thanksgiving 2019


November 17, 2019
5:00 pm - 6:45 pm


Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist


Milwaukee’s holiday season truly begins with Thanksgiving. This season, Co-Artistic Directors David Bloom and Eric Segnitz continue Present Music’s annual Thanksgiving concert with a musical meditation centered on contemplating the dreams we collectively share.

This year, the program will continue several longtime traditions such as the massive community friendship dance led by The Bucks Native American Singing & Drumming Group, angelic choral works reverberating throughout the immense Cathedral, and features music by Reena Esmail, Caroline Shaw, Shelley Washington, Cass Elliot (of the Mammas and the Papas) and teenage Milwaukee composer Lauren Barta, an alumna of Present Music’s Creation Project.




Here’s a video from founder Kevin Stalheim’s beautiful, final Thanksgiving concert last year:

  • Bucks Native American Singing and Drumming Group: Invocation
  • Pauline Oliveros: The Heart Chant (1971)
  • Shelley Washington: A Kind of Lung (2017)
  • Reena Esmail: TaReKiTa (2016)
  • Lauren Barta: Dreamily (2019)
  • Caroline Shaw: This Might Also Be a Form of Dreaming (2016)
  • Eve Beglarian: The Continuous Life (2000)
  • Cass Elliot: Make Your Own Kind of Music (1968)
  • Bucks Native American Singing and Drumming Group: Friendship Song

Give to Food for Families

Help local families have healthy food during the holiday season by donating food items at the concert! Present Music is collecting Low Sugar Breakfast Cereal and other food items for the Hunger Task Force annual Food for Families Drive. Hunger Task Force is Milwaukee’s only Free & Local food bank. 

Featured Composer:
Composer Caroline Shaw
Caroline Shaw

Caroline Shaw (b. 1982) is a New York-based musician—vocalist, violinist, composer, and producer—who performs in solo and collaborative projects. She was the youngest recipient of the Pulitzer Prize for Music in 2013 for Partita for 8 Voices, written for the Grammy-winning Roomful of Teeth, of which she is a member.

Recent commissions include new works for Renée Fleming with Inon Barnatan, Dawn Upshaw with Sō Percussion and Gil Kalish, the Orchestra of St. Luke’s with John Lithgow, the Dover Quartet, TENET, The Crossing, the Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia, the Calidore Quartet, Brooklyn Rider, the Baltimore Symphony, and Roomful of Teeth with A Far Cry.

The 2018-19 season will see premieres by pianist Jonathan Biss with the Seattle Symphony, Anne Sofie von Otter with Philharmonia Baroque, the LA Philharmonic, and Juilliard 415.

Caroline’s film scores include Erica Fae’s To Keep the Light and Josephine Decker’s Madeline’s Madeline as well as the upcoming short 8th Year of the Emergency by Maureen Towey. She has produced for Kanye West (The Life of Pablo; Ye) and Nas (NASIR), and has contributed to records by The National, and by Arcade Fire’s Richard Reed Parry. Once she got to sing in three part harmony with Sara Bareilles and Ben Folds at the Kennedy Center, and that was pretty much the bees’ knees and elbows.

Caroline has studied at Rice, Yale, and Princeton, currently teaches at NYU, and is a Creative Associate at the Juilliard School. She has held residencies at Dumbarton Oaks, the Banff Centre, Music on Main, and the Vail Dance Festival. Caroline loves the color yellow, otters, Beethoven opus 74, Mozart opera, Kinhaven, the smell of rosemary, and the sound of a janky mandolin.

Additional Reading:


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