Published Twice Monthly In Kohler, WI 53044
219 Church St., Kohler, WI 53044
Volume 9, Number14
February 15, 2014
PAO’s Greatest Hits –looking back and forging ahead
By Nancy Case, on behalf of the Kohler Performing Arts Organization
The Kohler Performing Arts Or-ganization is celebrating the pastand looking toward the future withthis year’s annual dinner auctiontheme, PAO’s Greatest Hits. OnApril 26 at the Blue Harbor Resort,the Kohler PAO will create anevening to remember by highlight-ing the past sixteen dinner auctionthemes. Guests will revisit NewYork! New York!, Hawaiian Luau,Broadway, South of the Border,and all the rest for what will surely be a fabulous evening.“It’s an exciting time for theKohler PAO,” said Nancy Case,PAO President. “The organization,as an all-volunteer parent group,has a rich history and many tradi-tions like most long time Kohler groups. And at the same time wehave new parents becoming in-volved and adding fresh perspec-tives and talents.”Rich Tengowski, Kohler Schools Band Director and LoriHucke, Choir Director concur.“What a great time to pay tributeto how far the Kohler PAO hascome, the trips our students havetaken, and the educational and per-formance opportunities our stu-dents have enjoyed with the helpof funds from the Kohler PAO,”said Tengowski. “This year’stheme, PAO’s Greatest Hits also provides a perfect platform for usto recognize Kohler studentalumni and share how their life paths have been influenced bytheir Kohler music experiences,”added Hucke.The first Kohler PAO dinner auction occurred in the fall of 1997when the leadership of the PAOwanted to create a fundraisingevent for the music departmentthat didn’t involve selling prod-ucts. The PAO was determined tohost an elegant dinner and auctionfor the Kohler community toenjoy, with all proceeds earmarkedfor Kohler student educational op- portunities beyond the classroom.After many years, that mission stillexists today. “What’s great aboutthe dinner auctions is that newPAO members bring new ideas tothe event, keeping it fresh year after year,” said Tengowski.Tengowski said the first musictrip with both band and choir wastaken in 2001 when they ambi-tiously traveled to San Francisco.“Over the years our students have performed at many distinguishedvenues throughout the UnitedStates, including the Ground ZeroChapel in New York City, Orlando,Los Angeles, San Diego, and SanFrancisco, said Tengowski”“These trips are in high demand.Over 100 students are involvedeach trip,” Hucke added. “Many of our students might not otherwisehave the opportunity to travel to,let alone perform at, such worldclass venues and destinations.” Not to overlook Kohler Middleschool students who are the futureof the Kohler performing artsscene, the Kohler PAO establisheda summer music camp scholarship program to reward and encouragethose students who desire to fur-ther develop their skills over thesummer. To that end, the Kohler PAO has awarded more than 75scholarships to students since theinception of the program.In addition to a successful and productive past, last fall the Kohler PAO introduced its inauguralWho’s Got Talent? event at theKohler Memorial Theatre. “Thatevent would not have been possi- ble without the dedication of anenergized parent and the confidentsupport of the Kohler PAO Execu-tive Board,” said Tengowski.“Sometimes you get that parent, inthis case Jodi Ducharme, parent of a sixth grader and sophomore atthe time, and you can tell that par-ent really believes in an idea, andhas the energy and drive to make ithappen. So we had some prelimi-nary meetings about it, and thenwe just did it.”“Well, it wasn’t quite as easy asthat,” said Ducharme. “Our coregroup of volunteers were deter-mined to bring something ‘big’ toKohler, but we had no ideawhether it would succeed or totallyflop.” But sixty auditions later andfourteen fantastic finalists later,what a show it was!According to this year’s PAO’sGreatest Hits auction chair LynnMaass, “You might even see some‘talent’ reprised at this year’s din-ner auction.” Maass is another KOHLER PAO parent volunteer whose son joined Kohler School asa freshman last year. With her sonactive in music and theater, joiningthe Kohler Performing Arts Organ-ization was natural. “After volun-teering in a smaller role with lastyear’s Kohler Derby auction, andhelping with Who’s Got Talent? onshow night, I knew the PAO was a parent organization I wanted to be part of,” said Maass. “It has beeninteresting and fun experiencingthe dynamic between the PAOmembers who have volunteeredyear after year alongside the newer parent volunteers who have greatideas about how to enhance our or-ganization and this event.”“So true,” stated Nancy Case.“With more than thirty parents in-volved in each dinner auctionevent, a large part of the executive board and auction chair roles in-volve making the new volunteersfeel welcome, and at the same timerespecting the knowledge and ex- perience of our veteran volunteers.We are so fortunate to have thedepth of experience in our parentvolunteers and with Rich, Lori,and Wendy Kukla (Kohler’s Ele-mentary Music Director and long-time accompanist to countlessKohler students). They’ve seen it,done it, and tried it all over the six-teen years of planning this event.The trick of course is to appreciate‘the well-oiled machine’ andthoughtfully consider new ideaslike social media and other av-enues that lead to additional fundsfor our kids.” “Parents never cease to amazeme with the generosity of their time and the talents they bring tothe PAO as an organization,” saidTengowski. “The results of our ini-tial efforts on Facebook andYouTube have captured the inter-est of financial supporters outsideof Kohler. And when you can getadditional financial support fromoutside of the immediate and obvi-ous sources, it makes us think,‘well wow, let’s keep moving for-ward.’”The Kohler Performing Arts Or-ganization invites the Kohler com-munity to join in celebrating the past and experiencing a taste of thefuture at this year’s Kohler PAO’sGreatest Hits dinner auction.Visit facebook.com/KohlerPAOfor more information.