St. Francis Serenades at Clare Hall

St. Francis Serenades at Clare Hall, St. Francis, WI

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On May 31st, 2020, the Interfaith Conference of Greater Milwaukee’s Program Coordinator, Cherrie Hanson invited friends Susan and Jack Nicholson of the musical duo, Frogwater to serenade guests, volunteers and health care workers on the front lawn of Clare Hall. The quiet setting of the building and its arms-open-wide shape seemed acoustically opportune to perform al fresco. Clare Hall, previously a retirement home for the Sisters of Saint Francis of Assisi, became a repurposed safe haven for at risk homeless men and women during the pandemic. The City of Milwaukee partnered with the Archdiocese and the Wisconsin Army National Guard to reopen the unoccupied building. With the help of IFCGM’s Executive Board Treasurer, Rob Shelledy and the Director of Community Relations for the Archdiocese, Lydia Lococo, and Jim Mathy, the Milwaukee County representative at Clare Hall, the serenade project was approved.

The Nicholson’s local legacy includes performing at Irish Fest, County Clare, Summerfest, Shawno Folk Music Festival, and Renaissance Theater Works and UPAF promoting community arts funding and awareness. Their virtuosity spans a repertoire from celtic, folk, blues, classical and a bounty of original compositions. They immediately accepted the chance to gift their talents to brighten the spirits of guests quarantined at Clare Hall. 

Although this live outdoor event was not open to the public to protect everyone involved and maintain social distancing, it was recorded and shared on Facebook.

Jim Mathy from Milwaukee County and his staff provided pizzas and refreshments. The residents were seated outside the Hall for the 2 hour concert.

We are planning to continue this project as long as there are residents at Clare Hall and approval from county representative, Jim Mathy