AVB Christmas Concert True Beauty in Green Bay


GREEN BAY, Wisconsin (WFRV) – Tap dancing was a bonus.

AVB Community Band – 78 musicians and two strong special guests for the evening – celebrated Christmas in style on Monday in front of a large audience in the Cofrin family room at the Weidner Center for the Performing Arts.

Of the 14 selections, including the band’s musical theme, about 60 Christmas selections were crammed into the program because of a bunch of medleys. Pick an emotion for the season – respectful to festive – and it was covered in flair.

And there was the tap dance of guest artist Corrie Beula Kovacs. The biography in the printed short changed her. Among her many performance credits in Fox Valley and widely, she has written and performed with the professional Northern Sky Theater Company in Door County. On Monday night, she applied her brilliant vocals to “Mele Kalikimaka” – “the thing to say on a brilliant Hawaiian Christmas Day” (Merry Christmas) – then moved on to a flashy splash of soft tap dancing.

She also performed beautifully as a solo in “Grown-Up Christmas List”.

Ben Cahall was also present, who sang and performed on many stages in the area. Among his solos, “Thankful”, a work of reflection and a beautiful and sensitive song.

Together, Corrie Beula Kovacs and Ben Cahall teamed well in two popular song medleys and to lead the closing audience.

It was probably a feather-in-the-hat night for them – playing on the Weidner stage.

Cofrin Family Hall is special for what it offers performers – dynamic clarity, especially for those who are not amplified. Monday evening, it was the group. From the first notes of its musical theme, it was clear that the group would take control of the venue and all the enthusiasm and sparkle that space gives to such a colorful collective.

The living, breathing ‘surround sound’ – what the hall was built for and what the musicians play for – radiated from the stage.

Director Mike Ajango and announcer Bruce Deadman added to the usability to introduce selections and little games between them.

In Conducting, Mike Ajango and Associate Director Paul Oleksy have pulled the best from musicians in a wide range of styles covered in the program – from simple music to breathtaking.

In a lousy year dominated by lingering concerns over COVID-19, the concert was one of the things that went well. It was a “Yes” for her festive aura and the warmth of her Santa Claus.


Program: “Christmas with our friends: a Weidner wonderland”

Director: Mike Ajango

Associate Director *: Paul Oleksy

Advertiser: Bruce Deadman

Part i

+ Group theme

+ “Travel of Santa Claus (Joy in the world)” – Roy W. Kaighin

+ “Christmas of the 50s” – Arranged by Douglas E. Wagner

With Ben Cahall

+ * “A Touch of Christmas – Suite 2” – Arranged by Stan Applebaum

+ “Adult Christmas List” – David Foster and Linda Thompson-Jenner, arranged by Michael Brown

With Corrie Beula Kovacs

+ “Minor changes” – David Lovrien

+ “Selections from the Polar Express” – Glen Ballard and Stan Silvestri, arranged by Paul Murtha and Audrey Snyder

With Corrie Beula Kovacs and Ben Cahall

second part

+ “Irving Berlin’s Christmas” – Irving Berlin, arranged by Mark Brymer and Michael Brown

With Corrie Beula Kovacs and Ben Cahall

+ “Go Tell It on the Mountain” – Arranged by Jay Dawson

+ “Thankful” – Carole Bayer Sager, David Foster and Richard Page, arranged by Tom Fettke

With Ben Cahall

+ * “A festive Christmas” – Kenny Bierschenk

+ “Mele Kalikimaka” – Alex Anderson, arranged by Jason Scott

With Corrie Beula Kovacs

+ “Carole of the night” – Richard L. Saucedo

+ “Christmas Finale” – Arranged by Paul Jennings

The audience sings in chorus


Group members

+ + Flutes: Becky Fronek, Chris Kelley, Kathy Lieburn, Theresa Mergener, Shirley Paul, Lori Schilke

+ + Oboe – Susan Arias, Emily Buffington

+ + Bassoon – Mary Rehberg

++ Clarinet – Nancy Barthel, Marge Boulanger, Erica Errer, Linda Goerl, Kathy Myrick, Carol Osgood, Phil Stangel, Barb Varney, Steve Waugus

+ + Bass clarinet: Tammy Deppe, Debra Kinne, Diane Martin

++ Alto saxophone – Kellie Beno, Gary Hassel, Sharon Hassel, Cindy Swain, Dave Thaldorf

+ + Tenor saxophone – Bill Daleiden, Dale Pearson, Kimberly Smithson

+ + Baritone saxophone – Chuck Larscheid

++ Trumpet – Tim Bader, Gene Burmeister, Mike Cegelski, Bob Dietz, Jim Eckerle, Margaret Eckerle, Connie Fellman, Christopher Forbes, Brent Hussin, Tom Nachtwey

+ + French horn – Barbara Fondow, Paul Hying, Carolyn Johnson, Mary Killian, Bill Klumb, Theresa Pelkey, Pat Scasny, Jodi Strnad, Sara Wanek, Caitlyn Wheeler

++ Trombone – Ruth Douthitt, Linda Kelley, Dick Nocenti, Becky Paul, Ken Petersen, Rachel Rabas, Bob Wampler, Joe Wingerter

++ Baritone – Janet Ajango, Bruce Deadman, Mary Nickel, Jay Snow

+ + Piston trombone – Hank Wallace

++ Tuba – Keegan Andersen, Russ Nau, Mark Schroeder, Doug Youra

+ + Bass trombone – Jerry Chenot

++ Bass – Jerry Kruse

+ + Percussions – Thomas Killian, Ted Ludolph, Robert Nickel, Glenn Niessner, Paul Oleksy, Angela Stiles, Carmen Youra

++ Director – Mike Ajango

+ + Manager – Brent Hussin

++ Announcer – Bruce Deadman


FOLLOWING: “Big Band Bash,” 2:00 pm, February 13, Riverside Ballroom.

THE PLACE: Cofrin Family Hall is one of three performance spaces at the Edward W. Weidner Center for the Performing Arts at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. At its maximum capacity, the hall can accommodate 2,021 seats on its three levels of maple and burgundy seating. Opened on January 15, 1993, the hall was built to accommodate the needs of orchestral concerts, operas, musicals, plays, and organ, band and choir concerts. For acoustic properties, wood is highlighted on seats, mezzanine and balcony surfaces, and walls near the stage. Many surfaces are curved to help shape the sound. The wood is also featured for an aesthetic reason – a “here” aura of wooded northeastern Wisconsin.

THE PEOPLE: The name Cofrin relates in large part to AE Cofrin, founder of Fort Howard Paper Co., and his son, Dr. David A. Cofrin, who was instrumental in building the Weidner Center through donations from several millions of dollars. A friendship developed between David A. Cofrin (1921-2009) and Edward W. Weidner (1921-2007), the beloved founding chancellor of the UWGB. Weidner spoke slowly and had a great idea. Weidner arrived when there were no buildings on the current campus on the hills near the shore of Green Bay. His interests ranged from academia to ornithology to sports. He liked construction projects. It was in his blood. He guided the construction of the Weidner Center, so named from the start of construction. Weidner admitted that his eyes were swollen once while driving to a show and seeing a green sign along the highway: WEIDNER CENTER.

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