Brave Voices Kmetz Benefit Concerts

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Concert Schedule:

6:00-6:50 Ann & Cris Plata
7:00-7:25 Lou & Peter Berryman
7:30-7:55 K.G. & the Ranger
8:00-8:25 Lou & Peter Berryman
8:30-9:00 K.G. & the Ranger


June 30, 2004
Contact: Elizabeth Fine, [000-000-0000]; Alan Ng, 608-255-3996,
Web site:

Lou & Peter Berryman, K.G. & The Ranger, Cris & Ann Plata to perform at July 18 Benefit

A fun-loving night of music from some of Wisconsin's most successful performers in three unusual genres will help the cause of Madison musician and historian turned free-speech fighter, Debbie Kmetz.

"Brave Voices II," a benefit concert at the Harmony Bar and Grill, 2201 Atwood Avenue, Madison, on Sunday, July 18 at 6 pm, will help reimburse Kmetz for substantial legal bills incurred during her lawsuit against a former employer, the State Historical Society of Wisconsin.

Leading the lineup are humorous folk duo Lou and Peter Berryman, who have appeared on radio programs such as Garrison Keillor's "A Prairie Home Companion" and NPR’s "Weekend Edition," and who were chosen in 1999 and 2001 by both Wisconsin Senators to represent the state with performances at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC.

Cowboy duo KG and the Ranger won the Western Music Association's harmony yodeling competition in 1999 and 2002; they typically provide lariat-twirling and other entertainment along with their music.

An album by Cris Plata, a Tex-Mex musician, was hailed by the Wisconsin State Journal as "one of the best recordings of any genre ever to be created by Madison-area talent." On July 18, Plata will perform with his wife, Ann, who also appears on his latest album.

During her many years at the State Historical Society, Debbie Kmetz passionately assisted communities around the state in preserving and sharing their local history. She was laid off in 2002—she believes for publicly questioning the administration about a proposed institutional name change. Retaliating against a state employee for speaking out on issues of public concern is a violation of constitutional free-speech protections.

Kmetz fought a legal battle to win back her position, spending thousands of dollars to cover court costs. Law firm Garvey & Stoddard represented Kmetz in the case, which Kmetz ultimately lost.

The Brave Voices series of concerts has been arranged by friends who were outraged at the outcome of her trial. In a brief statement at the first Brave Voices concert in May, Kmetz told the crowd her experience with the legal system left her disillusioned, but that the large and supportive turnout reassured her of the fate of American democracy.

All three musical acts for the July 18 concert also happen to be husband-and-wife—or ex-husband-and-ex-wife—duos. Suggested donation for admission is $20.