Urban Legends and the Peninsula Music Festival

Sixty years is a long time for any business to survive, especially when you take in all the economic and world influences over the past sixty years. If that business is a not for profit performing arts organization located on a peninsula in Wisconsin, the achievement of sixty years almost seems miraculous.

Yet, here we are having completed the sixtieth season of the Peninsula Music Festival (PMF). And after sixty years, there are still so many misconceptions about the Peninsula Music Festival, even among some of our most ardent supporters! Clearing up these misconceptions can be as hard as stopping one of those email forwards filled with threats of bad luck if we don’t forward to ten friends in three seconds or the Facebook horror stories of new charges or blue screens that will begin if we don’t check a certain box or write to our congressman by a certain date. It seems that no matter how often we answer a question or correct a misconception, it is still out there, even after sixty years.

Let’s explore a few of them and see if we can once and for all, on the pages of the trusted Peninsula Pulse, finally correct a few falsehoods about the Peninsula Music Festival:

1. The Peninsula Music Festival is a bunch of local musicians who get together each August to put on some concerts.

Actually, the Peninsula Music Festival is comprised of professional symphony musicians who come to Door County from all over the country – and the world – to be part of the PMF. These musicians represent some of the finest orchestras in our nation and the festival’s concertmaster is the concertmaster of the Hong Kong Philharmonic.

You can read the biographies of many orchestra members on our website ( It is a ‘who’s who’ of the symphonic world.

2. Tickets to the Peninsula Music Festival are too expensive for the average person to afford.

Tickets for all concerts start at just $30 and students and children are $10 a ticket for any concert at any time. Even $100 tickets for the concert featuring Hilary Hahn were just $10 for students and children.

3. Symphony concerts are too stuffy and I have to dress up.

Actually, because we are in a tourist area this is really not true about the PMF. Shorts and flip-flops to all decked out can be the norm at a Peninsula Music Festival concert. Even the orchestra members would rather be in anything other than those darn tuxedos they have to wear. Wear what makes you feel comfortable – the music will sound the same no matter what you wear.

4. Classical music is boring and no one attends anymore.

Usually when people tell me that classical music is boring or that they don’t like classical music I ask them if they have every heard a symphony orchestra perform in concert. The answer is usually, ‘no.’ What better orchestra to hear than the Peninsula Music Festival for your first time at a symphony concert? Refer to numbers 1 through 3 above. Your first sound will be from the finest musicians our country has to offer at an affordable price and in a casual atmosphere. There is an excitement to seeing all those musicians working together to create the sound of a full orchestra. It can’t be explained, you have to experience it.

5. What do you do in the winter or are you unemployed after the festival is over?

This one is my favorite and no matter what we say or do, it hasn’t gotten any better. So here goes another try. The Peninsula Music Festival presents an entire symphony season in three weeks – nine concerts, no repeats. Most orchestras our size present nine concerts in nine months. It takes the same amount of work, the same amount of planning, and the same amount of fundraising to do the concerts in three weeks as it does to do those concerts in nine months. Additionally, most orchestras the size of the Peninsula Music Festival have five to six staff members the festival has two. We are in the office daily all year running the business that is the Peninsula Music Festival.

There are many other misconceptions that surround the sixty-year old Peninsula Music Festival, but the Pulse only has so much space to allow our diatribe so for this year, it will stop here. We invite you to come hear the professional, affordable, casual, incredibly exciting, open all year, Peninsula Music Festival. The sixtieth season opens on Aug. 6, 2013 so stop by the office any time and order some tickets.

The PMF office is located at 3045 Cedar Street in Ephraim. For more information call 920.854.4060.

Peninsula Arts and Humanities Alliance, Inc., is a coalition of non-profit organizations whose purpose is to enhance, promote and advocate the arts, humanities and natural sciences in Door County.