Menomonee Falls — A Grammy-nominated recording producer. A multi-media journalist. A jazz musician. And an author. They walked the halls of Menomonee Falls High School over a span of almost 40 years, but this week they came together to become the 2014 inductees into the Menomonee Falls Fine Arts Hall of Fame.
Coupled with the high school's annual Wind Symphony and Orchestra concert on June 2, Julie Ramson, Tyler McDiarmid, Lyndsey Stemm and Paul Brozowski joined the ranks of previous inductees on the Wall of Recognition.
It is the 10th year of the recognition program, which former high school principal Dick Woosencraft created during his last year as principal in 2004.
"Through the years this program has recognized some pretty distinguished folks and this year is no different," said Woosencraft, who has served on the selection committee for the duration of the program, which commends alumni who have contributed to the areas of music, art, dance, and media following graduation.
Class of 1967
She's been an ER nurse. She's been a laywer. Now she's an author. After graduation from Menomonee Falls High School, Ramson attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she earned her bachelor's degree in Nursing. She worked as an ER nurse, a head nurse of an ICU and a director of nursing in California before she moved to Chicago to try her hand at law school.
In 1982, she graduated from the Loyola School of Law and shortly thereafter began working at McKenna Storer in Chicago. For 32 years, she defended doctors, nurses and hospitals in medical malpractice cases.
It wasn't until 2005 that she started writing murder mystery books. Since then she's sold more than 27,000 books featuring the Maggie Flaherty Murder Mystery Series and the Clare Conner Mystery Series, both featuring very different Chicago attorneys.
Class of 1979
Passion for music began at a young age for Brozowski, who started piano lessons in third grade before transitioning to trombone in fifth grade.
During his high school years, he participated in anything and everything musical both in and outside of school walls. From jazz ensemble to swing choir, if there was music, he was there. He continued his involvement with all things musical throughout his time at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, where he earned a bachelor's degree in music merchandising with an emphasis in studio recording.
He later earned a master's degree in computer science from the Florida Institute of Technology and currently is a project manager for a global healthcare corporation, but he continues to play trombone throughout southern Wisconsin.
Class of 1997
It started when he got his first guitar in high school. Since then, McDiarmid has known music would be his future. And it's been a good one. His work with well-known artists in jazz and acoustic music has earned him praise and respect in his career as a recording engineer.
He attributes much of his success and musical aesthetic in the studio to mainating a busy performance schedule. In addition to his Grammy-nominated work with Gregory Porter, Fred Hersch and Chano Dominguez, he has played and/or toured with artists such as Gil Goldstein, Lanny Picket and Kurt Elling.
He earned his bachelor's degree in music performance from the University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse, where he said he started getting more serious about playing and practicing.
The Menomonee Falls native currently resides in New York City, where he plans to complete his PhD in jazz studies from New York University, where he earned his master's degree in jazz studies and is currently an adjunct professor.
Class of 2001
From flying airplanes to covering presidential visits, Stemm has run the gamut of local news reporting. After graduating summa cum laude from Columbia College in Chicago with a bachelor's degree in journalism, Stemm took a broadcast job for NBC affiliate WJFW in Rhinelander.
In addition to her journalism degree, she took with her experience gained from an intensive language program at Al-Azhar University in Cairo, Egypt, where she lived and earned a degree in Arabic and middle eastern studies.
Some of her stories from the Northwoods aired on NBC stations throughout the country and on NBC's national networks.
She currently works as a multi-media journalist in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
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