Seal of Dane County County of Dane
County Executive's Office


September 29, 2016
Supervisor Chuck Erickson, 608.212.8753
County Board

Visit by Edgar Knecht Jazz Trio beginning Sunday latest event in Dane-Kassel “USA Sister County Partnership”

Dane County will welcome world class jazz musicians from its sister county of Kassel, Germany for a series of shows that kick off Sunday Oct. 2 at the beautiful Stoughton Opera House.  The Edgar Knecht Jazz Trio will take the stage at 3 p.m. for a performance at the 115-year old venue located at 381 E. Main St. in downtown Stoughton. Lovingly restored over the past two decades with largely private donations, the Stoughton Opera House is one of the best live music venues in the Midwest featuring national and international performers throughout the year in an intimate setting.


On Saturday, Oct. 8, the music shifts to Madison’s First Congregational Church where the German jazz trio will team with Con Vivo!, a Dane County chamber orchestra that last year traveled to Kassel to participate in the Kultursommer NordHessen Arts Festival.  That show begins at 7:30 pm. in the church at 1609 University Avenue at the corner of Breese Terrace two blocks from Camp Randall Stadium.


The “Dane County Tour” concludes on Sunday Oct.9 when the Trio takes the stage at the Mitby Theater with the Madison College Big Band. That show begins at 2 p.m. on the MATC Campus at 3550 Anderson St. Jamie Kember, director of the Madison College Big Band, was in Germany recently and met Edgar Knecht where they discussed the collaboration between the MCBB and the Trio.


The Dane County-Kassel relationship dates to 2007 when the two counties entered into a formal USA Sister County Partnership.  The agreement is designed to exchange ideas and build economic partnerships in areas like renewable energy, regional transportation systems; workforce training and continuing education. With a population of approximately 193,000, Kassel is smaller than Dane County (population 523,000) but shares many of the same characteristics including a university and an emerging high-tech sector highlighted by the Institute for Solar Energy Technologies.


“When you venture into the countryside of Kassel County, Germany every type of building, even those that are centuries old and dilapidated, have solar panels,” said Dane County Supervisor Chuck Erickson, District 13, who represents the near west side of Madison.  Erickson said it could provide a model for how Dane County might better embrace renewable energy in the future. “I can image most barns, warehouses and businesses throughout Dane County having solar panels” he said.


The Kassel economy is also known for its emphasis on traffic logistics and transportation. Main industries include photovoltaics, train engine manufacturing and automotive factories for Volkswagen and DaimlerChrysler.


Over the past nine years, Kassel and Dane County have remained committed to the goals set forth in the cooperative agreement and have participated in several exchanges.


In 2007, a delegation from Dane County went to Kassel to learn more about the German county’s experience with commuter rail structure, solar energy initiatives and to attend the international Documenta Art Festival. A year later, representatives from Kassel came to Dane County to witness water resource management, visit agri-businesses, tour an organic farm, attend a performance at Concerts on the Square and a Mallards baseball game.


The relationship has continued with the Kassel fine arts center bringing a Brothers Grimm artwork exhibit to the Dane County Regional Airport terminal in 2010. In 2012, Kassel hosted Dane County artist Michael Velliquette for a contemporary art show.


In 2014, Dane County welcomed Christian Schauderna from Kassel, who served as Artist-In-Residence at Edgewood College. He created a new work in the Edgewood College Gallery.  Funding for the cultural exchanges comes from private donations, Dane Arts and Kassel County.