Every Monday and Thursday evening, from June 1 to Aug. 31, community members, family, and friends gathered for a wonderful time together during Music in the Park. The event brought together various community groups, parish ministries, and different denominations, collaborating for a night of food, entertainment, and fellowship.
Nick Salm belongs to St. John Parish and is a committee member of Music in the Park.
“The Antigo concerts are held in our City Park Bandstand, which was restored in 2008 in memory of Joe Bauschka, high school band director from 1928 to the early 1960s,” Nick says. “The new performance stage was added in 2008 in memory of Jim Traut, high school band director from the early 1960s to early 2000s.
“Prior to my involvement in getting the bandstand restored, Janet Waterhouse, middle school band director, arranged summer concerts with a budget of about $100,” he adds. “Prior to her involvement, Dede Cromer and Elvera Frisch organized concerts.”
After the restoration, Nick says there were so many music groups expressing interest in performing that a second weekly concert was added. This also brought in many local church groups and community groups offering desserts and fundraising efforts. The events are very popular, bringing in large crowds twice weekly.
“The average attendance is 400 to 500 with some groups drawing close to 1,000,” Nick says. “We have many people in Langlade County tell us that the summer concerts and food served are highlights of living in our communities. When the weather does not permit concerts in the park, the city lets us use the Heinzen Pavilion.”
The parishes in the Antigo Area Catholic Community each took on one night where they provided the food and refreshments, and any donations were allocated to specific causes. St. John’s event took place on July 20 — this was organized by Charlotte Meyer and her daughter, Michele Brettingen. While Charlotte and Michele have assisted in years past, this was the first time they facilitated and organized the event. The proceeds went towards the parish’s landscaping project.
“It went very well,” Charlotte says. “We had a good turnout and had enough food, which is always a big fear.
“It is a very good fundraiser for our church and it brings a lot of people together,” she adds. “But it also connects us with the community. It’s been very well received. We’re lucky to be a part of this.”
Paula Pregler spearheaded the night for SS. Mary and Hyacinth.
“My role was to organize the event, get everything we needed to the park and get dessert donations and volunteers,” Paula says.
Although the weather was a bit cool for the event on July 17, Paula says the pies and desserts sold quickly and the event brought in funds through the sales.
“The event for the community brings a lot of people together for an evening of great entertainment,” she says. “For our parish, all of our proceeds go to Fr. Michael Seis of the Dominican Republic for his mission church there.”
The events provide an opportunity for community building and connecting with others. There is an element of hospitality with the food service, as well as giving of time and talent, bringing the event under the umbrella of stewardship.
This was the first year St. Wenceslaus participated since the COVID-19 pandemic. Melissa Schlegel organized the desserts and volunteers from the parish.
“I just picked up where others have left off, trying to organize it with individuals from the parish who’ve done it in the past,” she says. “Being part of the Stewardship Committee has been a place where I understand how important it is to tap into those sources, those people who have gifts and talents, and ask for their help.”
The funds from the St. Wenceslaus night on Aug. 3 went towards the Religious Education program.
Save the Date: St. Wenceslaus Fall Festival
Sunday, September 24 beginning with Mass at 10 a.m.
Great food, family games, auctions and prizes until 1 p.m.