The public performance of Peter Pan JR. will be on December 7 at 7:00 pm.  All performances will be at the  Sturgeon Bay High School Auditorium.  Tickets are $8 for adults and $5 for students and may be purchased at the SBHS auditorium beginning at 6:00 pm on Friday, December 7.  For more information, please call/email Amber Spude at 746-5753 or


Senior Citizen Performance- December 4th 10:30 AM
Elementary Performance- December 5th 9:00 AM

Elementary Performance- December 6th 12:30 PM

Middle School Performance- December 7th 9:00 AM

Public Performance- December 7th 7:00 PM


(photo submitted)

Sturgeon Bay High School Choir performing "Handel's Messiah" at Weidner Center

By Paul Schmitt


For the first time in six years,  Sturgeon Bay High School Choir members will have the opportunity to sing on stage at the Weidner Center for the Performing Arts at U.W. Green Bay.  The choir will be performing Handel’s Messiah along with University Singers, and the Green Bay Choral Artists while being backed by a full orchestra.  Sturgeon Bay High School Choir Director Leslie Hill says her students are looking forward to the challenge of “Hallelujah” and more.





The Handel’s Messiah performance will be Saturday night at 7:30 pm at the Weidner Center.  Tickets will be available at the door or you can order tickets with the below link.

Community gathers for Algoma Performing Arts Center events

By Tim Kowols


The Algoma Performing Arts Center is proving to be a true asset for the community. Built in 1935 thanks in part to special programs created by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, the Algoma Performing Arts Center went under a major $250,000 renovation in 2008 to preserve the structure used for school performances as well as traveling acts. In 2014, a private-public partnership was formed to ensure Algoma would be able to experience the arts in their own backyard. Algoma Superintendent Nick Cochart says that collaboration is a big reason why the Algoma Performing Arts Center is thriving.





The Algoma Performing Arts Center will next present “A Frank’s Christmas” this Saturday before playing host to pianist Mike Rector and the Algoma band and choir later this month.

Ephraim, Baileys Harbor host holiday events

By Tim Kowols


Santa Claus Lane will be on both sides of peninsula this weekend as Ephraim and Baileys Harbor host holiday events. “Harbor Holiday” features a parade leading up to the tree lighting and party at the Baileys Harbor Town Hall. “Christmas in the Village” opens the doors of the Ephraim Village Hall, Door County Library, and Ephraim Moravian Church for a variety of holiday activities all day long. Ephraim Business Council Tourism Administrator Lane Sauve says it is great to see the entire village get involved for its events.





Both events take place this Saturday. You can find schedules for both Harbor Holiday and Christmas in the Village online with this story.



Christmas in the Village is right around the corner!

Posted by Ephraim - Door County, Wisconsin on Friday, November 16, 2018


Getting in the Holiday Spirit! See you Saturday, December 1st! 4:30pm Parade Set Up at Post Office 4:45pm PARADE &...

Posted by Baileys Harbor, Door County on Sunday, November 25, 2018

Algoma Community Caroling brings holiday spirit to homebound

Kevin Dooley / CC


By Paul Schmitt


Three local organizations are working together again to help spread the holiday spirit in Algoma.  Kindness Matters, Algoma Area Chamber of Commerce and the Algoma Youth Club will be sponsoring a community caroling.  On December 19, volunteers will sing and give cookie plates to those who are homebound in the area.  Sara Krouse of the Algoma Chamber says bringing the caroling tradition back to Algoma worked great last year.



Nominations of people in the Algoma area that would like to receive caroling should be done by contacting the Algoma Area Chamber of Commerce before December 15.  You can find more information about participating in the Algoma Community Caroling with this story online.


Musician Katie Dahl and friends feature Sit Around Singing next week in Sister Bay

photo courtesy of


By Paul Schmitt


Door County folksinger Katie Dahl is looking to bring generations together to experience the joy of song and fellowship.  Dahl will be hosting a third season of Sit Around Singing, a community-wide sing along gathering, with six dates in the next six months.  Dahl shares what people can expect when attending the musical event.



The first Sit Around Singing will be Thursday, December 6 at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Door County in Sister Bay starting at 6 pm.  The singing season will take place every first Thursday of the month through May.

Northern Sky Theater "Home for the Holidays" with annual show

By Tim Kowols


Much like its last run at the Door Community Auditorium this fall, the curtains are closing for Northern Sky Theater and its performances at Old Gibraltar Town Hall. Artistic Director Jeff Herbst will be joined by Ryan Cappleman and Tom Donoghue for five performances of “Home for the Holidays” December 28th through 31st.  In its 13th year, “Home for the Holidays” is a collection of seasonal songs and humor. Herbst expects its final performances at the Old Gibraltar Town Hall to be bittersweet.



Northern Sky Theater also announced its 2019 slate this week. During its summer run at Peninsula State Park, Northern Sky Theater will feature the premiere of “We Like It Where?” and the return of “Dairy Heirs” and “Windjammers.” The fall musical, “Dad’s Season Tickets,” will be the first to be performed in the new creative campus theater opening in Fish Creek next year. You can learn more about this year’s “Home for the Holidays” show on December 8th at 7:30 a.m. when Northern Sky Theater is featured on WBDK’s Ask the Expert.

Gibraltar One Acts ensemble repeats award sweep at state contest

By Tim Kowols


For the second year in a row, the cast and crew of Gibraltar’s One-Act Plays came home with a collection of awards from the state one acts contest. Held last weekend on the campus of LaCrosse’s Viterbo University, Gibraltar earned a critic’s choice award in addition to honors for outstanding ensemble, crew, and directors. Lia Smith also won an outstanding actor award. Director Lizz Thomas was impressed by how well the group did since they performed “Death’s Door,” an original work written by the students.




Gibraltar was one of only eight schools to earn a critic’s choice award at the State Theater Festival. Thomas says their focus will turn to May’s production of “Hello! My Baby,” a musical chosen in honor of Gibraltar’s 100th anniversary.

Southern Door's musical "Mamma Mia" a huge hit

By Delilah Rose — Student Correspondent

Southern Door’s 2018 musical “Mamma Mia” has the county awed from the students’ performance. With a cast of more than 40 students on stage and another half dozen in the orchestra pit joined by enthusiastic adult musicians, came together and brought the romantic comedy alive through the knock-your-socks-off music of the Swedish pop group ABBA. The performances met the hopes of the students by close to selling out each night in Southern Door’s 600 plus seating auditorium.


Under the musical direction of Mrs. Wedyt, Mrs. Williamson, and Miss. Files, the choir and band collaborated in a production that rivaled a Broadway production. The countless hours of rehearsal invested by each and every cast member that started in August paid off tenfold.


The female leading roles were shared while the male roles were anchored by a core cast of four.


MaCayla Moore and Maggie Grotta shared the leading role of Sophie Sheridan, the 20 year old born and raised on a Greek Island by her American mother, Donna, the role shared by Shaina Skaletski and Mackenzie Finger. Both mother-daughter duo delivered a remarkable plot-pushed story of a wedding with a twist.


Sky, the romantic lead played by Dale Swanson, swooned for his soon-to-be-bride while weaving through scene after scene with Sophie’s three possible fathers played by Mathew VanderMeer, Joseph Feeney and Sean Hartford.


The boys of the show were the comedians that brought the house down when they arrived on stage dancing with feet clad in gigantic flippers for the “Lay All Your Love on Me” number.


The racier moments were hilariously performed by the visiting best friends Rosie, the down to earth played by Anna Alrand and Brittany Dantoin and Tanya, Jadacey Teska and Helen Parks.


The musical ran from Wednesday, November 7th through Sunday, November 11th, from dress rehearsal to the closing matinee performance the show wowed the greater community of Northeast Wisconsin.


(photo by Suzanne Rose)

Why be an art museum curator? Series on Careers

By Paul Schmitt


Visiting art museums at a very young age with her family was the beginning of Elizabeth Shoshany Anderson’s love for the arts.  Anderson, who started as the Miller Art Museum curator last March, found the arts to be a key center for public discussion on what is important.  Graduating in 2015 from the University of Wisconsin with a degree in Art History, Anderson received her master’s degree from the Courtauld Institute of Art in London, England.  She says although she took a more traditional route, there are many other ways to get involved in the arts.



Anderson says her duties as the curator of exhibition and collections include what traveling art exhibitions will be featured in the future.  She adds her role also is to determine the display and care of the permanent art collection for the museum.

TJ Walker students performing Peter Pan musical

By Paul Schmitt


Adults will have the opportunity to never grow up when they watch the Sturgeon Bay students’ performance of Peter Pan JR. next month.  The modern version of the timeless tale and magical story will be recreated on stage by the Allied Arts class from the TJ Walker Middle School.  Amber Spude, choir director, shares the biggest challenge facing the 42 students who are putting on the 29th Allied Arts production.



There will be five performances from December 4th through the 7th at the Sturgeon Bay High School Auditorium.  You can find ticket information and the complete schedule of the Peter Pan JR musical with the news release below.



TJ Walker Allied Arts in Sturgeon Bay will hold a special free performance of Peter Pan JR.. for senior citizens on December 4 at 10:30 am.  A free luncheon, hosted by the Student Council, will follow the show.  Performances for local schools will be held on December 5 at 9:00 am and December 6 at 12:30 pm, and December 7 at 9:00 am.  The public performance of Peter Pan JR. will be on December 7 at 7:00 pm.  All performances will be at the  Sturgeon Bay High School Auditorium.  Tickets are $8 for adults and $5 for students and may be purchased at the SBHS auditorium beginning at 6:00 pm on Friday, December 7.  For more information, please call/email Amber Spude at 746-5753 or


Senior Citizen Performance- December 4th 10:30 AM

Elementary Performance- December 5th 9:00 AM

Elementary Performance- December 6th 12:30 PM

Middle School Performance- December 7th 9:00 AM

Public Performance- December 7th 7:00 PM


(Submitted photos from rehearsals)





Gibraltar heads to state for One-Act Plays

By Tim Kowols       

Gibraltar students head to LaCrosse later this week to participate in the statewide one-act play competition. This year's entry is entitled Death's Door, an original piece about opening a portal to the unexplained and unimaginable featuring Door County's ghostly folklore as its backdrop. Director Lizz Thomas says there is an added dose of excitement for the cast and crew when it comes to performing an original piece compared to something people may have seen or performed before.

Gibraltar will perform Death's Door in the main theatre at Viterbo University's fine arts center at 8 a.m. Friday, but community members can see an early performance at the Door Community Auditorium Tuesday evening at 7 p.m.

Veteran shares stories from his Cold War book at Sturgeon Bay Library Wednesday

By Paul Schmitt    

Sturgeon Bay native, Jerry Grassel, will be describing his experiences in Europe during the Cold War era at the Door County Library next Wednesday.  Grassel, who served in the U.S. Army during the 1950's and 60's, was based in Germany and worked in the security agency.  He says the stories in the book do not go into detailed aspects of spying, but rather amusing personal stories about his experiences with the German people and his fellow soldiers.


Grassel's presentation on his book, Cold War Stories Unclassified will be at 2 pm Wednesday upstairs at the Sturgeon Bay Library.

Local artist exhibit opens this weekend

By Paul Schmitt


The Miller Art Museum is featuring 38 regional artists as part of the 43rd Juried Annual exhibition in Sturgeon Bay.  Curator of Exhibitions and Collections Elizabeth Shoshany Anderson shares what type of two-dimensional art is most popular locally.

Anderson adds that many local artists have created more contemporary pieces of work as well.  The exhibit will run through December 22.  You can see some images of the artwork that will be on display at the Miller Art Museum with this story online.



Veterans Day Concert set for Monday in Sturgeon Bay

By Paul Schmitt    

A collection of patriotic music and more will resound Monday evening at the annual Veterans Day Concert of Music and Song in Sturgeon Bay.  The Peninsula Symphonic Band along with the Community Choir of Door County will collaborate on the free performance at Prince of Peace Church.  New Peninsula Symphonic Band Director Jason Palmer says the one-hour concert will feature more than the usual patriotic music.

The concert will begin at 7 pm at the Prince of Peace Church on Michigan Street in Sturgeon Bay.  A free-will offering to benefit the Door County Veterans Council will be made available.



Merry Time Festival of Trees kicks off holiday season in Door County

By Tim Kowols       

The first signs of the Christmas season have already started to line-up along exhibit hall walls at the Door County Maritime Museum in Sturgeon Bay. The Merry-Time Festival of Trees kicks off this Saturday with close to  30 businesses showing off their yuletide decorating skills. Community Engagement Coordinator Carrie Dorski says it is a great time to check out the museum.

A holiday card workshop and the annual visit from Santa on the Tug John Purves highlight this year's Merry-Time Festival of Trees which runs until December 11th. You can visit this story online for specific details on events occurring during this year's festival.


Click here for this year's full schedule

Miller Art Museum concludes year with Juried Art exhibit

By Paul Schmitt    

The Miller Art Museum's 43rd Juried Annual exhibition will open to the public next Saturday.  The exhibit will feature 38 contemporary regional artists living in Northeastern Wisconsin including Door and Kewaunee counties.  Elizabeth Shoshany Anderson from the Miller Art Museum says this year's 48 chosen entries include a wide range of artwork.


The exhibit will run from November 10 through December 22.  You can see some images of the artwork that will be on display at the Miller Art Museum's 43rd Annual Juried exhibition with this story online.

  1. Thomas Jordan, Entering the Ring, digital photograph. Image courtesy of Thomas Jordan.

  2. Mara Manning, Subtle Changes, oil and cold wax painting on birch panel. Image courtesy of Mara Manning.

  3. Sandra Martinez, The Walk Home, acrylic painting. Image Courtesy of Sandra Martinez.

  4. Joan Emmett, Great Uncle Logos, digital collage. Image courtesy of Joan Emmett.

  5.   Susan Reynolds-Smith, Hay Bales II,oil painting. Image courtesy of Susan Reynolds-Smith.

  6. Gail Ann Anderson, Stop, Stop!,oil painting. Image courtesy of Gail Ann Anderson.

Sturgeon Bay band commissions 50th anniversary musical arrangement

By Tim Kowols       

For the first time in its history, the Sturgeon Bay High School band will have a music piece it can truly call its own.  The band commissioned composer Randall Standridge of Arkansas to arrange a piece to commemorate the school's 50th anniversary.  Sturgeon Bay band director Heidi Hintz talked with Standridge about her group's strengths and preferences earlier this year before letting him get to work. Hintz says having the piece commissioned will give students a chance to see the composition process from creating an idea to getting it published.

Band students fundraised $3,500 to help make the composition happen. Hintz and the Sturgeon Bay band hope to get an initial draft of the piece in January or February before premiering the final arrangement at graduation.

Movie and local panel geared to reach troubled teens

By Paul Schmitt    

A powerful film about children trying to learn in a school setting while dealing with stress will be the center of a discussion at the Kress Pavilion Center in Egg Harbor next Thursday.  The Door County Partnership for Children and Families and three other organizations are sponsoring the movie Paper Tigers as part of a Mental Health Film Series.  Katie Van Laanen, a public nurse at the Door County Public Health Department, shares how a new trauma-sensitive program featured in the documentary works.


The free community event is intended for adults but teens are welcomed to attend with their parents.  A panel discussion will follow the one-hour movie that begins at 5:30 pm, Thursday, November 8th.  You can watch a video trailer of Paper Tigers with the link below.

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