Bunny Berigan Jazz Festival Coming Up In Fox Lake

 A Dixieland, plus more, Jazz Festival will be held in Fox Lake, WI, on May 19-21, 2017.  The Jazz Festival will honor the great “Bunny” Berigan who grew up in Fox Lake, WI.  Known as one of the most compelling trumpet players in the history of music, Berigan brought unmistakable electricity to the various bands he played with including Tommy Dorsey, Paul Whiteman, and Benny Goodman. Hired as a “sideman”, Berigan performed on hundreds of commercial recordings including material for the Dorsey Brothers, as well as Bandleader Glenn Miller’s earliest recording date, playing on “Solo Hop” (1935).

      Those who knew “Bunny” personally had this to say about him: Quoting Joe Bushkin “Look, if you could have seen him there onstage in a white suit, with his blond hair and penetrating gray eyes, holding that shiny gold trumpet—well, if that didn’t knock you over when he started to play, ain’t nothing gonna knock you down.”   Irving Goodman, brother of Benny Goodman, reflected on his time knowing “Bunny”: “Like everyone else, I was crazy about Bunny.  He was with Benny for only a short period, but whenever he was present it was another story. There haven’t been many guys who could electrify Benny, but Bunny was certainly one of them.  As a leader of his own band he was great to work for.  The whole band would do anything he wanted.  It was a real happy family.  His attitude was so great too.  Like when we played the boondocks, where it didn’t really count. Bunny never let up—he gave it everything he had.  Another thing, he never acted like he was anything special.  Maybe he didn’t think he was.  Music occupied his mind a lot, and he seemed to be able to inspire everybody to play a bit better than they ordinarily could.  The way he beat off a tempo, and the sound he produced, got under our skins.  It was so much fun some of us were pretty near willing to work for nothing, and sometimes it nearly came to that!”

      “Bunny” Berigan who was born on November 2, 1908 in Hilbert, Wisconsin, and died on June 2, 1942 in New York City, will forever be remembered.


Highlights of the Bunny Berigan Jazz Jubilee, 2017 will be”


  • Trumpeter Duke Heitger of New Orleans as “Guest Artist” playing with all the bands.  As a youngster he became fascinated with sounds embedded in the grooves of his dad’s record collection, discs by Louis Armstrong, Bunny Berigan, Roy Eldridge, Red Allen, Bobby Hackett and Bix Beiderbecke.  While not on the road, Duke maintains a busy schedule in New Orleans, leading his own Steamboat Stompers. Duke has recorded many CDs that will be available at the Festival.
  • Bob Schulz and his Mid-West All Stars.  Bob comes from San Anselmo, California and is surrounding himself with some of the best musicians in the Mid-West.  When no playing his Cornet in Wisconsin, Bob can be found playing at many Jazz Festivals around the nation.  Although he lives in California, he was born and raised in Wonewoc, WI and served as a High School Band teacher in Reeseville and Lake Mills, WI.  Bob spent quite a number of years in the Riverboat Ramblers, fondly remembered by many from Wisconsin.
  • The St. Louis Stompers Classic Jazz Band Led by Steve Lillley – Cornet. From traditional jazz tunes to swing, the Stompers attack each with vigor and gusto.  Musically tight, technically astounding, laced with humor and always entertaining, they will have you calling for more.
  • Jack’s Jubilee Band Playing Bunny’s Music.  Jack Trowbridge has put together eleven musicians, forming a “little BIG BAND” that will be playing tunes that Bunny played.  The tunes will be Dixieland and Swing that Bunny recorded. 
  • Kaye Berigan 5Tet.  Kaye Berigan has been featured at all the Bunny Berigan Jazz Jubilees since 2011.  Kaye is the nephew of Bunny, but he did not listen to Bunny’s music as he grew up and became an accomplished artist on the Trumpet.  Kaye has his own brand of music and he will tell you that they do not play Dixieland.  His group remains popular at the event as they are all incredible musicians.
  • Matt Miller Trio.  Matt Miller comes to the stage featuring the music of Miles Davis and Frank Sinatra plus other Jazz Standards.  Matt was the winner of the Bunny Berigan Scholarship in 1988 and this year he is one of the judges of the Scholarship being presented.  Matt plays, teaches, and supports live music. Matt plays an electric  bass guitar and may dust off his trumpet which he played in Beaver Dam Hi
  • Dave Majcherzak will be featured for the Piano Special at 5:00 PM.  Dave is both a fantastic piano player and an arranger.




  • Free Kick-Off Concert.   From 4 to 6 PM “Moose” Mullin will be hosting a concert at the Mullin’s Drive In. on Friday, May 19th. “Moose” has hosted this free concert for many years in honor of his Father who played with Bunny in the Fox Lake Juvenile Band led by Bunny’s Grandfather.  In the event of rain, the concert will be moved to the American Legion Clubhouse where it will still be Free.  Beginning at 7 PM the Friday night music will continue at the American Legion Clubhouse and referred to as Session #1.
  • Graveside Service.  The Rev. Al Townsend will be leading the Bunny Berigan Graveside Service at the St. Mary’s/Annunciation Cemetery on Saturday morning, May 20th, at 10:00 AM.  The Cemetery is located two miles south of Fox Lake on Highway 33 where one makes a ( go east) turn on Breezy Point Road.
  • Mike Zirpolo, Author of the book Mr. Trumpet; the trials, tribulations, and triumph of BUNNY BERIGAN.  Mike will be present at the Festival and will be conducting educational presentations about Bunny.  Mike plans to give three totally different one-hour presentations.  There will be two programs given in Fox Lake on Saturday the 20th .  The program given on Sunday will be in Beaver Dam at First Evangelical Lutheran Church from 9:15 to 10:15 AM.  Mike has written numerous articles and given many lectures on jazz musicians from the Swing era.  As part of his presentations he will feature recordings of Bunny Berigan from all phases of his career, dating from 1930 to 1942.  He will show photos of Bunny’s career, including many newly discovered photos from 1941-1942, the years when Bunny had his own Band. Each program will include some music that has previously not been heard.
  • Chef In The Kitchen Saturday and Sunday.  The Jazz Jubilee welcomes Anthony Madison of Milwaukee back to the kitchen.  Chef Madison cooks from scratch and has prepared a tremendous choice of foods for the Festival. 
  • Exhibit Hall doubling as Presentation Hall.  Paintings of Bunny and pictures of Bunny will be on display.  An enlargement of a picture when Bunny first played with a band in Beaver Dam.   At 8:00 PM on Saturday May 20th, the Korbel people will put on a Mixology workshop.  All are welcome to come in to see and taste what you can do with Korbel Brandy. 
  • Rippey’s Triangle Jazz brings 4,000 CDs, Books and DVDs to the Jazz Jubilee. Dick Rippey and Triangle Jazz have been providing recorded music to the lovers of Traditional Jazz, Ragtime and Big Bands since 1947.  They are now the largest supplier in North America.
  • Phyllis Ger is returning to the Jubilee with her hand-crafted jewelry.  Phyllis has a studio in New York and her father, Morty Stuhlmaker played in Bunny’s Band.
  • Sunday Morning Church Service.  The Sunday morning, May 21st., church service will be held at the First Evangelical Lutheran Church, 311 W. Mackie, Beaver Dam, WI.  The St. Louis Stompers will be the featured band for two services, one at 8:00 AM and one at 10:30 AM.  The church invites the public to join them for these uplifting Dixieland Jazz Services.   At the church from 9:15 to 10:15 AM, Mike Zirpolo, will be giving a presentation on Bunny in the small Chapel right next to the Sanctuary in First Lutheran.   Everyone is welcome!
  • Scholarship Award.   The Bunny Berigan Jazz Jubilee is delighted to be giving a scholarship this year.  The award will be presented at 1:00 PM on Sunday, May 21st. 
  • More Details.  You can find more details and how to order tickets by going to the www.bunnyberiganjazzjubilee web site.  Tickets can also be ordered by emailing [email protected] or by calling 920-928-6094.  Tickets will also be available at the door.