Since 1959, the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra has entertained millions of people and enhanced the vibrancy of the community through music. So it was no surprise they chose a local bank with a similar civic commitment when they sought out a new financial partner in 2018. This relationship will support the MSO as it restores the Historic Warner Grand Theater, a 1930s art deco-style theater in downtown Milwaukee, and provide the financial support into the future to manage the seasonal peaks and flows of the operations.

Dave Werner with MSO leaders

Dave Werner and Craig Schmutzer (Park Bank, far right), talking with MSO leaders

MSO - interior

“I feel like a valued customer in a way that I haven't with other banks. Decisions move faster and communication is better because the decision makers are right here in Milwaukee. It was clear they understood our business model and developed financing structures to not only help us through this project, but to provide flexibility for the ongoing operating needs of the orchestra. They often know what we need before we even ask. We’re going through an exciting period of growth, and Park Bank offers us more than we could have hoped for.”

- Mark Niehaus, MSO President & Executive Director

The renovation of the 1,650-seat theater will include a total restoration of the interior and the relocation of a 500-ton, 80-foot-high French terracotta wall about 35 feet from its original location to fit the MSO’s orchestra. The massive project requires the efforts of a well-tuned orchestra, and is in no better hands than with MSO President and Executive Director Mark Niehuas. Acting as a conductor of sorts, Niehaus is working with a team of experts and specialists to complete the project before the 2020 season begins.

MSO - interior

“Our relationship with Park Bank has been everything I expected, and more. It's not just a banking relationship – it's a partnership. We wanted to pick up the phone and have a conversation with a banker who didn’t have to go through 18 layers of bureaucracy. They’ve bent over backwards to make things easy for us. Craig Schmutzer, our banker, approaches each situation with ‘We can make that work; we’ll find a way’ and I have confidence in his statements and decisions. I know they really care about what's happening at the symphony, not just about the banking part of the relationship.”

- Patrick Murphy, Treasurer and Chair of the Finance Committee of the MSO Board

Patrons will experience a concert experience with the grandeur of 1930 and all the amenities of the 21st century. This historic preservation of one of Milwaukee’s hidden gems will secure the MSO’s long-term stability and vibrancy with a dedicated home in the heart of the city.

MSO Stats:

  • Celebrating its 60th season
  • 72 orchestra members perform more than 160 concerts every year
  • Entertains 200,000 visitors every year
  • Serves 40,000 children per year through educational programs
  • Reaches more than 2 million listeners through its nationally syndicated radio broadcast series
  • Currently in a $139 million capital campaign to restore and renovate the Historic Warner Grand Theater in downtown Milwaukee
MSO - interior

“The process of switching banking accounts and automatic payments seemed daunting to our department of three, but opening accounts with Park Bank was easy. They came onsite to set everything up and showed us how to use the system. How refreshing it is to get answers readily, compared to relying on a self-service manual. An answer is always an email away.”

Catherine Kiekhofer, MSO CFO and VP of Finance and Administration