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Bay View siblings team up to record album

Sept. 27, 2007

Family albums are usually collections of photographs that conjure up memories of happy times together.

But a group of siblings from Bay View has redefined the "family album" by channeling its collective talent onto a CD.

The Wiemann family's musical roots run deep. Byron Wiemann III is a professional singer/songwriter. He graduated from the Bay View High School garage bands of the late 1960s to writing and performing with Sigmund Snopek III to solo concert performances in Greece and Germany, where he now makes his home.

His sister, Cynthia Wiemann Johnson of Bay View, was once a folk singer in the tradition of Peter, Paul and Mary, performing at Milwaukee's old Avant Garde and other clubs throughout the area.

Cynthia and Byron's mother, Elaine Ewig, developed her musical chops playing trombone in the Bay View High School band and moved on to become an opera singer. She performed with the predecessor to Milwaukee's Florentine Opera during the 1940s.

Their father was a drummer, and their grandfather played piano in a country band.

"Our family always got together and jammed," Byron said.

The entire family wasn't there, however. Cynthia and Byron did not know, as they were growing up, that they had another sibling. In 1989 they learned they had a half-sister, Pat, who lived in Atlanta. When they met Pat, Cynthia said, "We immediately bonded."

Pat, who now lives in Bay View, has some musical talent of her own.

"I had a music scholarship to Northland College in Ashland (Wis.), but I blew it," Pat said. "It turns out I had a musical family!"

Cynthia, a public relations consultant for Discovery World at Pier Wisconsin, came up with the idea of creating the CD "Byron and the Sibs."

"We have a great studio at Discovery World and anybody can come in and record," Cynthia said.

The family booked seven hours of recording studio time to coincide with one of Byron's annual summer visits to Bay View. The result was a blend of three voices putting heart and soul into four cover tunes: "Good Lovin' " by The Young Rascals, "Back on the Street Again" by the Sunshine Company, Buddy Holly's classic "Oh Boy!" and the enduring Everly Brothers tune "I'll Do My Crying in the Rain."

"Byron and I have sung Everly Brothers forever, so this was a natural for us," Cynthia said.

Nan Bialek keeps tabs on the South Shore's creative side. To contact her about an art topic, call South Shore NOW at (262) 446-6632 or send an e-mail to amuehlbauer@cninow.com.

At a glance

WHAT: recording studio available for public use

WHERE: Discovery World at Pier Wisconsin, 500 N. Harbor Drive

INFO: visit discoveryworld.org or call (414) 765-9966

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