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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Saturday, Oct. 25, 2014

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At 7 p.m. the overhead music ends and a short announcement is made by the violinist of the Philomusica String Quartet. The music instantly bewitches the crowd.
At 7 p.m. the overhead music ends and a short announcement is made by the violinist of the Philomusica String Quartet. The music instantly bewitches the crowd.
Keyboards stop tapping, conversations become hushed and the melodic sound washes over the people.
Keyboards stop tapping, conversations become hushed and the melodic sound washes over the people.

A classical cure for a case of the Mondays

By Monday night, the thousands of e-mails read and sent have washed away all of the sweet memories of a leisurely spent Sunday afternoon. And despite all the day's accomplishments, there are still four whole days left to scrape through before the next weekend's adventures can commence.

Distraught with the thought of the rest of the week's workload, I seek out a relaxing evening of entertainment with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra Mondays at Alterra on the Lake.

On a basic level, I do not mind classical music, but it is definitely not a station preset on my radio dial. Honestly, the draw to this event is its location. Due to a slight caffeine addiction and the transient nature of my job, I spend a good deal of my days with at least one visit to an Alterra. This would be my third trip of the day and I write that without lamentation; I can not be dissuaded from yet another espresso.

The Alterra on the Lake location is quite obviously Milwaukee's favorite. The mere fact that no matter the season, day or time there is always a line to the cashier winding throughout the lower level, is proof of that. This Monday evening is no different. I patiently wait my turn, admiring the stacks of beautiful coffee wares and picturesque postcards. With a steaming demitasse in hand, I make my way up the stairs to sit along the bank of high top stools.

Lined on the main floor are rows of bright green and yellow metal chairs. Students and other laptop workers line the tiny tables on the upper levels. Slowly the music fans fill the seats directed towards the makeshift stage.

At quarter to 7, the musicians arrive and begin to tune their instruments. The combination of violin and milk steamer of a cappuccino machine creates an untold noise, one which is profoundly beautiful and chaotic.

At 7 p.m. the overhead music ends and a short announcement is made by the violinist of the Philomusica String Quartet. The music instantly bewitches the crowd. Keyboards stop tapping, conversations become hushed and the melodic sound washes over the people.

The warmth of the caffeine rushing through my veins and the darkness that seeps in through the windows produce the most peaceful ambience. Even as a less than avid classical music fan, I feel overcome by the magnificence of the three movements played. By their completion I yearn for more, wishing against all odds that they would continue. Perhaps tickets to the symphony will be purchased to abate this new-found longing, which I imagine is the intended goal of the collaboration of the participating organizations.

MSO Mondays is hosted the first Monday of every month at Alterra locations throughout the city.

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