Just what is a "Garlic Mustard Picker?"

The three original band members, Don Lawson, Debbie Wilhelm, and Pam Uhrig, were part of "Weed-Out!" a volunteer-based program sponsored by The Park People of Milwaukee and 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 area.  

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 $24,600.

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
In 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).

Our Sponsors:

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 projects.

Restaurants and bars:
The band is grateful to the following fine establishments that have hired our band.
If you visit one of these places, please let the owners know that you applaud their sponsoring a "traditional music" band.

Triskele's Restaurant
Paddy's Pub
O'Lydia's Irish Pub
Sheridan's Cafe

The band is grateful for the support of the following non-profit organizations, which have hired our band in the past.

Racine Literacy Council
Friends of Grant Park (FoGP)
Friends of LaFollette Park
Pringle Nature Center
Bay View Community Fund
Milwaukee County Parks (via the "Music in the Parks" concert series)
Friends of the Mitchell Park Domes
The Park People of Milwaukee
The Mitchell Field Rotary Club
South Milwaukee Library Foundation, Inc.
Sierra Club - Great Waters Group
Milwaukee RiverKeepers "Bash"
Olympia Brown UU Church Concert Series
Northwoods Unitarian Universalist Fellowship (Minocqua WI)
Greendale Community Church
Emanuel Church (Hales Corners)
First Congregational Church, UCC, South Milwaukee
Zion United Church of Christ (Milwaukee)
Tippecanoe Presbyterian Church Milwaukee
St. Mary's - Dover (Kansasville), Wis
United Church of Christ Wisconsin Conference

Interfaith Conference of Greater Milwaukee
Bradford Community UU Church Concert Series

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