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Summer Series, The World's A Stage, Visits A Beer Garden

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And this summer we'll be dropping in on occasional public performances - music, theatre. We're calling it the World's a Stage. Today, we're off to Milwaukee where during the 1800s German immigrants introduced a bit of the old country - beer gardens and polka. Milwaukee has been reviving the tradition in the city's parks. So let's head now to Whitnall Park.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: Oh, Vern, fire it up, buddy. Fire it up, Vern.

VERN AND THE ORIGINALS: (Singing) Hold on to (unintelligible). We'll have a (unintelligible).

VERN TRETOW: Hi. I'm Vern Tretow, and I'm here from Vern and the Originals. And we're going to play a little beer garden music.

Music's been in our family for a hundred years, so we want to keep up the tradition.

VERN AND THE ORIGINALS: (Singing, unintelligible).

LISA HERR: My name is Lisa Herr, and what I love is the older generation really knows how to dance. You know, I grew up that typical one, two, three style, and they teach me so many cool new dance moves.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #2: It's like "Dancing With The Stars," right?

HERR: Yeah.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #2: Unbelievable.

VERN AND THE ORIGINALS: (Singing, unintelligible).

JOHN KREITER: I'm John Kreiter. I've been with Vern for - what? - almost 20 years now. We're getting a lot more younger people coming out and having a good time. A lot of them are beginning to know the songs that we play so...

VERN AND THE ORIGINALS: (Singing, unintelligible) Everybody loves (unintelligible).

TRETOW: It isn't always for the money. You know, you do it for enjoyment, and polka music is happy music. It makes you feel like you want to enjoy yourself and forget your troubles.

VERN AND THE ORIGINALS: (Singing, unintelligible).

HERR: What a cool way to enjoy two really neat things - beer and polka.

VERN AND THE ORIGINALS: (Singing) Everybody...

MONTAGNE: And that visit to a Milwaukee beer garden was produced by Marge Pitrof of member station WUWM. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Marge has been with WUWM since it changed formats from music to news and information in the late 1980s. Searching for a place where she could produce in-depth journalism, Marge was hired by WUWM as a reporter. For several years, Marge also hosted Morning Edition.

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