Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations

The Milwaukee Mandolin Orchestra Plays On, 114 Years Later

unnamed(1).jpg
MMO

The Milwaukee Mandolin Orchestra has been making music since 1900. It is the oldest fretted instrument organization in the country.

In the 114 years of its existence, the orchestra has performed countless times – including twice on the very popular public radio program A Prairie Home Companion.

This Sunday, they’ll feature works performed by three mandolin soloists, as well as a number of ensemble pieces as well. Lake Effect' s Bonnie North was able to get a preview of that concert with guitarist and new musical director Rene Izquierdo, assistant musical director Katy Vandenberg, former director and now librarian and archivist Paul Ruppa and manager Ruth Williams in the studio.

"The original name of the group was the Bon Ami Musical Circle,  which has to do with good friends. And that's really a big part of our group, comraderie," Ruppa says.

He joined the group thirty five years ago when there were only six members. Now, the numbers have grown to twenty five. Ruppa says it has made "a world's difference, and it's just been so exciting. I've loved just about every minute of it."  

MMO_music.mp3
Larghetto and Arando from Duetto #3 for mandolin and guitar by Filippo Gragnani, performed by Katy Vandenberg on mandolin and Rene Izquierdo on guitar.

Stay Connected
Bonnie North
Bonnie joined WUWM in March 2006 as the Arts Producer of the locally produced weekday magazine program Lake Effect.
Audrey is a producer, host and reporter for Lake Effect. She is involved with every aspect of the show — from conducting interviews, editing audio, posting web stories and mixing the show together.