Just what is
a "Garlic Mustard Picker?"
The three original band members, Don Lawson, Debbie Wilhelm, and Pam Uhrig, were part of "Weed-Out!"
volunteer-based program sponsored by The Park People of Milwaukee
County Parks. Weed-Out works to keep invasive
plants like "garlic mustard" from destroying the woodlands. The
band got its start in the spring of 2003 when these three "garlic
mustard pickers" began to discuss their love of music as they
wiled away a sunny afternoon, pulling the
invasive weed out of a Grant Park natural woodlands
The three musical weed-pickers dusted off their
instruments and got together to play just for fun. But soon, they
pulled in spouses and friends on a variety of instruments, and voila,
by August of 2003 the band was
having regular rehearsals! “The Garlic Mustard Pickers” was the obvious
choice for the band name! Our first “paid” gig was in December of 2003.
By consensus, our earnings were turned over to a community project, and
that set the tone for our mission: using profits from performances, CD
sales, and tips to support worthy public service
projects in our own community after our minimal band expenses are met.
By 2006 we realized we
needed to incorporate as a non-profit and were soon granted tax-exempt
status by the IRS.
At the end of 2014 our cumulative
(since the band was founded) total of all donations is approximately
In 2014 the band donated $2,756.00 from gig earnings to support the following groups and programs:
Hunger Task Force of Milwaukee (a food pantry)
Human Concerns of South Milwaukee (a food pantry)
Tippecanoe Church (Milwaukee) in support of the "Divine Intervention" program (working with the homeless)
Park People of Milwaukee, Inc.
(supporting projects of Friends of Grant Park)
South Milwaukee School District (supporting the commissioning of an original composition for middle school orchestra)
Friends of LaFollette Park
Friends of Mitchell Park Domes
South Milwaukee Library Foundation
Caledonia Conservancy LLC (a land preservation organization)
Bay View Historical Society
In addition, in 2014, the band contributed over $2800 worth of free performance time to local fundraising events for charity.
The band's trip to Japan
2014 the band was selected to be the Cultural Exchange Contingent for
the Wisconsin-Chiba Inc. delegation that traveled to Chiba Prefecture,
Japan. We are very grateful to the Chiba-Wisconsin Association
(the Japanese hosting organization) for giving us a view of Japanese
culture. We were honored to be given the opportunity to take part
in the festival marking the 60 Year Anniversary of the City of Narita.
(In Japanese culture a 60th birthday is a very big event, and
the city's official birthday party was a huge affair requiring five
stages for the numerous performing groups).
We would like to
acknowledge the local businesses and organizations that have hired us
to perform, and by doing so have helped us to support our community’s service