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Farewell, For Now: Reflections from Bill Rolon

Randy, Kathy, BillRandy and Kathy Crocker with Bill Rolon. Photo: Reflections Photography.

Well, I guess it took me announcing that I am leaving to finally be asked to contribute to our blog page. All joking aside, I am actually very touched and honored that I am being given this opportunity to share some thoughts about my time here with my wonderful Milwaukee Ballet family. Yes, I am sad to say that I am leaving the ballet and this great city to pursue other adventures. I am grateful for the years spent in this friendly town and with this great company. Therefore, I must start by saying thank you for welcoming this east coast city slicker with such open arms.

It is actually appropriate that I write you this letter on the heels of The Ball, my biggest challenge and our biggest event. As hard as it sometimes was I did love working on this event, as well as our others, with the help of one of the best group of ladies, our Special Events Committee, and my fearless coworker Molly Canan. Brainstorming fun themes and creating fantasy worlds for all of you has been a dream job, especially for someone who comes from a show biz background. It has truly been a blast transporting you back to your high school years with PROM, through the blood red halls of Dracula’s lair, on a trip of PANdemonium and to the brink of the world’s end with APOCALYPTO.

But this job has been so much more than planning events. It’s been about communicating the value and magic of Milwaukee Ballet beyond the stages of the Marcus Center and the Pabst Theater. It’s been sharing the importance of great art with Milwaukee’s corporations and firms as well as all the community leaders. It has been about securing funding for all our events and productions so we can make sure this corner stone arts organization remains a staple in this great city. Yes, Milwaukee Ballet can throw a hell of a party and put on amazing productions, but it couldn’t happen without those corporate tables sponsors and major contributions made by the great leaders I had the fortune of working with. Those dollars go directly into the artistic product you see on the stages, events, in the training at our nationally accredited Milwaukee Ballet School & Academy studios, and in the outreach programs we bring to Milwaukee Public School classrooms. What an honor it has been to work towards sustaining what feeds my soul and gives me so much passion for life, Art! If there is one wish I leave, it is that the magic of Milwaukee Ballet continues to grow strong for generations yet to come to be inspired and enjoy.

So thank you, Milwaukee, for making this New Yorker feel so much at home these past few years. I’m so grateful for the friendships I’ve made and for the memories I will take with me. Kathy Crocker and Donna Baumgartner, you are truly forces to be reckoned with. I thank you for being so unbelievably passionate and for your friendship. It has been an honor to work with both of you and the rest of the committee. To the Milwaukee Ballet staff and the amazing dancers, your kind words of farewell and gratitude have really touched me. Each and every one of you holds a special place in my heart. To all my corporate partners, I thank you for believing in my passion and taking a leap of faith and entrusting the Ballet with your support. I am sure the partnerships we started will grow and flourish despite my absence. You are in good hands because good people are what make Milwaukee Ballet what it is. I am not saying goodbye, just farewell for now. Heck, I’m coming back for next year’s Ball. You know me – I can’t pass up a good party!

All my best,
Bill Rolon