Wintersong Warms Hearts with Music for a Cause

Wintersong has become an important annual event for the Madison music community. Local singer-songwriter Anna Vogelzang brought bands with a Madison connection together for the first time in 2012, and each year they sing holiday tunes and raise donations for Second Harvest. 

Photos by Megan Monday

Wintersong | Madison, WI

“My husband and I make a Christmas record for our family every year. In 2011, we played a show in the wintertime with a couple of our original holiday songs. We had a really great response, so we were like, ‘Man, it would be really fun to do this with all of our friend bands.’

Next year we asked PHOX, Count This Penny, Whitney Mann of Love High, Paul Otteson of Faux Fawn, Corey Mathew Hart, Dietrich Gosser. I said, Who’s in?’ And everyone was in! So this is our fourth year.

The holidays were a big deal in our family. Religiously, and also just the seasonal traditions and family time. Now that I'm grown up and my family is far away, it's nice to have a tradition of our own.

This is really the only time all these bands play all together. This charity event is a really nice excuse to reinforce our music community. It re-centers us in a way. And the music…it helps us feel like we’re connecting to our family even from far away.

“I knew we were going to do this big show and everybody was doing holiday music, so it just made sense to make it a charity event. Everyone, I think, wants to give back and be involved in their community, especially during this season. The first year we didn’t actually tell Second Harvest Foodbank of Southern Wisconsin we were doing this event for them, I just showed up with $885 and 100 pounds of food. Since then, we’ve worked with the food bank to promote it, and the event has grown. Last year we raised $10,000, which was crazy! We’re hoping to match that tonight, knock on wood.”*

-Anna Vogelzang | Madison, WI

*They did it! 2015 was their biggest fundraising year yet.

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“Wintersong is magical. The first year Anna Vogelzang put it together, I wrote a song taking a melody from each of the other songwriters that were involved and created a theme that we used for a few years. The event really has this pageant feel to it, like we’re all kids again and we’re putting on this show for our parents. Like, “I hope I don’t get in trouble…we brought some booze.” It’s one of my favorite nights of the entire year. I’ve been looking forward to it for a long time.

I love the holidays. I have two small children, so now it’s almost been re‐discovered for me. One of our traditions is to get the Christmas tree the day after Thanksgiving, set up everything…just decorate. Listen to Christmas music. For Christmas we do a lot of travel to see as much family as we can. That’s basically our tradition. We do Saint Nick, which is new to me. My wife always did Saint Nick as a kid, so now we do that as well. We do as much as we can.”

-Paul (member of the band Faux Fawn) | Madison, WI

“Wintersong really helps the community get excited and amped up for Christmas. My family came up from Appleton, we had lunch with them, and they were like, “Oh, getting in the spirit now! Wintersong!” Everyone I’ve seen who are coming are excited to be a part of something awesome. Knowing all the money goes to a charity makes it even cooler to come. The Second Harvest Food Bank is a great organization and it’s a great thing for the community to do, to give back. I love that I get to be a part of it.”

-Audre (member of the band Faux Fawn) | Madison, WI



“Wintersong is all holiday and Christmas songs. Everybody picks whatever they want to do. Faux Fawn will probably have at least one or two originals, holiday‐themed stuff. We wrote ‘Christmas on the Isthmus’ for Wintersong. I also just like picking songs that sound good. 

Tonight we’re singing ‘Rise Up Shepherd and Follow.’ It’s Christmasy, it’s about Christmas, the birth of Jesus Christ, but I wouldn’t call it a classic Christmas tune, which is nice. It’s fun to do that. Then the other song we’re doing is that Colbie Caillat really poppy song from the Hotel Café record. It’s just a great experience, one night a year to hang out and have fun, be silly and enjoy watching your friends perform.” 

-Corey Matthew Hart | Madison, WI

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