By Rhea Riley
Administrators of a Milwaukee performance group, Capita Productions, Pat Bridges and K.C. Williams joined There is Always Something Good to discuss their latest production “We Are the Drum.”
Capita which stands for, City at peace in the arts, was established at North Division by members of the community in 1990. The program grants Milwaukee’s youth and adults with an opportunity to explore and gain experience in the performing arts.
“I think the performing arts resonates with our children and it’s a great way to get the message out about our culture and our history,” said host Faithe Colas. “It’s a wonderful reminder of the major contributions that we’ve made not just in America, but right here in Milwaukee.”
Through their upbringing in Milwaukee, Bridges and Williams had unique experiences that pulled them to their love for the performing arts.
Williams found his calling as the odd man out. Finding his passion for country music, Williams broke stereotypes and status quos to venture into a style of music that is different for the black community.
Through his music career, Williams faced adversity but subsequently broke barriers by winning country music contests and becoming the first to perform country at African World Festival. Now, Williams dedicates his time to teaching music and providing opportunities like Capita Productions.
“The arts for me is a way to teach our kids how to express themselves,” said Bridges, the show’s director.
“We have so many kids that sing rap, dance, act and they don’t even know it.”
Bridges made her slow progression into the arts in a peculiar way. In 1979, she began working at the Ethan Allen School for Boys, and later worked as a juvenile parole agent. Through her youth, she was encouraged by her grandmother to start singing, and she later dabbled in various performance opportunities.
“I left the Wisconsin Department of Corrections to keep our kids out of that system,” said Bridges about her experience as a parole agent. “I go to the end, and do everything I can to keep those kids out of that system.”
She added, “That system is nothing to play with and once you get in that system it is hard as hell to get out.”
Bridges recalled the impact of being a child and participating in the fight for fair housing with Vel Phillips and Father Groppi during the civil rights movement. She took that experience and used it to help Milwaukee’s youth learn about their history and community.
Now, she is a school administrator for Nova High School, which she’s done for 12 years while directing for Capita.
“At the end of the movie and they do all of those credits, that’s work, those are careers,” said Colas about the many opportunities in the Performing Arts industry. “People go to school for training, that’s all the industry, so there is a great economic impact with performing arts and how they cross and support one another.”
“We Are the Drum” is a retelling of our African American history from the lands of Africa to our culture here in Milwaukee. The production will include poetry, dancing and singing. It guarantees to leave its audiences “revived, restored, and respect to all mankind.” The major production is a tribute to our heritage during this month of black celebration.
We Are the Drum will be running for two weekends the February 15 and 16 and February 22-24.
Tickets for the productions can be bought at the link: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/we-are-the-drum-2019-tickets-54794621187
To learn more about Capita, call (414) 218-4470.