Yesterday morning, a group of kindergarteners from Milwaukee Public Schools' Rogers Street Academy visited BMO Harris Bank, 770 N. Water St., to judge auditions by local sports mascots for roles in the upcoming production of Milwaukee Ballet's "The Nutcracker."
The judging, photos of which you can see below in an example of cuteness overload, coincided with the Milwaukee Ballet's three-day ticket sale for "The Nutcracker." During this promotion, tickets are buy one, get one at half price.
Rogers Street Academy, 2430 W. Rogers St., offers mono- and bilingual curricula to about 700 students from K4 through eighth grade on Milwaukee's South Side.
The auditions were led by Milwaukee Ballet Artistic Director Michael Pink, with a little help from Jud Snyder (pictured with the kids below), who is president of BMO Harris Equipment Finance Company and also president of the Milwaukee Ballet board.
The competitors in this surely tight race were the Brewers' costumed Hank, the Bucks' Bango and Roscoe, representing the Milwaukee Admirals, and BMO Harris' own Hubert.
For their audition, the mascots had to perform a brief bit of Tchaikovsky’s "Russian Dance (Trepak)" from "The Nutcracker."
After picking their favorite – Bango was the winner and will have a walk-in role in "The Nutcracker" this year with the Ballet – the kids received a gift as a token of appreciation for their work.
But judging by the photos, the real stars were the adorable tots from Rogers Street Academy:
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.
He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.
With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.
He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for OnMilwaukee.com and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.
In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.
He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.