Mayor Names Madison Music All-Stars to "Official Song" Committee

Wednesday, January 18, 2006 - 3:00am

Madison – Mayor Dave Cieslewicz announced his selections for the special committee to select the official song or songs for the City of Madison. The committee’s work is being done in conjunction with Madison’s sesquicentennial celebration.

“I am excited that so many leading members of Madison’s music community are stepping forward to take part in this process,” said Cieslewicz. “This is a unique opportunity to explore the diversity of music that makes Madison special.”

The members of the commission named by Cieslewicz are:

o Richard Davis: Davis is an international performing musician and Professor of Bass, Jazz History and combo improvisation at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

o John DeMain: DeMain has served as Music Director and Conductor of the Madison Symphony Orchestra since 1994. He has been named “Madison Musician of the Year” by the Wisconsin State Journal and The Capital Times, and was proclaimed “Madison’s Maestro” by Governor Jim Doyle.

o Gerri DiMaggio: DiMaggio is an accomplished local jazz vocalist. She was the first jazz vocalist to sing with the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra at Concerts on the Square in 2004. Her singing is influenced by a blend of Afro-Cuban, Brazilian, Latin and traditional jazz influences.

o Andrew Sewell: Since 2000, Sewell has served as Music Director and Maestro of the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra (WCO). During his tenure he has built a national reputation for the WCO, as they have moved into their new home at the Overture Center’s Capitol Theater.

o Ben Sidran: Sidran is an internationally-renowned song-writer and recording artist. Sidran has produced two Grammy-nominated albums and recorded numerous albums of his own. Among many other notable accomplishments, he penned the lyrics to Steve Miller’s hit “Space Cowboy”.

o Kenneth Burns: Burns is an arts and culture writer for Isthmus, and a popular local musician who currently performs with a honky-tonk band known as The World’s Greatest Lovers. He previously led The Junkers, a well-known local country band.

o Hanah Jon Taylor: Taylor is an acclaimed jazz performer who also serves as director of the Madison Center for Creative & Cultural Arts. He has performed around the globe with artists ranging from Richie Havens to the Miles Davis Band.

o Jan Wheaton: A longtime Madisonian, Wheaton is a jazz vocalist who traces her influences to Billy Holliday, Dinah Washington, Roberta Flack and others. Over the past 30 years, she has performed in clubs throughout Madison.

o Kitty Dunn: Dunn is a radio personality on WMMM’s morning show, where the concept of an official song for Madison was first proposed.

o Mario Mendoza: The committee will be chaired by Mendoza, who is both a mayoral aide and a member of the popular Madison salsa band, Madisalsa.

The committee is expected to start meeting in February, and complete its work later this year. More than one song could be selected as the committee could consider songs in different categories.


  • George Twigg266-4611/516-2075