The Vitrolum Republic is:
a) A tiny Eastern European country
b) A boutique clothing store specializing in retro-inspired, “shabby chic” clothing
c) An electrifying local band with a sound that unabashedly channels wandering minstrels, Simon and Garfunkel, with a dash of Jack Sparrow swagger.
The answer is “C,” and I admit it: Spending an evening with The Vitrolum Republic made me want to run away with the gypsies...
A few months after hearing the group on public radio, David and Courtney Olson invited a small group to their home last weekend for a party. It was a brilliant way to introduce this home grown phenomenon to friends and to raise money for the CCC in the process. The evening was a success by all measures and one of the most exciting things I’ve experienced in recent memory.
Twelve bars into the first number I felt like I was slaloming downhill, wind in my face. Wake up, wake up, WAKE UP! This was some exciting stuff. Accordian. String bass. Drums. And a very intense violin. Gorgeous and sensuous. Spicy. Like hot chocolate with a sprinkle of cayenne pepper. Or whiskey with honey, very appropriately the group’s favorite beverage.
Suddenly, just as quickly as the wild ride began, we were gently floating down a river (the Danube perhaps?) on a lovely, warm, star-lit evening. It was the stuff of fairy tales. Pure enchantment.
And then there were the voices, smooth as the honey in that whiskey. The harmonies could bring you to tears. I remember turning to our hosts after the third song began and just saying, “Wow.” That's really all I could manage.
There was so much that was magical about the evening. But the most amazing thing was the realization that these were local boys, ages 25 - 30. Chuck Lawton (string bass, guitar) is a Grafton High School graduate. Benjamin Schaefer (drums) hails from Cedarburg High. And the Waraksa brothers, Nick (accordion, keyboards) and Jordan (violin, guitar, mandolin, banjo), grew up just down the road in Milwaukee.
In my opinion, this is what the Cedarburg Cultural Center does best: We celebrate and encourage local talent. Thanks to the Olsons for introducing us to The Vitrolum Republic. Check out our website in the next few months: We’re working on a very special event featuring the band. You won’t want to miss it.
Oh, and an interesting post script and further local tie-in: Jordan is the very talented artist behind the elemental "kinetic sculptural artwork" in Grafton's Ale House! www.jordanwaraksa.com
Sun, November 6, 2011
by Lauren Rose Hofland, Cedarburg Cultural Center filed under
- Ale House,
- Cedarburg Cultural Center,
- The Vitrolum Republic,
- Cedarburg High School,
- Grafton High School,
- Chuck Lawton,
- Benjamin Schaefer,
- Jordan Waraksa,
- Nick Waraksa,