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Antigo Music Artists Featured This Year When 'Kids' Visit

July 9, 2015

Antigo Daily Journal

Antigo Daily Journal

The Kids From Wisconsin are coming to Antigo Tuesday, and the always-electric show will have an increased spark.

Antigo High School’s Doug Benishek and Isaac Cuellar are performing with this year’s troupe, billed as the state’s acclaimed musical ambassadors, and they are excited to be home.

“We're very excited to be in our hometown on the 14th,” Cuellar said. “Seeing other Kids in their hometown shows and the audience reactions make us even more excited to perform for our small community. Since we perform twice that day, we're very thrilled to get to perform for a larger audience.”

Performances are Tuesday at 2 and 7 p.m. in the Volm Theater at the high school. Tickets are $11 in advance or $13 at the door.

Cuellar, a son of Trini Cuellar and the late Lucy Cuellar, is a 2015 graduate of Antigo High School and is principal pianist with the Kids. Benishek, who will be a senior in fall, is a son of James and Mun Benishek. He is a percussionist.

“The Kids experience has been a difficult, but rewarding one so far,” Cuellar said. “The camp was tiring and tested our mental capacities, but once you gain the mental toughness to execute the music correctly over and over again, it just becomes much more fun.”

Benishek agreed.

“Leading up to our first performance, we were all nervous and had the jitters, but once we had a live audience in front of us, all of our energy just skyrocketed and it was indescribable,” he said. “The applause and audience reaction just left us feeling amazed at what the talent in our group was capable of.”

The performers credited their musical instructors at Antigo, as well as Kids band coach Kyle Gregory, who they said “made sure we all knew our stuff, but did it in a good, but professional learning environment. He pushed us and made us work, but he made us the great stage band we are today.”

The Kids from Wisconsin is part of an entertainment tradition that goes back nearly 50 years to its beginnings as a musical production created for Wisconsin's talented youth back in 1969.

Performing live annually for more than 100,000 people across Wisconsin and the Midwest, the Kids from Wisconsin presents top of the line entertainment with some of Wisconsin's most talented performers ages 15 to 20. The revue is produced in collaboration with some of the country’s best writers, arrangers, and choreographers. Costumes are designed and created in Broadway style, adding to the already exciting performance.

The Kids perform at state and county fairs, community concerts, fundraisers for non-profit organizations such as Rotary, Lions, Kiwanis and other organizations, helping them to earn thousands of dollars and at the same time support Wisconsin's performing arts. The group also maintains a large presence at the Wisconsin State Fair with performances twice daily on a main stage.

The Antigo performances are presented by the Rotary Club, with tickets available through Rotary members or from BMO Harris Bank, Chase, City Gas, Copps Food Center, CoVantage Credit Union and Lakeside Market.

“We hope the crowd is packed both times,” Cuellar said. “It's an awesome show.”

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