A Miss New Berlin with a classical twist
Our meeting on Aug. 24 had a classical flair thanks to Miss New Berlin, Ashley Rewolinski's, violin.
A native of Ottawa, Wis. (pop. 3,867), Ashley was introduced to the violin at age nine. ("Late" in life, she says. Performers start as young as age three.) Although of fan of Miss America pageants, she had never considered participating. The turning point came in December 2015 when Ashley happened upon Gretchen Carlson's book,"Getting Real." An anchor with Fox News, Carlson was Miss America for 1989 and the first classical violinist to win that title. Carlson entered the pageant not for fame, Ashley says, but to help pay off student debt. As someone about to complete a Master's program, "this opportunity sounded awfully appealing to me!"
Even more important was the service aspect. Miss America pageants (which entail local, state and national contests) have four aspects, of which Service is one. Winners select a platform for their terms. Calling music "her life," Ashley knew that she would advocate for music education.
After being crowned Miss New Berlin, on Feb. 26, her final semester of graduate school "just became a whole lot busier." She spent a month in Miami playing numerous concerts and operas under a String Fellowship with the Miami Music Festival. This past May she earned her Master of Music in Violin Performance from Roosevelt University's Chicago College of Performing Arts. Soon afterward, she started preparations for the Miss Wisconsin pageant.
Ashley is a huge supporter of the Barry Manilow Music Project
, which donates instruments and materials to school music programs. For her part, Ashley has collected six cases of music. These will be donated to schools in New Berlin and throughout Waukesha County. (She also donated her previous violin.)
Ashley's current violin was made in Germany by Gustav Ficker in 1926. During our meeting she played snippets from two classical pieces, "Sonata for Solo Violin" by Sergei Prokofiev and Johann Sebastian Bach's "Presto" from Sonata No.1. "I love finding rare pieces like these and playing them for audiences," Ashley says.
Her visit to our club was her 27th appearance as Miss New Berlin. Now 24, her goal is 100 events, the most of any Miss New Berlin. She is particularly interested in visiting schools. (You can view her schedule and request an appearance here.
) Use the contact form to inquire about donating sheet music and musical instruments.
President Pat McLaughlin is flanked by Jeff Kortes (left) and Randy Wilinkski
Gaining a new understanding of Millennials
Ah, millennials. Those rude, self-absorbed, entitlement-minded, socially awkward folks who spend their days texting and engrossed in social media. Right?
Well, not so fast, as we learned on Aug. 10. Jeff Kortes and Randy Wilinski shared fascinating insight during their "Making Millennials Great" presentation.
Generally defined as those born between 1980 and 1993, Millennials bring certain a certain philosophy to the workplace. Employers gain when they understand the needs of Millennials and manage accordingly.
Kortes and Wilinski offered three key suggestions to help mold Millennial employees.
1. Create a Vision. "Without a vision the people will perish," they say. A vision, especially one in alignment with the employee, will inspire and engage the person.
2. Provide opportunity for growth: 52% of millennials polled said growth within a company was more important then money. Companies need to focus on mentoring and training programs. Kortes helps businesses create a formal system.
3. Provide feedback: We've created a society where there are no winners or losers, Kortes says, just participation awards. The result is a sense of entitlement causing greed and a drop in self worth. Feedback, both positive and negative, is important. But also engage those Millennial employees in problem solving. Everyone should be asking, What is the solution?