Office of Undergraduate Research

Milwaukee Road/Rail- taking research to performance creation

Milwaukee/Road and Rail will research and then create performances based on popular musics development. These performances are intended to preserve history. They may inspire public debate. What is American Popular Music? Understanding an American persona forged by happenstance and collisions of communities flowing across and around the country is our goal. Milwaukee, like Chicago, stands as gateway west and north. Its geographic location and history of segregated communities create a need to preserve local stories. Milwaukees history of music performance is much less documented than its rise to economic strength. Blues Artists in Grafton, the Avant- Garde Coffee House, Les Paul and the Rave provide just a few examples of Milwaukee helping forge popular American music. Milwaukees musical storytellers collide with Vaudeville, Irish Music and European theater creating a unique music history; Milwaukees musical history acts as proxy for American Popular Music. Milwaukee/Road and Rail is a four-year project to create four performances. Each performance features happenstance and collision between communities expressed in popular music. Each project unites community-based organizations potentially including The Riverside School, United Community Center/Latino Arts, Milwaukee Irish Arts, and the Harley-Davidson Museum with UWM Faculty and students and a resident artist. Each research project starts with a meeting between Community Partner, Primary Investigator/director, research team and guest playwrights-in-residence. Writers act as facilitators and collaborators sharing expertise with their project.

Tasks and responsibilities:

In 2009-2010 Student's assisting on the project will complete research on the History and performance of selected topics in American popular music. Students will assist in making a long term research and performance plan and help in writing grant narratives, collecting data and forging community relationships. Students will have opportunity to observe rehearsals and the creation process as well as the experience of collecting research in various kind of media- music, film and photography. Students interested in grant writing and project management are encouraged to apply as well.